Theresa May has agreed to set a timetable for her departure as prime minister in the first week of June, leading MPs to believe she will trigger a leadership contest before the summer.
Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers, said she would agree a timetable for the election of a new leader after her Brexit legislation returned to parliament for a final attempt in the week of 3 June.
Another member of the 1922 Committee told the Guardian that May understood she would have to name a quick date for her departure if the withdrawal bill is voted down, with a leadership contest before the summer.
The MP said some Brexit supporters on the committee were disappointed that the prime minister was not forced to announce her departure immediately but this represented a “fair compromise”.
Brady’s announcement will intensify the leadership contest that has already been playing out among cabinet ministers and ambitious backbenchers for weeks. Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, was the latest to throw his hat into the ring on Thursday, saying he would “of course” go for it when there is a vacancy but there is a wide field of up to 20 candidates. [...]
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