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by Eleanor Langford
13 May 2019
Sir Graham Brady: Theresa May should set her departure date

Image credit: Parliament

Sir Graham Brady: Theresa May should set her departure date

The chair of the Conservative backbench 1922 committee has said he expects a “clear understanding” of the timetable for Theresa May's departure from Downing Street when she meets senior Tory MPs next week.

Sir Graham Brady spoke out as the Prime Minister prepares to appear before the committee's ruling executive on Wednesday.

Downing Street has previously insisted that she is sticking to her promise to only stand down once her Brexit deal is approved by the House of Commons.

But the 1922 executive has demanded May set out a "road map" towards her resignation even if the deal continues to be rejected by MPs.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster, Brady said he expected the Prime Minister to give “clarity” about her departure when she meets him and his colleagues.

He said: “She’s offered to come and meet with the executive, and it would be strange for that not to result in a clear understanding at the end of the meeting.

“We have asked a question. She’s coming, I assume, to answer it.”

He also said that he understood why the Prime Minister was reluctant to set a departure date, admitting that it may embolden her critics.

He added: “I do understand the reticence about doing it. I don’t think it’s about an intention for staying indefinitely as Prime Minister or leader of the Conservative Party.

“I think the reticence is the concern that by promising to go on a certain timetable, it might make it less likely she would secure Parliamentary approval for the Withdrawal Agreement, rather than more likely.”

He also refused to rule out the prospect of running for leader himself following May’s departure.

When quizzed on whether he had considered running, Brady would only say he is focusing on his role as chair of the 1922 Committee.

He said: “I’ve heard people suggest I would be an interim Prime Minister. My simple answer to that is I don’t think we need an interim Prime Minister.

“I don’t think the British people want people to be stepping in to do interim jobs. I think they’re be looking to choose someone for the long term.

"It would take an awful lot of people to persuade me. I’m not sure many people are straining at the leash at the moment to take on what is an extraordinarily difficult situation.”

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