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Tory MPs demand Theresa May sets a resignation date



Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a news conference after an extraordinary EU leaders summit to finalise and formalise the Brexit agreement in Brussels, Belgium November 25, 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May attends a news conference after an
extraordinary EU leaders summit to finalise and formalise the
Brexit agreement in Brussels, Belgium November 25,

Reuters / Dylan

  • Theresa May has been advised to set out her departure date in
    order to win the support of sceptical Brexit-supporting Tory MPs,
    who could be more tempted to back the deal if a Brexiteer prime
    minister was installed next year.
  • May’s chances of getting her deal through parliament have
    decreased further after new, damaging attacks on her Brexit deal
    from US President Trump and her loyalist former defence secretary
    Michael Fallon.
  • Downing Street’s attempt to sell the deal to Labour MPs last
    night also appears to have backfired.

LONDON — Theresa May is under growing pressure to hand
Conservative MPs a date for her resignation in return for their
support for a Brexit deal, as one of her most loyal MPs Michael
Fallon issued a damaging warning that her draft deal was a “huge

The prime minister remains under sustained attack over her draft
withdrawal agreement, with US President Donald Trump tweeting on
Monday that the plan struck with Brussels “sounds like a great
deal for the EU” and would restrict trade with the US.

And in a worrying development for May, the former defence
secretary Michael Fallon, who has previous been a party
loyalist, said that May’s deal was “doomed” and would mean
“paying, leaving, surrendering our vote and our veto
without any firm commitment to frictionless trade.”

With May running out of time to persuade sceptical Brexiteer MPs
to support her deal, some Tories have urged her to spell out a
timetable for her departure, according to
a Times report citing Cabinet sources

A promise by May to quit soon after the UK leaves the EU in March
2019 would help to pacify some Conservative MPs, including
Cabinet ministers, who want Britain to strike a Canada-style
deal, the source said. They believe that Tories who dislike May’s
Chequers plan might still back the withdrawal agreement — which
sets out the terms of Britain’s divorce from the EU — if they
were confident that a Brexiteer prime minister could renegotiate
an alternative future UK-EU relationship in the next stage of

“We know that the future relationship is not binding. This means
she is the problem, not the deal per se, since it leaves plenty
of flexibility for a successor to organise technical solutions
for the Irish border and move towards Canada,” the source told
the Times.

May’s prospects of getting a deal through parliament have dimmed
even further in light of Michael Fallon confirming he would vote
against the deal. Speaking on BBC 4’s Today programme, he
confirmed he would vote against the deal and refused to back May
as prime minister. Asked if she was doomed, Fallon replied:
“That’s up to my colleagues.”

Conservative Brexiteers have also seized on Donald Trump’s
comments as further proof of why May’s deal must be opposed.
Tory MP Peter Lilley, a member of the pro-Brexit European
Research Group of  MPs, said: “Unfortunately, President
Trump is right.”

“The PM’s draft deal would rule out any prospect of UK trade
deals with the US, let alone accepting the invitation to join the
Trans-Pacific Partnership. But it is a superb deal for the EU
which will be able to offer their trade partners access to the UK
market in return for privileges for EU exporters. And we are
paying £39 billion for this.”

May’s bid to sell the deal yesterday also extended to a pitch to
win the support of Labour MPs, almost all of whom plan to vote
against the deal and hope to trigger a general election if it is
voted down.

The prime minister’s aides extended an invitation to Downing
Street to all Labour MPs on Monday evening, but only 26 turned
up, and most appear to have been unconvinced, with Labour MP
Stephen Doughty
telling ITV
the session had only persuaded waverers not to
back the deal.

Labour and Co-op MP Gid Killen, who did attend, told Sky
News that Downing Street had “got the tone wrong” and said it
“felt more like a pitch you’d give to the ERG.” No Labour MPs
have announced publicly that they have switched to supporting the

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