LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May was pressured on Monday to set a date for leaving office to bring the Brexit-supporting rebel legislator in her party behind her twice-defeated EU divorce treaty.
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives on March 24, 2019, near High Wycombe in the UK. REUTERS / Henry Nicholls
In one of the most important events for the country in at least one generation, British politics was in a fever. Almost three years after the referendum in 2016, it was still unclear how, when or if Brexit would ever take place.
After May was humiliated and weakened, the ministers lined up to insist that she was still in charge, and to contest a planned conspiracy that requires her to make an appointment at a Cabinet meeting on Monday calling for retirement from office.
Rupert Murdoch's The Sun newspaper said in an editorial that May must announce that it will resign once its Brexit deal is approved and the UK has left the EU.
"The time is over, Theresa," the newspaper said on its front page. The newspaper said its only chance of getting the deal approved by parliament was to set a date for their departure.
May called the rebellious legislators like Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker into their Checkers residence on Sunday, said Downing Street along with ministers David Lidington and Michael Gove.
The two ministers denied that they were lined up as a possible interim prime minister.
"The meeting discussed a number of issues, including the question of whether there is sufficient support in the House of Commons to reach a meaningful vote (for their deal) this week," a spokesperson said.
The Brexiteers said during the May meeting that she needs to set a timetable for leaving office if she wants her deal ratified, Buzzfeed reporter Alex Wickham said on Twitter.
Sun's political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, said some ministers urged May to switch to a no-deal Brexit as it was the only way to survive in power.
May's deal was rejected on March 12 with 149 votes and on January 15 with 230 votes.
To survive, she must win at least 75 MPs: dozens of rebels in her Conservative Party, some Labor MPs, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which supports her minority government.
The Sunday Times reported that eleven unidentified ministers agreed that May should step down and warned that she had become a venomous and unpredictable figure whose verdict was "crazy".
The Brexit should have taken place on 29 March before May in order to delay the negotiations with the EU.
Now is a departure date of May 22, when Parliament passes the May deal. If it fails, Britain will have time until April 12 to offer a new plan or contract.
Some lawmakers have asked May to name their departure date as the price to support their business.
Legislators are expected to discuss the next steps of the Brexit government on Monday, including the delayed exit date. They have proposed changes or additions, including those seeking to deprive the government of control over the process, in order to vote on alternative ways.
Changes are not legally binding, but in May they are putting political pressure to change course.
Letter from Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Kate Holton