PM to set out departure plans today
Prime Minister Theresa May is expected today to set out her plans to step down as the leader of the Conservative party on the week of 10 June, according to the Financial Times and the BBC. May is due to meet Chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, Sir Graham Brady, at 9 am this morning and is expected to make a statement later today. Brady will reportedly tell May that she could face a no confidence vote by Conservative MPs if she brings forward the current draft of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) for a parliamentary vote. The Treasurer of the Committee, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, yesterday said, “I want [May] to give a timetable for when she will go,” adding that if she does not set a resignation date, “There will be overwhelming pressure for the [1922 Committee] to change the rules and hold a ballot on confidence in the Prime Minister.”
Prior to these reports, the Government announced its plans to publish the WAB during the first week of June, instead of today. Government Whip Mark Spencer told the Commons yesterday, “We will update the House on the publication and introduction of the WAB on our return from the Whitsun recess [on 4 June],” adding, “We had hoped to hold second reading on Friday 7 June. At the moment, we have not secured agreement to this in the usual channels.”
Elsewhere, an Ipsos MORI survey for the Evening Standard on voting intentions before European Parliamentary elections commenced yesterday predicted that the Brexit Party will win the largest share of votes at 35%, followed by 20% for the Liberal Democrats, 15% for Labour, 10% for the Greens, 9% for the Conservatives, 3% for both UKIP and Change UK and 5% for other candidates. Due to reporting restrictions, the results of the elections in the UK will not be announced until Sunday evening at the earliest.
This comes as Downing Street announced yesterday that former Paymaster General Mel Stride will become the new Leader of the House of Commons after Andrea Leadsom’s resignation on Wednesday.
A number of EU citizens living in the UK yesterday reported on social media that they were denied a vote in the UK European elections. Administrative errors, a lack of correct forms being sent out to voters and late registration were blamed for the inability of people to cast their ballot.
An exit poll for the European Parliamentary elections held yesterday in the Netherlands showed that the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) was the unexpected winner of the election, doubling its result compared to the last European election in 2014. According to the exit poll, Mark Rutte’s governing centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) rose from 3 seats in 2014 to 4 seats, while Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy (FvD) will enter the EU Parliament with 3 seats. The exit poll conducted by polling agency Ipsos for Dutch broadcaster NOS was based on a sample of 35 polling stations and has a margin of error of one seat, or 2 percentage points.
Open Europe’s Pieter Cleppe appeared on Euronews yesterday, saying the results were a surprise since “people were expecting a race between the governing centre-right and sovereignist Forum for Democracy” and “the fact that Frans Timmermans, presumably because he is so well known has led his Social Democrats to the biggest party, is quite a victory.”