If you want to make social plans with Theresa May, you might want to wait until September 2019. That’s because the prime minister just announced she plans to quit her position on Friday, August 30, 2019, giving her two years to oversee Britain’s exit from the EU before handing things over to her successor. However, some politicians are mounting a campaign to make sure she doesn’t make it that long.
May has long been a proponent of Brexit and has vowed to stay in office through the transition and then resign soon after. May has promised she will vacate the office on August 30 and is urging the country to rally around her until then so Brexit can continue as planned. The UK is slated to leave the EU in March 2019. The current plan is to hold a leadership election in summer 2019 with a winner announced August 30. The new prime minster would then take office on September 3 after Parliament returns from its summer break. Reports that May could resign before Brexit have been dismissed by Government officials.
However, May’s future until 2019 is all but certain. The beleaguered Prime Minister has faced mounting opposition recently, and it only continues to grow. May faces a battle from inside and outside her own party to be able to hold onto her position for the next two years. MPs will soon gather in the Commons, and May wants to stamp out any talk of a challenge, which could lead to an awkward leadership change during the delicate Brexit process. In order to trigger a contest to replace May, 48 signatures are required on a letter of no confidence in the PM; so far only 15 Tories have signed. Among potential future leaders of the Tory Party are David Davis, Boris Johnson, and Jacob Rees Mogg, though Downing Street officials are quick to say that won’t happen for some time. Some leaders, including ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, have been telling MPs considering signing the letter that internal squabbling could be detrimental to the Brexit negotiations and transition, and they can’t let that happen. Davis has reportedly told his supporters to stop campaigning against May and instead to gather around her in support.
In the meantime, May is entertaining groups of around 15 MPs at her country retreat Chequers. The quaint escape includes personal invitations, homemade desserts with her husband, and a gourmet spread of food. During the visits, May has been trying to persuade the MPs to give her time to complete Brexit before she leaves office.
“It’s clear she won’t lead us into another election and will be gone by September 2019,” said one Tory MP. “She invited MPs to Chequers to ensure there isn’t a leadership contest in the meantime. Giving the dogs a stroke is better than giving them a kick, I suppose.”
May’s plan to leave shortly after Brexit will solidify her legacy as the Prime Minister who oversaw Britain’s great exit. The only question now is if she can really stay in office long enough to see her plans realized.