May to Announce Departure Date Friday, FT Says: Brexit Update

Thomas Penny and Kitty Donaldson
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Boris Johnson Pitches for Leadership With Pledge of Brexit on Oct. 31

(Bloomberg) -- Theresa May is on her way out -- the only question is when she’ll go -- and her party is bracing for a humiliating defeat in European elections Thursday.

Key Developments:

May will inform her advisers Friday morning of the day she plans to stand down, the FT reportedMay’s Brexit legislation isn’t listed for debate in the first week of June as promised, but the government says it still hopes to put it to Parliament that weekEU elections are under way. Results on Sunday night. Polls during the campaign have shown May’s party could get less than 10% of votePound is on a record losing streak as investors brace for a hardline Brexiteer to succeed May

May Will Set Out Departure Date Friday (8:39 p.m.)

May will announce her leaving day on Friday, which is expected to be in the week of June 10, the FT reported. The prime minister will meet with her advisers at 10 a.m. to reveal her decision and will also meet Graham Brady, chairman of the rank and file 1922 Committee, it said.

May Hints She’s Not Quitting in Javid Meeting (4:30 p.m.)

May appeared determined to re-write her Withdrawal Agreement Bill to make it palatable to her party when she met with Home Secretary Sajid Javid, according to a person familiar with the discussion. That’s a sign the premier may not be planning to quit office anytime soon, the person said. She met him for half an hour and appeared to be in listening mode.

May Meets Javid, Hunt About Brexit (4:05 p.m.)

Theresa May met with Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Thursday to discuss their concerns about the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, her spokesman, James Slack, told reporters in London.

The prime minister is listening to the views of her colleagues on the bill, and remains focused on delivering Brexit, Slack said. She hasn’t given up on taking the U.K. out of the EU with a deal, he said.

"In order to leave with a deal, we have to find a way to get the WAB through” Parliament, Slack said. "It’s clear there’s a significant job of work to do to get that through."

Williamson Backs Johnson for Leadership (3:25 p.m.)

Former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told the Express & Star newspaper he plans to back Boris Johnson in the race to succeed Theresa May.

“The bottom line is that the only person who can deliver Brexit and defeat Labour is Boris Johnson,” Williamson said, according to the South Staffordshire member of Parliament’s local paper. “I will be enthusiastically backing him and very much hope I can play a small role in making sure that his name is the one that the party chooses as leader.”

Williamson was fired by May this month over the leak of secret discussions about Huawei Technologies Co’s role in Britain. He strongly denied being the source of the leak.

The Rivals Queuing Up to Replace Theresa May

Johnson’s Claims Dishonest: Private Prosecutor (2:30 p.m.)

Conservative Party frontrunner Boris Johnson made false claims about British spending on the European Union and should face criminal charges, according to a man trying to privately prosecute the politician in a London court.

A lawyer for campaigner Marcus Ball said the member of Parliament had a case to answer for misconduct in a public office. Johnson’s “infamous” claim that the U.K. sent 350 million pounds ($443 million) per week to the EU -- one of the central tenets of the Brexit campaign -- were “deliberately crafted” to have maximum impact but were false, Ball’s attorney said.

Johnson’s lawyer, Adrian Darbishire, said it is “absolutely denied that he acted in an improper or dishonest manner at any time.”

May Names Mel Stride as Leader of Commons (1:15 p.m.)

May has named Mel Stride to replace Andrea Leadsom as leader of the Commons. Stride was a Treasury minister who voted Remain in 2016 and opposes a no-deal Brexit.

May Backtracks on Plan for Vote on Brexit Bill (11:35 a.m.)

May’s key piece of Brexit legislation isn’t listed for debate in the first week of June, as had been planned. Instead, the prime minister is revising the draft and discussing it with ministers.

The Leader of the House of Commons’ Twitter feed published the order of business for the first week back after the recess and the Brexit bill isn’t on it.

However, there’s still a plan to publish the bill in the first week of June, government whip Mark Spencer told Parliament. May is discussing the text of the legislation with ministers, her spokesman told reporters on Thursday. The government still hopes to put it to a vote that week.

The original plan was for May to put the bill to a vote the first week of June. After that ballot she would set out a timetable for her departure and the leadership race to replace her. With speculation mounting that May could resign within days, this could soon all be moot.

Duncan Smith Sees Her Replaced By Summer (10:20 a.m.)

Iain Duncan Smith, a Brexiteer and former Tory leader, said May’s successor could be in place before U.K. Parliament closes for its summer break - usually at the end of July.

“Politics is a nasty sometimes brutal, ghastly business... she has no confidence, not just within her party but in the cabinet too,” Duncan Smith told TalkRadio. “The best thing is to break away and find a new leader, someone who campaigned for Brexit and believes in Brexit in any form.”

There’s been a lot of speculation about when the new leader could be in place as the process for the leadership race takes a couple of months. The first step is for the parliamentary party to have bi-weekly ballots to whittle down the list of candidates to two. Then the final two go the 120,000 members to choose the winner.

Gaffes, Duplicity and Ballots: How the Tory Party Picks a Leader

When Will She Go? (9 a.m.)

The Times and Daily Mail report she could go on Friday, but that’s not confirmed and May’s office isn’t commenting. The election results aren’t published until Sunday night.

Another consideration is that May has agreed to meet the panel of rank-and-file lawmakers on Friday. They may decide to act then -- though so far they’ve shown reluctance to put the boot in.

Mercer Backs Johnson (Earlier)

Johnny Mercer, an MP who is considered a rising star in the Tory party, told ITV he was backing Boris Johnson in the leadership race to replace May.

Earlier:

May’s Premiership Hangs by Thread as Leadsom Quits Over BrexitBrexit Bulletin: Hanging By a ThreadBrexit Spooks Tech Giants Away From London, Hibernia CEO Says

To contact the reporters on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Emma Ross-Thomas at erossthomas@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs

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