What happens next for Brexit—and will Boris Johnson be heading for Number 10? We tell you everything you need to knowby Prospect Team / May 24, 2019 / Leave a comment
Theresa May has today announced her resignation in a speech outside 10 Downing Street following discussions with Sir Graham Brady, chair of the Conservative party’s 1922 Committee.
When will Theresa May step down?
She will resign on Friday 7th June.
Did she jump or was she pushed?
A mix of both. The 1922 Committee warned May that it had taken a secret ballot on the possibility of changing the rules that govern the party’s “no confidence” votes.
After winning such a vote in January, May was considered safe for a year as the party does not currently allow another challenge within that period. However, the 1922 Committee is able to change that. They warned May that she had until Friday to resign—or else they would release the result of the vote.
Convoluted, I know.
What does May’s resignation mean for Brexit?
The hope will be that the contest turns around quickly enough to enable May’s successor to go to Europe and negotiate a better deal (of course, they may also be a candidate who advocates, if necessary, a no-deal Brexit). May’s resignation date in June should make this possible—although what concessions Europe will allow remain to be seen.
How does the Conservative leadership election work?
There will be a Conservative party leadership contest over the summer. This will take place in two stages.
In the first stage, shortlisting, Conservative MPs put their name forward. (In the 2016 contest they also needed a nomination from two of their colleagues.)
Once the shortlist is assembled, MPs vote in a series of rounds, with the candidate with the lowest number of votes being removed in each round. The final two candidates are then put to the party membership.
The timescale for this process will be set out by the party’s 1922 Committee. While the 2016 process was shortened by Andrea Leadsom’s withdrawal, it was originally scheduled to take two months.
The 1922 Committee is free to change the first stage of the contest, but not the second, which is laid out in the Conservative Party Constitution.
So will Boris Johnson be the next Prime Minister?
Boris Johnson is widely considered the favourite to replace her. With a longstanding desire for the top job, speculation that Johnson is ready to launch a leadership bid has been heightened by rumours that he is selling his family home, something which pundits are (only half-jokingly) reading as being in anticipation of a move to Number 10.
If precedent is to be believed, however, Johnson may want to ask Foxtons to hold off for a little while.
There have been three Conservative leadership elections since the turn of the Millennium—2001, 2005 and 2016—and in each case, the favourite was usurped by the eventual winner. Michael Portillo was beaten by Ian Duncan Smith; David Davis by David Cameron; and, most recently, Boris Johnson was beaten by Theresa May.