Cabinet allies begin to abandon Theresa May as Tories languish in EU election polls
Previously loyal Cabinet ministers believe Theresa May has no chance at passing her Brexit deal through parliament and has just weeks left as Prime Minister, it has been reported.
Ministers including her de facto deputy, David Lidington, and transport secretary, Chris Grayling, are said to be among those who have given up hope that May's deal, which has already been rejected three times, can pass through the Commons, according to the Sunday Times.
Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, is reported to have threatened to lead a cabinet walkout if May negotiates a customs-union Brexit with Labour. A spokesperson for Fox said this was "categorically untrue" and that he wanted to remain in the Cabinet to ensure Brexit is delivered.
Read more: May to hold meeting with top Tory committee over her departure timetable
The whispers about May's departure have grown louder in the wake of numerous polls pointing to drubbing for the Tories in the upcoming EU elections.
A poll for Opinium yesterday found the Tories clinging to just 11 per cent of the vote in the forthcoming EU elections, while Nigel Farage's Brexit party, meanwhile, has stormed ahead with 34 per cent of the vote, 13 points ahead of Labour.
May has also faced pressure over her position following the Conservatives' drubbing the local elections earlier this month, in which the party lost more than 1,000 councillors.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the influential 1922 committee of backbench Tories said yesterday that May could set her resignation date in the coming days, in the face of pressure from the party and grassroots Tories. On 15 June, a convention of local Tory associations will meet to hold a vote of no confidence in her leadership.
Sir Graham Brady told the BBC that the 1922 Committee had for "clarity" about her plans for the future, and she had "offered to come and meet with the executive".
"It would be strange for that not to result in a clear understanding [of when she will leave] at the end of the meeting," he added.
Read more: Theresa May will stay as PM until Brexit deal passed, No 10 confirms
He said the cross-party talks with Labour, aimed at breaking the Brexit deadlock in parliament, were likely to "peter out" over the next few days.
The talks are due to resume tomorrow but so far have no resulted in any compromise solution.