Threat of early challenge to May’s position as Tory leader lifted

The threat of a challenge to Theresa May's position as Conservative leader has been lifted at least until December.

Senior MPs on the backbench 1922 Committee rejected calls for changes to the party's rules to allow a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister in the coming weeks.

But the Committee is to ask Mrs May for "clarity" on how long she plans to remain PM if her EU Withdrawal Agreement fails.

Officers of the 1922 Committee executive met in Westminster for the second day running amid growing pressure for the Prime Minister to name the date of her departure.

Sir Graham Brady
1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady (Victoria Jones/PA)

They decided there should be no change to the rule which grants any leader a 12-month period of grace following a no-confidence vote during which they cannot be challenged again.

Mrs May saw off a bid to remove her by a margin of 200-117 in a vote of Tory MPs on December 12 2018.

Critics of her handling of Brexit had called for the grace period to be reduced to six months, allowing a second confidence vote in June.

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