James Forsyth

Theresa May’s time is almost up

Theresa May’s time is almost up
Text settings

Things are moving fast in Westminster. Theresa May’s position is now more precarious than it has been at any point in her premiership and that’s saying something.

Three things have changed. First, it is clear that May’s last roll of the dice hasn’t worked—the Withdrawal Agreement Bill isn’t going to pass second reading.

As a consequence of that, Tories who want a deal – as well as those who favour no deal – are now moving towards the belief that May should go.

The third thing that has happened is that cabinet ministers, who up to now have thought that a delay to a leadership contest was in their interests, are now realising that association with this package is toxic in party terms. If May ploughs on with it, and they all have to vote for it at second reading, then Boris Johnson would be the big winner.

None of this guarantees that May goes. She is remarkably resilient or stubborn, depending on your point of view. One cabinet minister’s view is that ‘ministers threatening to resign will make no difference to her’ and that she won’t budge even if there is a walk out.

But it is hard to see how this goes on much longer. If the European Election results are as bad as expected for the Tories, then I expect the clamour for a rule change that would allow for a no-confidence vote in May will become irresistible.