UK PM May faces renewed pressure to set out departure date

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FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May waits for Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir at Downing Street in London, Britain May 2, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will come under renewed pressure from senior members of her Conservative Party on Thursday to set out a clear timetable for her departure.

May’s Brexit deal has been rejected three times by parliament and weeks of talks with the opposition Labour Party, the idea of which were deeply unpopular with many Conservatives, have failed to find a consensus on the way forward.

Mired in Brexit deadlock and forced to delay Britain’s March 29 exit from the EU, May’s Conservatives suffered major losses in local elections this month and is trailing in opinion polls before the May 23 European Parliament elections.

The British leader plans to put her deal to a fourth vote in parliament in early June. While she has promised to step down after her agreement is approved by lawmakers, many in her party want her to make clear when she will quit if it isn’t.

“It’s now beyond time for the prime minister to accept that the game is up. Her premiership has failed, and her authority is shot,” Nick Timothy, her former chief of staff, wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“Every day wasted from here makes life harder for whoever leads Britain into the future. We need to end this national humiliation, deliver Brexit, and save the Tories (Conservatives). The prime minister, I am sorry to say, must do her duty and stand aside.”

May is due to meet with the executive of her party’s influential 1922 Committee at around 1030 GMT on Thursday. The committee has demanded she set out a clear timetable for her departure in the event her deal is rejected again.

If she refuses, some want to change the rules over when she can be ousted. May survived a no confidence vote in December, and under current party rules cannot be challenged again for a year.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper

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