Theresa May has agreed to set a timetable for her departure as prime minister in the first week of June, leading MPs to believe she will trigger a leadership contest before the summer.
Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers, said she would agree a timetable for the election of a new leader after her Brexit legislation returned to parliament for a final attempt in the week of 3 June.
May met the 1922 committee’s executive on Thursday, which represents Tory backbenchers, after mutinous MPs demanded a specific timetable for her departure from No 10.
Another member of the 1922 Committee told the Guardian that May understood she would have to name a quick date for her departure if the withdrawal bill is voted down, with a leadership contest before the summer.
May still holds out a sliver of hope that her withdrawal bill legislation might not be voted down in its first week, enabling her to make the argument that she should not depart until she has seen the process of getting an agreement through.
However, the heavy hint that she will resign if the legislation is rejected once again is likely to incentivise even more Eurosceptic Tories to vote against it.