Theresa May could set resignation date next week, 1922 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady claims

Theresa May could set a date for her resignation next week after growing demands from Tory backbenchers for her to step down.

The Prime Minister may offer a “clear understanding” of her departure timetable in the coming days, according to the chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster that Mrs May had offered to meet with the executive following a request for “clarity” on her plans.

He said: “It would be strange for that not to result in a clear understanding… at the end of the meeting.”

The Altrincham and Sale West MP added he understood her “reticence” to set a date, but added: “I don’t think it’s about an intention for staying indefinitely as prime minister or leader of the Conservative Party.

“I think the reticence is the concern that by promising to go on a certain timetable, it might make it less likely she would secure Parliamentary approval for the withdrawal agreement, rather than more likely.”

Mrs May has previously suggested she will leave Downing Street after her Brexit deal has been passed by Parliament.

But earlier this week, she rebuffed demands to set out a timetable for her departure from No 10 amid growing pressure from Tory MPs to make way for a new leader.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Brexit-backing Andrea Jenkyns told Mrs May she had “failed” in EU withdrawal negotiations and forfeited the trust of the public.

“The public no longer trust her to run Brexit negotiations,” she said.

“Isn’t it time to step aside and let someone else lead our country, our party and the Brexit negotiations?

Mrs May retorted: “This is not an issue about me and it’s not an issue about her.

“If it were an issue about me and the way I vote, we would already have left the European Union.”

Downing Street made clear the Prime Minister was not ready to go beyond her earlier promise to the 1922 to quit as Tory leader when the first phase of Brexit negotiations – dealing with the divorce terms – is complete.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Friday that the Prime Minister should be replaced “as quickly as possible” once she confirms her departure from Number 10.

The Chancellor said the Prime Minister will be “as good as her word” and step down once a withdrawal deal passes in the Commons.

He added: “Once we start the leadership contest, getting it done as quickly as possible would be positive because this isn’t just about the leader of the party, it’s about the Prime Minister.”

Mr Hammond did not rule out a swift summer contest that would enable a new leader to take over by the party conference in October.