Tory grandee Widdecombe defects to Farage's Brexit Party

Tory grandee Widdecombe defects to Farage's Brexit Party

Reports citing unnamed sources stated that 1922 committee chairman Graham Brady could try to force May to give a set departure date.

WAB is the bill which ratifies the UK's Brexit agreement and its passage is essential for European Union withdrawal.

Mrs May's de-facto deputy David Lidington will take Prime Minister's Questions on her behalf at 12:00 BST, with shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry standing in for Jeremy Corbyn. Mrs May has however pledged to take the United Kingdom out of both institutions as part of her Brexit plan.

He told Today that "the problem is not the Prime Minister, the problem is Brexit". "However, I will not hide the fact that this is very hard, because if it is going to work it will mean both parties making compromises and our ending up with a solution which, unlike any other proposed so far, will secure a majority in the house", he said.

Meanwhile, it also emerged that May faced a no-confidence challenge from Tory campaigners as more than 70 local association chiefs called for an extraordinary general meeting to discuss her leadership.

Mrs May has come under heavy criticism for her handling of the Brexit process, but survived a vote of confidence by her MPs in December.

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One of the petition's signatories, Greig Baker of Canterbury Conservatives, told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "Removing Theresa May has become like a trip to the dentist".

A non-binding vote is expected to be held at the meeting, which would - if it showed a lack of confidence - put pressure on the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs to find a way of forcibly removing the PM from office.

In a survey for the Conservative Home website, 61.7 per cent of Tory members that took part said they meant to support Nigel Farage's party in the European elections next month.

Under party rules, a year has to pass before another vote can be called.

"So far, the house has rejected our deal; it has rejected the opposition's proposals; it has rejected a referendum; it has rejected revocation; it has rejected a customs union; and it has rejected common market 2.0", he said.