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Prime Minister Theresa May could quit today

By Paul Francis

The Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to announce the timetable for her resignation today.

It has been widely reported that she will quit on June 10th triggering a leadership contest.

The date will mean that she will still be PM when the American President Donald Trump visits.

The Prime Minister is set to arrange her departure date today
The Prime Minister is set to arrange her departure date today

The Conservatives are braced for a heavy defeat in the European election on Sunday and Mrs May has been under increasing pressure from her own party to say when she intends to quit.

One Kent MP has already hinted who he thinks should be the next leader of the party - ahead of the expected resignation of Theresa May.

Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat says he is minded to give his backing to Michael Gove, the environment secretary of state and former education secretary of state.

Mr Tugendhat revealed his preferred choice after he publicly called on Theresa May to quit. In an interview with the Financial Times, he said: “Leadership matters and it has been absent for too long.”

MP Tom Tugendhat
MP Tom Tugendhat

He had backed the government’s Withdrawal Bill on the three occasions it came before the Commons.

He said he favoured Mr Gove because he had wide-ranging experience in key government roles: “I’m minded to support somebody who has demonstrated huge capability in various departments. Who has demonstrated the intelligence and ingenuity to overcome many challenges.

"That’s why I’m more minded towards Michael Gove. But let’s see who starts this race, nobody has officially put their name in the ring yet.”

“I’m minded to support somebody who has demonstrated huge capability in various departments..." Michael Gove

He was cool about the leadership bid by Boris Johnson, telling LBC he was looking for somebody who has demonstrated an "impressive record of achievement," pointing out that Michael Gove did "all the debating" on the leave campaign.

The MP has been tipped as a potential future leader but his backing for Mr Gove is an indication that he will not be putting his hat in the ring - at least this time.

Mr Gove was criticised for abruptly ending his support for Boris Johnson during the 2016 leadership contest and putting himself forward for the job.

Nearly all the county’s MPs swung behind Theresa May when she stood for the leader’s job when David Cameron quit after the EU referendum in 2016.

Among those who backed Boris Johnson in 2016 was the Dartford MP Gareth Johnson.

If Andrea Leadsom pitches for the job, her campaign team is likely to feature Andrew Kennedy, the well-known Conservative strategist and newly-elected Tonbridge and Malling councillor.

He was part of her team when she stood in 2016.

Ashford MP Damian Green said his overwhelming feeling was one of sadness at the resignation of Theresa May: “It may be that the European issue is one that arouses so much passion and visceral views on both sides that any amount of schmoozing and on squeezing would not have made any difference.”

Damian Green
Damian Green

He said that the key turning point was when David Davis resigned as brexit secretary. But he rejected the suggestion that her personality meant she was not suited to being Prime Minister.

Speaking on the BBC Today show he said:“Perhaps inevitably people are concentrating on the downside but we have to remember the extraordinary sense of public service in an era when political discourse has become so poisonous, she was always courteous and polite.

"The biggest tragedy is she never had the time or place to implement her domestic agenda and tackle the burning injustices she wanted to address."

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