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European elections - live: Corbyn tells supporters 'get ready for a general election' as Theresa May teeters on brink after shelving Brexit vote

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Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
@ashcowburn,Chris Baynes,Harry Cockburn
Thursday 23 May 2019 16:39
Who could replace Theresa May as Tory leader?

Theresa May is thought to be on the brink of resignation as she faces a growing cabinet revolt over her Brexit plan and humiliation for the Conservative Party in today's European elections.

The prime minister is expected to announce a departure plan on Friday after failing to quell a ministerial mutiny over her revised EU withdrawal agreement. Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, the most prominent Brexiteer in the cabinet, quit late on Wednesday and other ministers were expected to follow her out of the door.

It comes as both the Tories and Labour face a drubbing in European parliament elections, with the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party set to capitalise.


Welcome to The Independent's live politics coverage as Theresa May's stay in Downing Street looks to be drawing to a close.

The prime minister is reportedly preparing to announce her resignation on Friday as cabinet members mutiny over her Brexit plan.

It comes against a backdrop of European elections in which the Conservatives are almost certain to suffer humiliating losses today.

Chris Baynes23 May 2019 08:12

Theresa May's premiership was brought to the brink by the resignation of key cabinet Brexiteer Andrea Leadsom.

The Commons leader announced her bombshell decision to quit last night on the eve of European elections in which the Tories are set for a historic defeat.

Her departure will spark fears in Downing Street of an exodus of Leave-backing ministers, amid a cabinet-level revolt over the PM’s offer of a binding Commons vote on a second Brexit referendum, reports our political editor Andrew Woodcock:

Chris Baynes23 May 2019 08:24

Nigel Farage reportedly got stuck on his Brexit Party campaign bus last night after people armed with milkshakes surrounded him.

The former Ukip leader is said to have refused to leave the vehicle, days after he was covered in banana and salted caramel milkshake in Newcastle.

My colleague Chiara Giordano has the full story:

Chris Baynes23 May 2019 08:26

Speaking to ITV's Peston last night, the prominent Brexiteer and chairman of the Tories' European Research Group, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said he believed Theresa May could break her own record when (if) she brings her Brexit plans to a vote in the Commons next month.

Reminder: In January the prime minister lost the meaningful vote by 230 votes - the heaviest defeat of any British prime minister in modern history.

Ashley Cowburn23 May 2019 08:45

Lord Baker - the former home secretary under the Conservative PM John Major - has told BBC Radio 4 this morning that it is "remarkable" Theresa May is still in office. 

Ashley Cowburn23 May 2019 08:50

Theresa May's Conservatives are on course for their worst electoral defeat in a national vote as a fresh poll for The Independent puts the party in fourth position on the eve of the European elections.

The survey - cementing the Brexit Party in first place - also shows Labour and the Liberal Democrats vying for second place, with Jeremy Corbyn's party slightly ahead as the UK public prepares to elect its next crop of MEPs on Thursday.

The poll by BMG researchers puts the Brexit Party way ahead of the established political parties at Westminster with 35 per cent of respondents opting for the newly-formed party - spearheaded by Nigel Farage.

Ashley Cowburn23 May 2019 09:02

Interim leader of the newly-formed Change UK party Heidi Allen has admitted she threatened to quit in a row over tactical voting, saying she would have "absolutely advised tactical voting" if the decision was up to her.

Ms Allen was asked by Channel 4 News if she had threatened to quit as Change UK leader over an internal dispute over whether to publicly back the Liberal Democrats outside London and the South East.

 "Yes. I did. I am very, very troubled by this. This is a massive decision for a party to take. Had it been left to me, I would have absolutely advised tactical voting," she said.

Ms Allen, who left the Conservative Party to join other breakaway Tory and Labour MPs, said the majority view was that "they didn't want to go that way".

She added: "But it is something that still troubles me. I have no doubt that the British public will look at the tactical voting websites out there and make their own decisions."

Ashley Cowburn23 May 2019 09:15

Penny Mordaunt, the defence secretary and prominent Brexiteer, had some brief words for reporters on Thursday morning. 

Asked about her own position, she replied:  "I have given my advice to Number 10 and today I am going to be getting on with my job which is to keep the country safe and look after our armed forces."


Ashley Cowburn23 May 2019 09:26

Theresa May is facing mounting pressure to resign after Commons leader Andrea Leadsom quit the cabinet over the prime minister’s Brexit plan.

Ms Leadsom resigned with a “heavy heart” on the eve of the European elections, saying she no longer believed the government’s approach would deliver the referendum result the people voted for.

The prime minister continued to cling on to power on Wednesday after Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, failed to agree a rule change which would allow a fresh bid to topple her.

Ashley Cowburn23 May 2019 09:34

Quite an admission from a Labour MP on the looming Conservative leadership contest. Don't expect many members of the official opposition to be airing similar views in the coming days.

Ashley Cowburn23 May 2019 09:51

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