I am told, in completely unambiguous terms by a source very close to the Prime Minister, that there will be no statement from Theresa May tonight on anything – either setting out a timetable for her departure or agreeing to pull the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB). ‘Why would we do any of that the night before an election?’ said the source.
BUT in a way this planned silence is more amazing than if she were making a statement. Because several members of the cabinet have told me in no uncertain terms that they expected her to set out her timetable for departure tonight. The gap between the Prime Minister and her cabinet is wider than ever in modern history. No minister thinks she can remain in office for more than a few days.
The Source also confirmed that Theresa May will be meeting foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt tomorrow. As I understand it, Hunt will join his many colleagues urging her to pull the WAB and not put her version of Brexit to a humiliating fourth vote – which he thinks she is bound to lose.
My source says that she is still intent on pressing ahead with the WAB vote, which is earmarked for 7 June. And the timetable for her departure rests totally on whether she resists all pleading from ministers to kill the WAB. ‘The key issue is what to do about the bill’ said a senior minister. ‘The logic of what she does personally flows from that.’
Robert Peston is ITV’s Political Editor. This article originally appeared on his ITV news blog.