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Theresa May agrees to set timetable for her departure from Downing Street

Theresa May could be on the verge of finally setting a departure date. Credit: PA

Theresa May has fended off calls for her immediate departure from No 10 - but only after agreeing to set a timetable for the election of her successor.

The Prime Minister will meet the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady at the start of June to agree the details of the leadership contest.

The move follows a meeting between Prime Minister and the 1922 executive at Westminster on Thursday during which she again came under pressure to name her exit date from Downing Street.

Sir Graham said he would meet her again in early in June to agree the details.

Even as the talks were taking place in Westminster, Boris Johnson galvanised the race to succeed her, confirming he would be a candidate.

"I'm going to go for it. Of course I'm going to go for it," the former foreign secretary told a business event in Manchester.

ITV Political Editor Robert Peston said Theresa May is "clinging on to a semblance of control" over her departure date, which he said should be announced in the next few weeks.

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Sir Graham said: "It was a very frank discussion, I tried to make sure that all the views represented on the executive were expressed and we had a very frank exchange with the Prime Minister."

He said the meeting with backbenchers will take place regardless of the result of the vote on the Brexit Withdrawal Bill, which is due before MPs once again in the week beginning June 3.

Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed to set a timetable for her departure. Credit: PA

A No 10 source acknowledged that if the Bill was defeated, the pressure for Mrs May to go immediately will inevitably ratchet up.

"She would have to say 'This is how I envisage the timetable for a leadership election happening and there would have to be some sort of agreement about that'," the source said.

The statement means that, yet again, Mrs May has resisted calls for her to name the date of her departure from No 10.