Conservative leader Theresa May is preparing to resign later this year so she can stop Boris Johnson’s leadership bid, Cabinet ministers reportedly believe.
Under the plan, the PM would call time on her stay in 10 Downing Street after finally delivering Brexit.
She will then set out the timetable for a Tory leadership contest which would end at the party’s annual conference in October.
It’s rumoured the surprise resignation is part of a bid to stop a potential leadership challenge by former Foreign Secretary Johnson.
Ex-London Mayor Johnson has long been opposed to the PM’s approach to Brexit.
“She’s determined to ensure the right person follows her”
At least two senior Cabinet figures have come to the conclusion May will leave this summer, The Sun reported.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who is close to May, is one of the senior ministers believed to have been given hints by May.
A senior Tory source told The Sun: “Liam is convinced she’ll go this summer.
“He says everything the PM has told him suggests that.
“She’s determined to ensure the right person follows her, and she’ll have no say at all if it gets to the stage of forcing her out.”
Business Secretary Greg Clark is also alleged to have told friends he expects May to stand down voluntarily this year.
His allies have pointed to the PM’s apparent lack of interest in creating a post-Brexit political landscape in the next two years since a failed coup to oust her last December.
As her premiership seemed to be collapsing around her, May announced she wouldn’t fight a General Election in 2022.
But another close ally of the Prime Minister has insisted she has given no indication of when she might leave.
A senior Number 10 source said: “The only person who will know Theresa’s real thinking on when she’ll step down is her husband, Philip.
“She won’t share it with anyone else, not us or any Cabinet minister.”
The PM is struggling to agree on a Brexit deal by the deadline of March 29, with May’s deal rejected in January as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence.