When will Theresa May step down as PM?

Theresa May’s place at the top of the Conservative party and UK government is a wobbly one.

At the end of last month, Theresa May said to the BBC that she intends to stay in power for longer than many commentators might have expected.

However, the Times reported last weekend that each one of Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, Philip Hammond and David Davis were allegedly involved in plans to oust Theresa May as prime minister following June's disastrous election campaign.

Theresa May’s future is far from certain, but when could she step down?


The time for her to step aside this year is running out, but moves from within the party could force her to stand down early. The Times reports that anti-May leaders in the Conservatives believe there are at least 50 MPs who would like to see May gone. If this is true, then a leadership contest could be triggered in the coming months.

The odds of May stepping down this year are 5/1 (Ladbrokes).


Dissatisfaction with Brexit talks combined with growing disgruntlement at running a minority government could force the hand of key figures to take May down in the coming year. The odds of a 2018 replacement are 5/2, suggesting that the betting market thinks that 2018 is more likely than 2017.


At this stage, it looks like 2019 is the most viable option. If the UK leaves the EU deal in March 2019 with a transition deal firmly in place, May could step aside, saying she delivered "the will of the people". A subsequent leadership challenge could be a battle over how long the transitional period should be. Ladbrokes offer odds of 6/4 for such an outcome.

2020 or later

The next election is not due until 2022 so this outcome could mean that she remains PM for a two-year transition deal and steps down, ahead of the election - or it could mean that May does the improbable and fights in the next scheduled election.


Two factors will likely determine May’s future. The first is internal movements within the Tory party. Who could replace her? When will there be strong demand for a challenge? Will the country want another “big beast” to become leader or will someone more unlikely emerge and take charge? Secondly, the success of the Brexit negotiations will play a huge part in determining May’s future. The European Union has torn the Tory party apart before. The same thing could happen again if the situation isn’t handled correctly within the party.

The full list of Ladbrokes odds can be accessed here. All odds are accurate as of 25th September.

Have something to tell us about this article?