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CNN International: Brexit Battle, U.K. Prime Minister under Pressure to Resign; India Decides; First Couples Wed under Taiwan's Marriage Equality Law; Pelosi: White House is Crying for Impeachment. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired May 24, 2019 - 04:00   ET




BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Nearing the end of the road. British prime minister Theresa May's fate could be decided in the coming hours. We will have a live report from outside 10 Downing Street coming up.

More name calling from the Oval Office in Washington. Why the U.S. president is taking verbal shots at the Speaker of the House.

And a historic first as Taiwan celebrates Asia's first same-sex marriage.

Thank you for joining us. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


NOBILO: After almost three years of the premiership marred and dominated and possibly destroyed by Brexit, the end may be near for British prime minister Theresa May. She will meet with the chair of the Conservative 1922 Committee of the backbenches who may determine her fate or at least force her to name the date she will step down. Phil Black is outside Number 10 Downing Street -- Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A short time ago we saw the prime minister's motorcade return to Number 10 Downing Street via the back entrance. She and her husband spent the night in their constituency home outside London.

The chairman of the Conservative Party, Brandon Lewis, was seen entering by the back gate. We know Theresa May will meet with the most senior Tory backbencher. He will be expressing the view of the backbench MPs within Parliament that May has to go and if she doesn't go soon, she will be forced out.

So all of this appears likely. There seemed to be a real gathering of momentum today, that Theresa May will today finally concede in a move that has long been speculated and predicted and fought for by members of her own party, that she must leave office in the near future. The speculation in Britain with some logic seems to center around her

formally leaving office around June 10th. There are events coming up where Britain needs a prime minister, notably the state visit of U.S. president Donald Trump in early June.

As it stands, we expect to hear in the coming hours how Theresa May plans to leave office in the near future.

NOBILO: Phil Black, thank you.

Now I want to bring in Joey Jones, a former spokesperson for Theresa May.

Joey, thank you very much for being with us. We were talking about what may be going through the prime minister's mind.

Do you think all of the signs are pointing to her making a speech today, setting out when she will leave?

JOEY JONES, FORMER MAY SPOKESPERSON: There is definitely momentum moving toward it. It may be that momentum is not her making. It may be those within her party, even senior and cabinet ministers, have gone out and briefed journalists to try to generate a sense of an unstoppable force which she can no longer fight.

Whatever happens, I think it feels to me as though the timing has to be now. To be frank, it is overdue. She may not have realized it but her ability, her pathway toward getting Brexit over the line in the way she has fought for, evaporated a week ago when the 1922 Committee, the senior committee of parliamentarians, said she would be going, come what may, whether she gets her vote through or not.

At that point, her power dissipates. From that moment, she was on borrowed time. I think the danger is, if she were to be seen to be trying to stay on, it is very hard to justify that beyond reasons of personal vanity, trying to get beyond the tenure of other prime ministers, particularly Gordon Brown, or of self-delusion and inability to see the writing on the wall.

NOBILO: You mentioned self-delusion and that she may not able to see what others have seen around her for a long time.

What else is contributing to the premiership has deteriorated since the botched election?

It is extraordinarily because it hung by a thread at that moment. The thread has gotten ever thinner.


JONES: It is extraordinary. And yet she has confounded political gravity for all that time. I think the two main reasons for that, one is she did still feel that there was a --

[04:05:00] JONES: -- pathway through Parliament and, as long as that remained there, then she would, in her stubborn and bloody-minded way, endeavor to force that through.

The other one was that bluntly -- and she could see this as well as any of us -- nobody else had a better plan. You know, there is a sort of bitter irony in the fact that, I reckon in six months or a year's time, she may well be watching back in her constituency home as some other person, who she probably doesn't like very much, makes a complete hash of the situation and is confronted with the same conundrums and obstacles and difficulties that she's grappled with so long. And she will be able to say, I told you so. That is a small victory compared with what she has been aiming for so long.

NOBILO: When we think about her political legacy, Parliament was not in the mood to compromise. People still haven't abandoned their ideals in the Brexit debate, whether a second referendum or leaving without a deal.

How much of the lack of success was down to the prime minister's own character traits?

JONES: Well, I think, in two main ways, she was not suited to the current situation. One was that she didn't seem to be able to understand the need to prepare the ground for compromise. So she talked blithely about Brexit means Brexit for a long time, like it was a straightforward box-ticking exercise.

But after the election, when she no longer had a majority, she is not a natural dealmaker. She doesn't find it easy to reach out to her political opponents, many of whom she feels a sort of contempt toward and struggles to hide that in a way that she would have needed to do to build a coalition.

Having said that, if we go right back to the period when she came into Downing Street, when I was actually with her, then there was nobody better suited to bridge the two sides as a Remainer who could understand nevertheless and sympathize and was seen by a lot of Leave supporting Conservatives and others as being in tune with them.

She was the best person for the job at that time. But once we got beyond the election, then her shortcomings were one of the factors that led to this mess.

NOBILO: Thank you.

We'll have more reaction to Theresa May's expected statement coming up on "CNN TALK." Join us in three hours for that. You can log on to to have your say, at 12:00 pm here in London and 7:00 pm in Hong Kong.

It's day two of the European Parliament elections. Voters in the Netherlands and the U.K. cast their ballots on Thursday. Polls have already opened in Malta and Ireland. And in the coming hours, they will also open in the Czech Republic. Over four day, 28 countries are electing 751 parliament members that will shape the European Union's focus for the next five years. Join CNN on Sunday night as the European election results start to take shape. Our special coverage will be hosted by Hala Gorani at 8:00 pm Brussels time.

Voters in India handed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party a landslide victory. His government has overseen multiple economic challenges, including rising unemployment. But voters chose to give Mr. Modi more time. Sam Kiley reports from the center of the action in New Delhi.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An historic victory, indeed a landslide for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Narendra Modi now set for a second five-year term as prime minister of the world's biggest democracy.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): You have seen it from 2014 to 2019, the people who used to talk about secularism have now gone quiet. In this election, not one political party has been able to deceive the people of India by wearing the label of secularism.

KILEY: Some 600 million people voted over a five week period in 542 constituencies.

(on camera): The number of journalists here outside the BJP Party headquarters is actually higher than the number of people celebrating the Modi victory. Perhaps because it was seen that the incumbent prime minister's victory would be a foregone conclusion. His challenge now, is to unite a country that is increasingly divided.

(voice over): His popularity falling six months ago, Modi regained --


KILEY (voice-over): -- the political initiative in February when he ordered airstrikes against alleged terrorist camps inside Pakistan. In retaliation for an Islamist attack on Indian forces in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Since then he's ignored economic issues in favor of projecting himself as India's tough guy -- Chowkidar -- the watchman. Now India's 200 million Muslims who probably flooded to the secular Indian Congress Party have a dwindling voice as the Congress barely survived as a credible opposition.

YAMINI AYAR, POLITICAL ANALYST: Forces have been unleashed and these forces are more certainly going to add energy, pursue the majority agenda in our polity and in our society.

KILEY: Reelected on a populist platform, Modi's natural allies around the world were quick to congratulate him. First was Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu then Russia's Vladimir Putin. Old enemy Pakistan meanwhile seemed almost to vindicate support for Modi -- launching a Shaheen-2 missile two missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead 2000 kilometers in a training exercise -- Sam Kiley, CNN, New Delhi.


NOBILO: CNN's New Delhi bureau chief Nikhil Kumar joins us now.

It is great to have you here with us. This election ended up being like a referendum on Narendra Modi himself, which is no mean feat given this system. Talk to us about that.

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: That is right, Bianca. This is a system modeled on Westminster's parliamentary system. Voters vote for individual constituencies for individual prospective MPs.

In theory, they should be local issues and local issues like the one you mentioned, the still many serious economic problems that many Indians face, despite the promises Mr. Modi made in 2014. He promised to make India great again. He said he would overhaul the economy, generate jobs for the roughly 12 million Indians who enter the workforce each year, many of whom struggle to find work.

Since then, we have seen lots of evidence that they are still struggling to find work. In other sectors we've seen problems; the farm sector, for example, is important in the country, has seen declining incomes for farmers.

A lot of analysts thought heading in to the election this would affect his majority, that the laws of gravity would operate. That did not happen because Modi made it all about himself.

He said I am a clean figure and I have good intentions and I intend to overhaul the system and realize the aspirations of young Indians. I just need more time. Trust in me. I am the ultimate nationalist.

He referred to Chowkidar, the word he used during his campaign, watchman is what it means in Hindi, he effectively portrayed himself as the protector of the nation. He called on people to once again put their faith in him because it was all about him.

The opposition struggled to counter this. They did not have a candidate as towering a personality. They did not have an answer to the question. They could not say it should be another figure. So Modi won and won big. It was a referendum. The answer resoundingly is they wanted him back and he back with a larger majority than 2014 -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Nikhil, thank you very much.

The feud with Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has kicked into high gear with U.S. president unleashing a series of schoolyard- style insults, which was startling even by his own standards. Trump welcomed a group of farmers to the White House to announce

another $16 billion in aid to offset the disastrous impacts of the trade war with China on them. But when the questions from reporters started, so did some name-calling. Jim Acosta has this.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trading barbs with his chief Democratic nemesis, President Trump took a swipe at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she can't comprehend the U.S. trade deal with Mexico and Canada now pending before Congress.

TRUMP: She's a mess. Look, let's face it. She doesn't understand it.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president then got even more personal, relitigating his confrontation one day earlier with Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, complete with schoolyard nicknames.

TRUMP: I was extremely calm. I was probably even more so in that room. So I walked into the cabinet room. You had the group, Cryin' Chuck, Crazy Nancy. I tell you what, I've been watching her and I have been watching her for a long period of time. She's not the same person. She's lost it.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The verbal tussling comes one day after the president lashed out in the Rose Garden, a performance Democrats derided as another Trump temper tantrum.

TRUMP: I don't do cover-ups.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Pelosi appears to have gotten under Mr. Trump's skin --


ACOSTA (voice-over): -- referring to the two I's, impeachment...

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: There's no question, the White House is just crying out for impeachment.

ACOSTA (voice-over): -- and intervention, a new Pelosi trigger word.

PELOSI: I pray for the president the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the better of the country.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president turned to his own aides to back him up. One after one, top officials were called on by the president to reassure the public Mr. Trump was calm in it his meeting with Democrats.


LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Kellyanne said you were very calm. SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Very calm and straight forward and clear.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president said he's not goading Pelosi into impeaching him.

TRUMP: I don't think anybody wants to be impeached.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The White House is accusing Democrats of being more interested in investigation than legislation.

SANDERS: I think it's a complete lie that Democrats and Congress think they can do two things at once. So far we haven't seen them do anything. Nancy Pelosi has had the majority in the House for months and has yet to accomplish a single thing. They haven't gotten -- they literally haven't gotten anything done since she's taken over.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But that's not true. The House has so far passed dozens of bills, including legislation aimed at gun control and climate change. And just today, lawmakers announced a multibillion dollar disaster relief package that should make its way through both the House and Senate and be signed by Mr. Trump in the coming days.

As for the president's fight with Nancy Pelosi, the White House Speaker responded with a tweet, "When the 'extremely stable genius' starts to act more appropriate, I'll be happy to discuss the issues." -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


NOBILO: Coming up on the program, love wins in Taiwan as some of the first same-sex couples in India finally get the chance to tie the knot. It is not without pushback.

Plus Kenya is pondering an LGBTQ equality issue of its own, whether to decriminalize same sex. Stay with us.




NOBILO: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

We are following information this morning that Theresa May is set to resign as is being reported in the British media. For that, let's bring in Phil Black, joining us from 10 Downing Street.

Phil, we just had news of a further resignation from Theresa May's government.

BLACK: Yes, Bianca. We know Theresa May and Philip May have returned to Downing Street this morning. They spent the night in their constituency home outside of London. Today, they will be meeting with senior party officials. Brandon Lewis, the chairman of the Conservative Party, was seen

entering the back entrance of Downing Street. We know Theresa May is meeting with Graham Brady, the most senior Tory backbencher --


BLACK: -- the chairman of the 1922 Committee, the leader of the bloc of backbench Conservative MPs. His job is to convey to the prime minister something she should already be aware of, that is she has lost the support of the backbench MPs. They want her to set a timetable for her departure.

If she doesn't do that, they will move to force her out. In terms of the resignation, difficult to determine the significance of this at this stage. But it comes from Helen Grant, a Conservative MP, who is announcing with some regret her resignation. She has done it on Twitter.

Saying, "It is time for new leadership to deliver Brexit and unite our party and country."

She is resigning as the Conservatives' vice chair for Communities. What we are watching here is news of Theresa May's steps, whether or not she is going to be moving and moving soon. There is no doubt there is a swell of speculation or expectation that she has come to the end of the road.

It has been predicted before and we have talked about it so many times over the last year or so. The possibility, asking the question of how can she go on. It has reached a point where her authority has been eroded, where she has no further options.

We know she already conceded her willingness to set a timetable for departure. But that was supposed to happen next month. First, she wanted one more crack at getting a Brexit withdrawal bill through Parliament. A couple days ago, she announced concessions, compromises she felt would be necessary to achieve a majority in Parliament for that withdrawal bill. Something that she hoped could attract support from opposition parties but it has backfired.

It is clear that attempts at compromise have been rejected by her party en masse. There is something of a revolt among backbench MPs. It does not have support of the senior members of cabinet.

So we are in a situation now where Theresa May's desire to put the bill to Parliament, well, it is dead before it gets there. So that's why we are able to speak with some certainty that Theresa May is in a situation where she simply must acknowledge, it is time to go.

What happens is she is likely to concede at a time where she will stop being leader of the Conservative Party, if you like, and remain caretaker prime minister while the Conservative Party chooses its new leader. The speculation points to that date of somewhere around June 10th, which would enable her to remain prime minister in name and function through U.S. president Donald Trump's state visit at the start of June -- Bianca. NOBILO: Phil, focus is shifting on more and more onto who could succeed Theresa May. As you mentioned, it seems all signs are pointing to a imminent resignation or statement indicating she will step down shortly.

Who are the favorites that are tipped to replace her?

Are we hearing anything from them at this incredibly sensitive moment, where the prime minister will be deciding what she will do?

BLACK: It is widely accepted the candidates coming in to any Conservative leadership would be Boris Johnson, the very high profile former British foreign secretary, who resigned from cabinet over Theresa May's handling of Brexit. His name recognition within the Conservative grassroots is high.

But he is expected to face a wide field of candidates from within cabinet and perhaps some without as well. There are a lot of ambitious figures within the Conservative Party right now. The process would see that wide field of candidates whittled down over a series of votes among the Conservative members of Parliament.

The final two left standing, presumably Boris -- there's something of an expectation he would make it down to the final two -- would be put out to the Conservative Party membership, who would then take a post vote to determine who the next leader would be and the next prime minister will be.

It is something of a process, as you can tell from that description. It is not something that can take place in a couple of days. So it is why the timetable for May's departure needs to be organized in a specific way, particularly because there is a push within the Conservative Party to put this new leader in place as quickly as possible, preferably before Parliament summer recess, which would mean potentially we could have a new prime minister in place somewhere --


BLACK: -- around the end of July.

NOBILO: Phil Black, thank you for bringing us the latest. We'll check back in with you shortly.

Up next on CNN NEWSROOM, the first same-sex couples in Asia finally get the chance to tie the knot. We're live in Taipei next.




NOBILO: Welcome back.

It's a historic day in Taiwan. Same-sex couples there now can get married. This is one of the first gay couples you will be looking at now in all of Asia to be legally wed. Taiwan's ground-breaking marriage equality bill is now in effect a week after it was passed.

Activists hope it will spark change across the continent. Some countries are rolling back LGBTQ rights. Matt Rivers joins us from Taipei.

Matt, tell us what it has been like there and the reaction to the historic change.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This morning, it was just in that building behind me, Bianca, a relatively normal building where history was made not only for the island of Taiwan and for Asia as a continent. Taiwan becoming the first place in the part of the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

We were here early. We watched around 3 dozen same-sex couples file in, shortly after the doors opened at 8:00 am, and they went through the historic process. As you imagine, they were euphoric. A couple of years ago, there was no guarantee this day would come.

Now it has come, same-sex couples here are able to do something that no one else in Asia can.

In terms of the process of how we got here, Bianca, it was two years ago that the constitutional court of Taiwan ruled the existing marriage law unconstitutional. At the time marriage was defined as the union between one man and one woman.

The court said that is unconstitutional, gave the legislature two years to amend it and enact new laws. As you mentioned, the legislature passed the new law last week. That took effect today here in Taiwan.

There are people that are extremely happy. On the other side, there are a lot of people not happy about this. It was just last November that a nationwide referendum conducted, and the vast majority of people, around 70 percent, said they were not in favor of same-sex marriage. But the courts overruled that referendum and that brought us to where we are right now.

NOBILO: Matt Rivers in Taipei, thank you so much.

We will head back to Downing Street and get the latest on the future of Theresa May, coming up next on CNN NEWSROOM.





NOBILO: Welcome back. After almost three years of a premiership that's been marred,

dominated and now possibly destroyed by Brexit, the end may be near for British prime minister Theresa May. She will meet with the chair of the Conservative 1922 Committee of the backbenches who may determine her fate or at least force her to name the date she will step down.

Joining me to talk about the developments and try to get a sense of what is going on is Joey Jones, former spokesperson for Theresa May.

We still haven't heard anything definitive yet. But momentum is building. We had another resignation since the last you have been sitting here. Talk us through whether or not the prime minister has any options left, other than to come out onto the steps of Downing Street and say, this is the date I'm resigning.

JONES: All of the right people are in place. Brandon Lewis, Julian Smith, the chief whip, and Graham Brady, the head of the 1922 Committee, the backbench committee of Conservative MPs, are all there in Downing Street.

So this is the meeting that counts. One would imagine news would emerge from that soon afterwards. There is nowhere else for her to go. The momentum is building. The time is right. Indeed, I think the timing is overdue.

Were she trying to cling on further, then questions would arise in people's minds, even her friends and supporters, why she is doing it. The feeling then would be, given there's no pathway to Brexit that exists anymore, it could only be for reasons of self delusion and not seeing the writing on the wall or perhaps a degree of personal vanity, of wanting to get past Gordon Brown's period in office or something like that.

NOBILO: Is that really true?


NOBILO: Do you think that would genuinely be a factor?

JONES: I hope not. This is a prime minister who set her herself out as self sacrifice and duty and service. I think that would be unseemly and that is why it is so important that she does call it a day now.

I would say one thing about the resignation. Helen Grant is one of a number of vice chairs of the party. Apparently HQ said to them all they would not be able to campaign in the forthcoming leadership contest if they were bound in the party apparatus.

In all, the timing is really weird.

What is the point of resigning from government as it is imploding?

The more important resignation is the one of Andrea Leadsom. I think the reason that is so telling, the Commons leader, is traditionally they say he or she who wields the knife against the incumbent has no chance of becoming leader.

Well, Andrea calculated otherwise. She felt the prime minister's standing with Conservative activists and MPs was so low that she may actually get a bit of momentum and favorable opinion from being seen to try to precipitate from her Downing Street.

NOBILO: It is a bit like the "Orient Express," because so many are wielding the knife.


JONES: You could see that playing out with the meetings yesterday with both the home secretary and foreign secretary --


JONES: -- who went in and clearly wanted to be seen to be influencing her decision. But the spokespeople were very clear afterwards, oh, no they cannot make the resignation.

NOBILO: In terms of Theresa May as a human being, clearly she is the prime minister and she has taken a lot of flack. You worked with her. You know her personally.

One of the chief criticisms against her has been the fact she was robotic and the Maybot, Unfriendly nickname she has been given. She is called somebody with not a lot of emotional intelligence and is not good as disguising her reactions and feeling contempt for colleagues.

She has a complicated relationship with the job; she is said to be uncomfortable in front of media. I have seen her look visibly uncomfortable, taking questions and making the speeches, which usually prime ministers relish.

What does she enjoy about the job?

She said she loved it earlier this week.

JONES: I agree. It doesn't look much fun from the outside.

I can't answer that. I look at it and I think, that looks horrible. I do think, broadly speaking, we will look back on her period in office as more about the forces that she was unable to control, which were huge, not necessarily about her.

But that gaucheness and vulnerability, right back when she went into Downing Street, the combination of evident human frailty with power, because she'd been applauded into Downing Street, was an attractive one for the electorate. It went down well, particularly after a really smooth prime minister, who is very much at ease with himself.


JONES: It worked well. But once that power dissipated after the general election, then frailty looks like weakness. Weakness for a prime minister, she has never managed to get out of that, if you like, sort of the death spiral.

NOBILO: Joey, stay with us. I'll bring in Phil Black, who is outside 10 Downing Street.

Phil, what else have you heard?

Do you feel the resignation speech is imminent?

BLACK: I wouldn't say within the next few moments. No. We have not seen any further movement since Theresa May and her husband arrived within the last hour or so and the arrival of the Conservative Party chairman at the same time.

We are left to believe these high-level meetings within the Conservative Party are taking place as we speak. And Theresa May, presumably, is giving some sense of the way she thinks things should be allowed to proceed over the coming weeks.

We know she is meeting with the senior backbench Tory MP who is there to representative represent the voice of Tory backbenchers and to say that she has lost their support. If she doesn't agree to leave quickly, moves will be taken to oust her quickly, we presume.

So there is the air of expectation. There is a great deal of media interest here in Downing Street, more than just on the regular day. There have not been a lot of comings and goings through the famous front door here, although we did see the prime minister's chief whip make his way in about two hours ago or so.

So we are left to wait and see as these talks take place, an expectation that May will set the timetable today. To be honest, we cannot be certain of just when or how she will make that announcement.

I think when discussing Theresa May, it is always important to give caveats because it has been predicted so many times, predicted the day must come where she could or must surely concede that she cannot go on.

Yes she has chosen to do so and has somehow done so. With that said, it really does appear as if the prime minister has run out of road. So the sense of expectation that today, Theresa May will accept the inevitable and set the timetable for departure.

NOBILO: Phil, it seems the prime minister has run out of road. You and I have both been there before many times when it seems she could not go on, whether it was after the election in 2017 or with the vote of no confidence --


NOBILO: -- within the party, within the House of Commons. She has managed to survive. It seems to be the defining characteristic of her premiership.

What is it to you that feels so different about today?

Is it the fact that her last-ditch attempt to get a Brexit plan through fell apart?

BLACK: Yes, I think that is what it comes down to. It is the fact there doesn't appear to be any options left or open to her. With every failure to secure the necessary support for a Brexit withdrawal agreement, there has been erosion of her authority.

It has been harder to create that new stretch of road to enable her to have room to maneuver and to operate and to point to something coming up down the track, where she could try and still somehow try to achieve the necessary support and negotiate some compromise and make it happen in some way.

Having conceded last week that she would be setting that timetable in June to leave but saying she wanted to have one last crack at getting it through Parliament first, that really did set a final deadline.

When she did unveil what she believed or what she hoped would be the necessary compromises to achieve cross-party support to achieve a majority in Parliament, to get that deal through one last time, it was simply rejected by her own party in such a powerful way.

While at the same time, clearly not winning enough counter support from opposition parties, it was dismissed by them as well. So on one hand, she created revolt and sense of disgust among Conservative MPs, who had run out of patience and at the same time not offered enough through her compromises in order to attract opposition support that would see a majority created.

In that situation, with her backbench MPs saying she must go and without support of members of the cabinet because of resignation of Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House, a Brexiteers and a possible leadership contender, and the fact that other cabinet members told her the deal is dead before it arrives.

We are now in the situation where we could say with some authority that she has to acknowledge the facts. And the facts are she has nowhere else to go. She must determine a precise date for handing over power and she must do it quickly. Otherwise, her party is making it clear they will remove her forcefully.

NOBILO: The prime minister has been unpopular for some time. The front pages of magazines have had her depicted as a single figure, lonely at the top of politics because she did not have many allies.

Increasingly, we have seen more and more resignations and the groundswell of opposition to her from the grassroots and backbenches. But she still had some loyalists that praised her determination and persistence and ability to take so much flack from the media and from her own party, so much open critique.

Is there anyone left within the party or in the mood of the country that still feels loyal to the prime minister?

BLACK: I think certainly, as Theresa May's premiership has ground on and lurched forward from stumble to mistake to failure, one of the defining themes of it, certainly as you touch on it, and one of the most widespread reactions to her has been this sense of almost respect for her enormous and extraordinary resilience, her willingness to keep going.

I think that today there will be a great deal spoken about that. There has been, really. Many column inches and hours of broadcast time dedicated to not just Theresa May's mistakes but also to asking the question, why does she endure and why does she choose to proceed in this way?

Those who know her well, as you touched on there, those who respect her and those close to her and have a close political relationship with her, talk about the extraordinary value that she places on public service, her innate sense of duty.

That is the logical reason to explain why she has been willing to fight on from mistake to mistake, from failure to failure in the face of extraordinary criticism, not just from the broader electorate but within her own party as well.

NOBILO: Phil, thanks for your reporting. I had --


NOBILO: -- my eye on the door behind you just then, because it rather symbolically opened and then shut again and it looked like it was opening one more time. Symbolic of the indecision of the morning. Phil Black, thank you.

Join us on CNN NEWSROOM. We are following the latest developments on what seems like an inexorable march toward Theresa May's resignation speech later today.




NOBILO: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

Our top story: the end may be near for British prime minister Theresa May. She will meet with the chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee of influential backbenchers who have the ability to determine her fate.

In the last hour, the prime minister arrived at 10 Downing Street and CNN saw the chairman of the Conservative Party arrive at the prime minister's residence as well. All things spelling potentially the end of Theresa May's premiership.

Let's bring in political analyst Carole Walker now. She joins us from Abingdon Green.

Carole, this is shaping up to be a momentous day and signs pointing to a resignation speech potentially within the next couple hours. CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. A real sense of drama after the weeks and months when Theresa May has been clinging to power and people have been asking her to go.

It looks like Theresa May has faced up to the fact that her time in power is up. We do expect her to set out in the next few hours the timetable for her departure. We understand she is still going to be meeting this morning with Sir Graham Brady. He chairs the 1922 Committee of senior Conservatives, which runs the future leadership contest.

This committee had already said to Theresa May she should --


WALKER: -- come back today and set a timetable for her departure.

In case she refuses to go, they will have already held a ballot whether to change the rules of the leadership contest, so if she refuses to budge, they could change the rule to have another vote of confidence in her leadership and force her to stand down.

Everything that I'm hearing is that she has now faced up to the fact that her time has run out and I think she will want to do this on her own terms. She will want to be the one to say, this is when I'm going to go.

We are hearing strong suggestions that she will remain in power for the time being while a leadership contest takes place and they might wait and start the actual leadership contest in the second week of June, so after Donald Trump is due on a very important visit here to the United Kingdom.

Really, I think, the tipping point was reached earlier this week, when Theresa May came up with what she said was her big, bold new offer to MPs and it was resoundingly rejected on all sides. She simply had run out of options, Bianca.

NOBILO: Carole, you're not far from Downing Street. I'm watching the feed at the moment. We see the podium with the seal brought out. We are looking at the sound equipment and it is going through a check at the moment. We can imagine that a statement is imminent though I have spent many an evening there with a podium and no sign of a prime minister. But I think today might be different.

When we are reflecting on the prime minister's legacy, Carole, it is all about Brexit.

Will she have any legacy at all if, in her final week, she is unable to put forward a plan for Brexit?

WALKER: Yes, Bianca, it has all been about Brexit. Really that has consumed her entire time and power. I remember being in Downing Street when she arrived to walk into the door of Number 10 as prime minister and she made that speech about her determination to tackle the burning injustices of the country and govern for everyone. Since then, she has been able to do almost nothing to deliver on those

promises. She has from time to time returned to those themes but people increasingly looked around and said, what has she done to deliver that?

The reason for that is that this Brexit process has consumed so much of the government's energies. Theresa May, of course, went to the country in 2017, an election she didn't need to call. She hoped to get a bigger majority to drive her Brexit plan through. That failed disastrously.

She was then reliant on the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland to get her legislation through. They have been very unhappy about the elements of the deal she has arranged with the European Union.

Really, we have been in deadlock for weeks and months. We have seen the prime minister go down to two of the biggest defeats ever in U.K. parliamentary history on her deal. Then to a third defeat.

And there were all the signs in place that this latest effort to tweak that deal and the arrangements she put in place to try to get opposition MPs to vote for the deal by offering the option of the second referendum, offering them the option of closer customs ties, all that did was absolutely infuriate many of her Conservative MPs, some of those who voted for it and on the last occasion it was brought to the Commons made it clear they would not vote for it again.

And really the prime minister simply had run out of road. There always comes a moment, Bianca, for prime ministers, when the writing is on the wall and they simply have to accept it is the moment to bow out. Theresa May appears to have reached that.

We do wait to hear from her. She has surprised us before, when there has been expectation rising she would stand down, and she has continued to cling to power. Earlier this week, she was refusing even to see senior ministers trying to come and talk to her.

All of the indications are we have to wait for Theresa May to walk out of that door of Number 10 Downing Street and set out the timetable for her departure, which will, of course, trigger the formal starting gun for the leadership contest to replace her, which has been going on behind the scenes for weeks now.


NOBILO: Carole, quickly if I may, you have been following this thoroughly and you mentioned the fact the prime minister has to acknowledge there is no more road left.

Is there a moment from which you thought her departure is inevitable?

Do you think that was one of the big votes or one of the things after the election and she has been on borrowed time?

What is your assessment? WALKER: Look, there's been a whole series of events. Those catastrophic defeats which I mentioned which dealt her huge blows to her authority.

I listened to the prime minister's speech on Tuesday night before she addressed Parliament on Wednesday, where she spelled out this big, bold offer. You could just see all the ingredients there for her to further enrage her own party and the fact it would never been enough for Labour MPs.

It seemed clear then she would never get it through. We then had Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the house, the 36th resignation from her government. I think that tells you something how unstable it has been.

But I think from the moment she cast what was clear, that it was her final throw of the dice, that it was simply never going to work. That really was the tipping point. Of course, you have to remember that for Conservative MPs, this comes against the backdrop of the European elections.

Yesterday, the British public, along with those across the E.U., went to the polls. Some voting over the next couple days. We don't have the votes counted yet.

But it looks like Nigel Farage, Brexit Party, is down for a thumping victory when we get the votes overnight on Sunday. Tory MPs were aware of that. They made up their minds they need a new leader and as fast as possible.

NOBILO: Carole Walker, thank you.

I'll bring in Joey Jones now, a former spokesperson for Theresa May.

You were the first to tell me the podium is out. The sound equipment is out.

How soon will she be speaking?

I know you know this, what kind of things are going through a prime minister's head at a moment like this?

JONES: So I would -- I find myself weirdly nervous and apprehensive on her behalf actually at the moment. This is huge. And assuming that she's not coming out to say nothing has changed, which would not go down well, I can't imagine how difficult it must be for her to come out and lay out a timeframe for her resignation means, across nearly three years at Downing Street, she is coming up empty.

The realization of that -- and I hope that it doesn't crowd in on her right now and I hope she takes time to think about it later on rather than in the immediate focus, where you need that tunnel vision of getting everything together for a moment like this -- it will be crushing to consider that all those high hopes with which she went in to Downing Street have been left as rubble, really. NOBILO: This speech she is about to give is about more than her personally. That must be going through her mind. Speaking to you and other people who have worked with her and know her well, she clearly has the sense of duty and patriotism and trying to do whatever she thinks is in the national interest.

So when she makes the speech, she has to be thinking about where that puts the future of the party, where that puts Brexit.

JONES: You would like to think so. Yes, to be honest, as we looked at all of the posturing and contest of leadership and personality politics play out and as we will see over the coming weeks and months as well, one wonders whether people have considered if this is bigger than their own personal ambition.

At times, it has been possible even for friends of Theresa May to consider the image coming from her actions has veered toward suggesting she might want to stay at Downing Street for the sake of it because it is bigger than personalities.

It is highly likely whoever comes in next will find it just as challenging as she has. That's not always the way that it has felt like in Westminster over the past few months. And it certainly won't during a leadership campaign.

NOBILO: Thank you, Joey. We'll be back with you in about five seconds.