Theresa May's time in Downing Street is drawing to a close. Whether she likes it or not, the UK prime minister is unlikely to be in office by this time next year. But no one in Westminster is quite sure when she will leave, and the various scenarios chime with the changing seasons.
It's springtime in London, but there's no fresh start for Mrs May. She could find herself gone within weeks. Conservative MPs are furious with the prime minister's six-month Brexit delay and want her out. There is no formal mechanism, however, to remove her except political pressure. The crunch point might come after England's local elections on May the 2nd, when her party is expected to do rather badly.
Then, there's the European Parliament elections later that month, which Mrs May absolutely does not want to fight. If the PM can't get a Brexit deal through parliament by then, heavy defeats in both votes could see her fall to the laws of political gravity. And she could be forced out by her cabinet and colleagues.
But things might look a little brighter by the summer. Talks with the Labour party could yield an unexpected compromise. Or maybe her Conservative colleagues will finally accept her Brexit deal. If the prime minister does yield a breakthrough, that means no European Parliament elections, and the UK would leave the EU on June the 1st.
However, Mrs May promised her MPs that if a deal was passed, she would resign. And colleagues are likely to push her towards the exit door. After a final tour of the globe to see the world leaders at a G20 summit in the sun, Mrs May could hand in her notice when the contest to choose her successor would commence.
Passing a Brexit deal might go so well for Mrs May that she reaps some rewards. She could receive a bounce in the opinion polls. The economy might grow faster, and the bickering in her party might subside.
In this instance, the prime minister could hope to hang on a little longer, despite the weather. The prime minister could secure a legacy by holding a cabinet reshuffle, promoting ministers who've helped her with Brexit and sacking the ones who have not. Then there's the spending review, where Mrs May could allocate money for the next five years. And when it's time for her party's annual conference in the chilly October, the leaves will be falling from the trees, and Mrs May could decide it's time to leave office.
If Mrs May has delivered Brexit or not by the end of the year, December the 12th is a crucial day. That's the year anniversary of when MPs last tried to remove her. If the prime minister hasn't stepped down by then, relations with her party will be rather frosty. And another leadership challenge is very likely. Winter is certainly coming.