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Theresa May says she will resign as prime minister if MPs back her Brexit deal

Theresa May says she will resign as prime minister if MPs back her Brexit deal

Business Insider

  • Theresa May confirms that she will stand down as prime minister once she has delivered Brexit.
  • The prime minister tells a meeting of Conservative MPs that she will stand down once she has ratified a deal and Britain has left the EU.
  • May had previously committed to resigning before the next general election in 2022 but had resisted calls to spell out when.
  • The prime minister’s decision to set out her resignation plans came after Conservative MPs indicated they would back her deal if she agreed to leave Downing Street.

LONDON — Theresa May has told Conservative Members of Parliament that she will resign as party leader and prime minister once Britain has left the EU.

The prime minister told a meeting of the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs that she would not lead the next stage of negotiations on Britain’s future relationship with the EU, MPs within the meeting told Business Insider.

Last December May told her party that she would not lead them into the next general election. However, she has previously resisted setting out the date of her departure, insisting that she still had an agenda beyond Brexit which she wanted to realise.

Her decision to explicitly set out her departure plans came after significant numbers of Conservative MPs who had previously voted against her deal, indicated that they would be willing to change their minds as long as she made it clear she would depart before the next stage of negotiations with the EU began.

Several Brexiteers who opposed May’s deal, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, indicated this week that they are now likely to back the prime minister’s deal, but others, including Boris Johnson, indicated they would be more likely to if she set a date for her departure.

The former foreign secretary said at a Telegraph event on Tuesday that he needed “to see that the second phase of the negotiations will be different from the first,” which was widely interpreted as a signal to urge the prime minister to set out her resignation date.

Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, also refused to back the prime minister staying on in the event that she secures her deal.

“I am fully supporting the prime minister to get us out of the EU,” the cabinet minister told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme, adding that whether she stayed after “was a matter for her.”

Two of Britain’s most-read newspapers, the Times and The Sun, have also in the past week called on May to stand down.

The announcement came as MPs prepared on Wednesday to take part in a series of “indicative votes” which could force the government to dramatically change course on Brexit.

Options due to be voted on this evening include a softer Brexit, revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit and holding a second referendum.

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain’s departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider’s political reporters. Join here.

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