Theresa May has said she will step down once Brexit has happened. Speaking to Tory MPs, the Prime Minister said she would not remain in post for the next phase of negotiations with the European Union. May told a meeting of the 1922 committee this evening: 'I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to secure a smooth and orderly Brexit'. But the PM stopped short of naming a date for her departure. May had previously said that she would not lead the party into the next general election. The latest announcement on her future is an attempt to win over rebel Tory MPs into backing her Brexit deal. Here is what May told MPs:
“This has been a testing time for our country and our party. We’re nearly there. We’re almost ready to start a new chapter and build that brighter future. But before we can do that, we have to finish the job in hand. As I say, I don’t tour the bars and engage in the gossip – but I do make time to speak to colleagues, and I have a great team in the Whips' Office. I also have two excellent PPSs.
And I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party. I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that.
I know some people are worried that if you vote for the Withdrawal Agreement, I will take that as a mandate to rush on into phase two without the debate we need to have. I won’t – I hear what you are saying. But we need to get the deal through and deliver Brexit.
I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.
I ask everyone in this room to back the deal so we can complete our historic duty – to deliver on the decision of the British people and leave the European Union with a smooth and orderly exit.”