Theresa May: I will quit once my Brexit deal is passed

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
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Theresa May has vowed to step down if her Brexit is passed by the Commons.

The Prime Minister made the announcement as she addressed her MPs at an emotionally charged meeting of the backbench 1922 committee.

At the gathering, she indicated that she will not remain in post for the next phase of Brexit negotiations and was prepared to quit if her Withdrawal Agreement is passed.

MPs leaving the meeting also suggested that the Government plans to press ahead with a third “meaningful vote” on Friday, despite the Speaker John Bercow earlier hinting that could he could block any moves to bring the deal back to the House again.

Appealing to colleagues to get behind her Brexit deal, Mrs May said: “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.”

Speaking outside the meeting, Tory MP Simon Hart said: “She made it very clear. She said I want the next Prime Minister to be one of the colleagues in here tonight… and in order to do that I want an orderly handover and we have a duty to get this thing over the line.”

On whether Mr Bercow would be able to prevent a third “meaningful vote”, he said: “There seems to be a general presumption by the way that it can be brought back.

“There isn’t much concern within Government that the Speaker will be able to prevent that.”

Mr Hart added that although Mrs May had not set a date for her departure, “it sounded to me like it was reasonably soon.”

Earlier, the Prime Minister moved to prevent possible ministerial resignations by allowing Conservative MPs a free vote on a series of indicative votes set to take place tonight.

But the Prime Minister herself, along with her Cabinet ministers, will abstain during the votes, whips have since indicated.