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Theresa May to quit as Prime Minister if MPs back her Brexit deal

 

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Theresa May leaves Downing Street

Theresa May leaves Downing Street

AFP/Getty Images

Theresa May leaves Downing Street

The Prime Minister has told Conservative MPs she will quit if they back her withdrawal agreement, according to one member of her party.

Theresa May addressed her party's 1922 Committee on Wednesday afternoon ahead of a series on votes in the Commons indicating what type of Brexit MPs prefer.

Downing Street released a partial text of what the Prime Minister said.

"I know the 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," she said.

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 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 with 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."

She added: "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."

 

Earlier, Mrs May moved to prevent possible ministerial resignations by allowing Conservative MPs a free vote on the indicative votes.

But the Prime Minister herself, along with her Cabinet ministers, will abstain in the "indicative votes", whips have indicated.

It has been reported a potential Tory leadership contest would begin the day after leaving the EU. That would be May 22, if the third meaningful vote is passed. Theresa May will stay in her position until a new leader is appointed.

On leaving the 1922 meeting Tory MP James Cartlidge said: "My recollection is that she said she would not remain in post for the next phase of the negotiations, the implication being that once the Withdrawal Agreement has passed, she would make way for someone else."

Tory MP Simon Hart said the mood in the 1922 meeting was "respectful" as the PM set out her plan and she did not give a specific date for her departure.

He said: "She was passionate about getting the deal through, passionate about keeping the party together and passionate about keeping the Government as the Government, passionate about keeping Jeremy Corbyn out of Number 10."

Despite the nature of the meeting, Mr Hart joked that "neither the Chief Whip nor the PM were crying".

There was applause and more banging of tables as the PM left the meeting - as is tradition.

Belfast Telegraph