Theresa May to Conservative MPs: I’m ‘prepared to leave’ if you back my Brexit deal
Tory MP James Cartlidge told media that May confirmed she would “not remain in post for the next phase of the negotiations” with the European Union and would leave as soon as her Brexit deal has been passed.
Asking MPs to back her troubled deal and complete their “historic duty,” May told colleagues that she is prepared to step down earlier than intended “in order to do what is right for our country and our party,” Downing Street then said in a statement with extracts of PM’s speech.
Theresa May: I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party pic.twitter.com/NzBsEv01WX— Richard Woodward (@WoodwardRJ) March 27, 2019
May said the Brexit process had been a "testing time" for the country and that she had "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
May said she knew some MPs were worried that if they voted for her deal, she would use it as a mandate to continue on, but assured them she would not do that.
May told lawmakers she wanted an orderly handover to a new Tory prime minister, but gave no date for her departure. Some reports are suggesting the PM will be gone by “summer” while others said she would go “reasonably soon.”
Classic Theresa May words. Doesn’t quite spit it out or even really say when she might actually go. “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended” pic.twitter.com/yNZARlcpO9— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) March 27, 2019
The move appears to be somewhat of a turnaround for May, who on Monday told the House of Commons that she understood there was "still not sufficient support" for the deal – but her promise to resign if it goes through appears to be last-ditch effort.
Staunch Brexiteers reacted with anger to May's move online, with some accusing her of "blackmailing" them into supporting her widely disliked deal.
theresa may is now blackmailing us into supporting her deal, or else she'll never leave us... this is genuinely resembling an abusive relationship at this point— noah 🇳🇱🇮🇸 (@inabigarcade) March 27, 2019
BREAKING: British Prime Minister @theresa_may says she’ll resign if her terrible Brexit withdrawal deal is passed. In other words, it’s SO bad she has to fire herself to get it through. Her humiliation, and the country’s humiliation, is complete.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 27, 2019
What a pitiful fiasco.
May won plaudits from some colleagues, however, with Tory MP George Freeman calling it "the best speech she’s ever given” and praising her "incredible dignity."
Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would back the PM's withdrawal deal if the Northern Irish DUP party abstained, telling reporters that if the DUP was still against the deal he would "not feel able to back it."
“It was the best speech she’s ever given” says @GeorgeFreemanMP “Showed incredible dignity”— Carl Dinnen (@carldinnen) March 27, 2019
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said May's offer to step down in exchange for support on her deal shows that her Brexit strategy was "about party management" and "not principles or the public interest."
"A change of government can't be a Tory stitch-up, the people must decide," he said.
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