Desperate to get her Brexit deal passed, British Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed to resign as long as her plan is endorsed by Parliament, which has already twice rejected it.
MAY: “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to secure a smooth and orderly Brexit.”
May wants to put it to a third vote this week and if it finally passes, she will step down ahead of the next round of negotiations.
“I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to secure a smooth and orderly Brexit,” she told her MPs.
One MP inside the meeting told Business Insider that May had “said she was going to go earlier than intended as long as the withdrawal agreement is passed.”
Another added that the prime minister had: “said she would not remain in post for the next phase of negotiations.”
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 realize.
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” program, 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.