British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced she will step down as the leader of the United Kingdom if her Brexit deal finally secures a majority in Parliament, allowing a successor to take the lead on future negotiations with the European Union.
“I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our party and country,” she said at a meeting of a powerful lobby of Conservative lawmakers known as the “1922 Committee,” according to media reports.
One attendee of the meeting, Conservative lawmaker James Cartlidge, told BBC News that May was not prepared to stay on and negotiate the U.K.’s future relationship with Europe.
“My recollection is that she said she would not remain in the post for the next phase of negotiations, the implication being that once the Withdrawal Agreement has passed, she would make way for someone else.”
British lawmakers have twice already refused to sign off on May’s Brexit “Withdrawal Deal” and the first rejection marked the biggest U.K. Parliament defeat in modern political history. It’s expected she will attempt to bring a third vote to Parliament in the coming days.
May’s timetabled departure is seen as key for securing a switch in votes from the right-wing euroskeptic element in her party who want a different leader to take the reins for the next stage of negotiations with Europe.
Heavy jostling between Brexit-supporting Conservative lawmakers to become Britain’s next prime minister is now predicted.
The leadership battle comes at a time of massive political uncertainty for the U.K., as Westminster continues to wrestle with the result of the June 2016 Brexit referendum which saw the British public vote to leave the European union.