It has emerged this evening say that Theresa May has told Tory MPs that she will step aside as Prime Minister after she has delivered Brexit.
Mrs May has told Tory MPs “she would not remain in post for the next phase of the negotiations”, MP James Cartlidge said as he left a meeting of the 1922 Committee in Westminster.
Mr Cartlidge continued: “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.”
According to reports, she laid out a timetable for her departure as she addressed Conservative backbenchers this evening.
MPs will tonight be asked to consider a range of eight alternative Brexit options after Parliament seized control of the Commons agenda to force a series of “indicative votes”.
Mrs May told Conservative MPs she “will not stand in the way” of the party having new leadership for the second phase of Brexit negotiations, telling the 1922 Committee: “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.”
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”.
According to excerpts released by Downing Street, Mrs May told the 1922 Committee: “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.
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.”