Theresa May has assured Tory MPs she’ll stand down if they back her EU withdrawal bargain.
She advised backbench Tories:”I am ready to leave this job sooner than I intended to be able to do what is right for our country and our party.”
The PM said she understood that Tory MPs did not want her to direct the next stage of Brexit negotiations”and I will not stand in the way of the”.
She didn’t name a death date at a crowded meeting of the 1922 committee.
It comes as MPs seize control of the Commons program to hold votes on options to the deal.
MPs debate Brexit options before votes
LIVE: MPs debate way ahead on Brexit
Mrs May told the 300 or so Tory MPs at the meeting”we will need to find the deal through and provide Brexit”.
“I ask everyone in this room to rear 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”
Speaking after the 1922 committee meeting, Tory MP James Cartlidge said:”My recollection is that she said she would not stay in post for the next phase of the negotiations, the implication being that once the withdrawal arrangement has passed, she’d make way for someone else.”
Mrs May’s critics don’t want her to be still accountable for another phase of Brexit talks, even if both sides hammer out what kind of trading relationship they will have – if her bargain is passed by Parliament.
The PM has stated she wishes to bring back the deal to the Commons this week, after it was previously rejected twice, by big margins.
Speaker calls for changes
Commons Speaker John Bercow ruled last week that the government could not return for a third effort, unless there was”large” changes to the suggestions.
And he warned ministers earlier that they should”not seek to bypass my ruling” by introducing processes that could undo his conclusion.
But a Downing Street spokesman said that there was a”significant development” at the summit in Brussels last week, after Mrs May consented”extra reassurances” within the Irish backstop with the EU, and also the date of exit had changed.
Most Tory Brexiteers are looking to the Democratic Unionist Party, who have led resistance to the PM’s deal, before deciding whether to get behind it.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chairman of the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers, told the BBC:”I believe that we have got to the point where lawfully leaving is far better than not leaving in any way.
“Half a loaf is better than no bread.”
He said his only condition for supporting the deal was that Mrs May wins round the DUP.
“I won’t abandon the DUP since I believe they are the guardians of the marriage of the uk,” he explained.