Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to win a vote of no confidence triggered by angry Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party on Wednesday, but said she would step down as leader before the next election in four years time.
Less than four months before the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29, Britain’s exit is in chaos with options ranging from a potentially disorderly no-deal departure to another referendum that could reverse it.
May said she would fight for her job with everything she had. But at a closed meeting with Conservative lawmakers before they were due to decide her fate, she announced she would not take the party into the next election due in 2022, two lawmakers present told reporters.
“She said that she did not intend to lead us into the 2022 election,” lawmaker Alec Shelbrooke said, adding “her opening remarks were, ‘I am not going to hold a snap election’.”
Lawmakers said she told them she recognised that the party did not want her to lead them into the next election, a gesture that could help her win over some wavering MPs on Wednesday evening.
May could be toppled if a simple majority of 317 Conservative MPs (members of parliament) vote against her, though a large rebellion could also leave her fatally weakened. At least 189 indicated public support for her and one bookmaker had the odds she would win at 89 percent.