- Theresa May has told MPs she will step down before the next general election in 2022, multiple sources tell Business Insider.
- She told colleagues on Wednesday that “it’s not her intention to go into the election in 2022,” one MP tells Business Insider.
- The prime minister’s future will be decided on Wednesday evening when Tory MPs take part in a vote of no confidence.
- May’s supporters have been urging her to rule out standing for election again.
LONDON – Theresa May has told MPs that she will resign before the next election as she attempts to shore up her support ahead of an imminent vote on her leadership.
MPs loyal to the prime minister have advised her to set a departure date or face defeat in this evening’s vote, with many of her opponents likely to be appeased if she agrees to rule out fighting another election.
According to multiple sources, May told colleagues in a 1922 Committee meeting of Conservative MPs that she would not lead the party into the next general election in 2022.
According to one Tory MP, May told colleagues: “In my heart, I would like to lead the party into the next election but I accept that won’t happen.”
Another Tory MP told Business Insider that May said “it’s not her intention to go into the election in 2022” and that she “was not going to call a snap election.”
The comments are an apparent attempt to persuade MPs not to support tonight’s no-confidence vote in the expectation that she will stand down after Britain has left the EU.
Downing Street also dropped heavy hints that Theresa May would not lead the party into a general election in a briefing to journalists earlier in the day.
A spokesman for the prime minister said: “This vote isn’t about who leads us into the next general election.”
“It is about whether it is sensible to change leader at this point in Brexit negotiations.”
He added: “She believes it’s her duty to serve as long as her party wants her to.”
May faces a confidence vote
On Wednesday evening, Conservative MPs will vote on whether she should stand down as leader of the party.
Conservative MPs will decide whether to depose Theresa May as party leader after at least 48 said they had no confidence in her. She requires 158 votes to survive, though winning by a small margin could still compel her to resign.
The prime minister will address her party at 5.00 PM GMT before a vote takes place an hour later. The result is expected at around 9.00 PM GMT.
If the no-confidence vote passes May will have to resign as leader ahead of a full leadership contest for her successor.
The prime minister vowed on Wednesday morning to fight the contest with “everything I have got” and warned that removing her as prime minister could result in Brexit being cancelled or delayed.
May’s supporters told Business Insider that they expected her to survive tonight’s vote easily.
“I don’t think it will be close,” one loyalist told BI.
However, they added that the result will be “damaging” if large numbers of Conservative MPs support the no-confidence vote.
There was also widespread anger among ministers about the way she was being treated by Tory rebels.
“I am so angry about what they are doing, I cannot tell you,” one supportive minister told BI.
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