British PM says she will resign before next election

Saturday, 15 Dec, 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May told EU leaders Thursday that she could get her Brexit deal through parliament if they gave her the right assurances that it would not "trap" Britain in an indefinite customs union.

"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".

May arrived in Brussels wounded by a confidence vote in her party on Wednesday night, which she won but in which more than one-third of her MPs voted against her.

He is expected to say: "Europe should prepare for the possibility now morphing into the near probability that Britain will require an extension of time to the Article 50 process, either to negotiate further or more likely to conduct a new referendum".

But European sources said the atmosphere in the room was tense, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders repeatedly interrupting May to ask exactly what she wanted.

"What they [EU leaders] will probably do is again repeat that their intention and desire is to work towards arrangements which obviate the need for the backstop", Agata Gostynska-Jakubowska, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, said.

But he said that it might be possible to "provide a little better explanation or definition or go into detail" on the provisions of the agreement.

Brexit-backing Tory MP Mark Francois told the BBC it was "devastating" that more than half of backbenchers not serving in the government had abandoned the prime minister.

She is attending an EU summit two days after being rebuffed during a tour of European capitals on Tuesday after she controversially abandoned a Commons vote on her Brexit deal.

May's confidence vote victory made her immune from a further challenge in her party for a year.

Liam Fox, the worldwide trade minister, said Thursday the Cabinet could block May from bringing her exit withdrawal deal before the House of Commons next month and that it might insist Britain's scheduled departure date of March 29 be moved back several months to provide time for a fresh approach.

He called on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to "come off the fence" and back another public vote on Brexit.

Sir Graham Brady, center, chairman of the 1922 Committee, announces that Theresa May has survived an attempt by Tory MPs to oust her as party leader at the Houses of Parliament in London, Dec. 12, 2018. The government tried to unilaterally pull that and deny this house the chance of a vote on this crucial matter.

But while an early draft of the summit conclusions had said the European Union "stands ready to examine whether any further assurances can be provided" on the backstop, this was removed from the final published version. "There is no time to waste, and parliament must take back control".

'So we would like, within a few weeks, our United Kingdom friends to set out their expectations for us because this debate is sometimes nebulous and imprecise and I would like clarifications'. "So that is our position, that is what we have put on the table and now we expect Great Britain to respond".

But he said the DUP would not support a no-confidence motion in Parliament at this stage.