Theresa May refuses to rule out quitting as Prime Minister if her Brexit deal falls

Posted On: 
23rd November 2018

Theresa May has refused to rule out resigning as Prime Minister if MPs reject her Brexit deal.

Theresa May was being grilled in a radio phone-in.
Credit: 
BBC

The Prime Minister would only say it was "not about me" as she was grilled in a radio phone-in.

The House of Commons will next month vote on the withdrawal agreement she has struck with Brussels, and all the indications are that it will be rejected.

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Appearing on Radio 5Live's Emma Barnett Show, Mrs May was repeatedly asked if that would lead to her resignation.

On the first occasion, she said: "I'm focused on actually ensuring we do get this deal through parliament. I believe this is absolutely the right deal for the UK."

Asked again whether she could quit, Mrs May replied: "As I'm sitting here I'm not thinking about me. I'm thinking about getting a deal through that delivers for the people of this country."

After being asked a third time, the Prime Minister said: "My focus is on getting this deal through."

Her remarks pile fresh pressure on Tory rebels to row in behind her or risk the turmoil of a leadership election in the run-up to Brexit next March.

DIFFERENT

Elsewhere in the interview, Mrs May repeatedly refused to say whether leaving the EU under her deal will be better for the UK than remaining a member.

The Prime Minister said life after Brexit would be "different", but insisted the UK did have a "bright future".

Asked by a caller if the withdrawal agreement was better than the terms of Britain's EU membership, Mrs May said: "I honestly believe that I'm getting a good deal for the UK and I recognise that there were aspects of being in the European Union that caused people real concern and free movement was one of those.

"When I gave a speech at the beginning of the referendum campaign when I explained why I was coming out for Remain - I wasn't one of those who said if we leave the European Union it will be really bad for the UK, I actually said the sky won't fall in.

"It will be a different world for us outside the European Union, but it will be a good one and I believe we can really build on what we're doing. One of those is the trade partnerships we can develop around the rest of the world. I genuinely believe there is a bright future for this country and our best days lie ahead of us."

After being accused of dodging the question, Mrs May was asked again.

She said: "I think we will be better off in a situation which we'll have outside the European Union where we have control of all those things and are able to trade around the rest of the world.

"You say 'are we better off", actually it's a different sort of environment and a different approach that we'll be taking to things. What will make us better off is not so much whether we're in the EU or not, it's about what we can do for our economy."

Asked a third time, the Prime Minister replied: "It's going to be different and I believe we can build a better future outside the EU."

RAAB

Her comments came after former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said staying in the EU would be better than leaving under Mrs May's deal.

He told Radio 4's Today programme: "I’m not going to advocate staying in the EU. But, if you just presented me the terms, this deal or EU membership, because we would effectively be bound by the same rules but without the control or voice over them, yes, I think this would be even worse than that.”