The Prime Minister made the announcement to party colleagues as MPs voted against all eight possible options for a Brexit model.

“I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party. I know there is a desire for a new approach, and new leadership, in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that,” May said.

“I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.”

May’s comments came just a day after her aides had floated the idea of her quitting to secure support for her Brexit plan.

Brexiteers within the government have called on May to nominate a specific date for her departure.

Parliament casts indicative votes on Brexit options

In all, eight options were put to parliament for indicative votes. The two that got closest to finding favour were:

  • Motion J – Customs Union
  • This option would involve negotiating a “permanent and comprehensive Uk-wide customs union with the EU” in the exit. It failed 264-272

  • Motion M – Confirmatory public vote
  • Under this motion, the UK could not ratify any form of Brexit “unless and until they have been approved by the people of the UK in a confirmatory public ballot.” It failed 268-295.

    Other motions, including cancelling Brexit altogether, moving forward with a no-deal Brexit or leaving and then seeking preferential terms in trade agreements from the EU, were soundly defeated.

    Parliament is now likely to sit on Friday to vote on May’s Brexit plan for a third time.

    Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has said it will not support May’s Brexit deal because it objects to a provision which will keep an open border between Ireland (an EU member) and post-Brexit Northern Ireland. May has relied on the support of the DUP since she called a snap election in an attempt to shore up support for Brexit, but actually lost 13 seats.

    Who will lead the UK after May’s exit?

    Bookmakers have installed Michael Gove as the favourite to take over the leadership from May, ahead of Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and Sajid David.

    Gove is currently serving as Environment Minister. Polling showed he only had limited support from Tory voters; 30% thought he would make a good Prime Minister and 45% disagreed.

    Earlier this week, he had urged colleagues to ensure the UK leaves the EU “in an orderly fashion”.

    “As many people as possible (need to) recognise that that means supporting the prime minister and making sure she gets the deal through.”

    May has been Prime Minister for almost three years, after taking over the role from David Cameron. She began the process of withdrawing the UK from the EU in March 2017.

    Header image credit: Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916