Theresa May risks Tory revolt by refusing calls to step aside
Theresa May is risking a rebellion in her own party by resisting growing calls to step down as Prime Minister earlier than initially planned.
A Downing Street spokesperson said today Mrs May still intends to stay in post until she has managed to get her Brexit deal through Parliament.
The spokesperson said: “She is here to deliver Brexit in phase one, and then she will leave and make way for new leadership in phase two.”
It comes as Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, called on Mrs May to resign during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday over her handling of Brexit.
Brexit-backing Ms Jenkyns told Mrs May that she had "failed" in EU withdrawal negotiations and forfeited the trust of the public.
She said: "She's tried her best, nobody could fault or doubt her commitment and sense of duty, but she has failed.
"The public no longer trust her to run Brexit negotiations. Isn't it time to step aside and let someone else lead our country, our party and the Brexit negotiations?"
Mrs May retorted: "This is not an issue about me and it's not an issue about her. If it were an issue about me and the way I vote, we would already have left the European Union."
The full-frontal assault at Prime Minister's Questions came as pressure increased on Mrs May to name a date for her departure as cross-party Brexit talks with Labour dragged on without a conclusion.
Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom has said she is "seriously considering" standing for the Conservative leadership.
Ms Leadsom, who stood for the leadership in 2016 but pulled out to give Mrs May a clear run at the job, became the latest senior Tory to indicate she may throw her hat into the ring for the upcoming contest.
The Leader of the Commons said: "I've supported her for the last three years to get Brexit over the line. She has said she's going, so yes I am seriously considering standing."
Speaking at PMQs in the Commons shortly afterwards, Morley and Outwood MP Ms Jenkyns told MPs it was time for Mrs May to quit.
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What has Theresa May said about stepping down?
The Prime Minister promised in March to quit as Tory leader when the first phase of Brexit negotiations, dealing with divorce terms, is complete.
But she is resisting calls from the backbench 1922 Committee for "clarity" on her plans if her Withdrawal Agreement fails to get through the Commons.
And with her effective deputy David Lidington suggesting he hopes the deal can be concluded by July, there is speculation she may seek to hang on until the annual party conference in the autumn.
Mrs May has repeatedly said a general election would not be in the best interests of the country and following last week’s local elections it is unlikely she would have the support of the party should she wish to make a u-turn on her position.