Thu, 20 Jun 2019

Britain's May Will Step Down Before Next Election

Voice of America
14 Dec 2018, 01:05 GMT+10

British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed she will step down before the next election, scheduled for 2022.

Her comments come ahead of talks in Brussels where she is seeking concessions in the unpopular agreement to withdraw Britain from the European Union after she survived a no-confidence vote.

May is meeting with EU leaders for the second time this week in order to try to save the Brexit deal after she halted a House of Commons vote that was widely expected to result in a rejection of the agreement.

So far, European leaders have expressed a desire to help Britain in some way, but have also made it clear they do not intend to renegotiate the terms the two sides worked out over the course of months of discussions.

EU leaders are meeting Thursday and Friday for a summit, and European Council President Donald Tusk said they will listen to May's assessment of the situation before holding talks without her to 'discuss the matter and adopt relevant conclusions.'

'As time is running out, we will also discuss the state of preparations for a no-deal scenario,' he said, citing the prospect the March divorce date arrives with no terms in place.

Leadership challenge averted

May's Conservative Party voted 200-117 Wednesday to keep her in power and prevent another leadership challenge for a year.

In a closed meeting with Conservative lawmakers before the vote began, May said she would step down as Britain's leader before the anticipated 2022 election, a move that might have helped win over some lawmakers who were undecided going into the secret ballot.

Ian Lavery, chair of the main opposition Labour Party, said in a statement that 'May's weakness and failure has completely immobilized the government at this critical time for the country.'

Brexit looms

It remains unclear if the vote will help her win the required support from Parliament for the Brexit deal.

Britain is due to exit the EU on March 29, 2019, as a result of a 2016 referendum.

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