U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that she will not lead her Conservative Party into the 2022 general election after surviving a no-confidence vote by her own lawmakers over her proposed Brexit deal.
May won the no-confidence challenge Dec. 12, but 117 Conservatives voted against her, indicating a further weakening in support after she postponed a scheduled parliamentary vote on her draft Brexit pact with the EU.
"I said that, in my heart, I would love to be able to lead the Conservative party into the next general election, but I think it is right that the party feels that it would prefer to go into that election with a new leader," May said as she arrived at an EU summit in Brussels, the Financial Times reported.
May said her focus now is to secure more assurances from the EU that are needed to ease U.K. lawmakers' concerns over the withdrawal agreement, particularly on the proposed backstop solution to avoid the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
"I don't expect an immediate breakthrough, but what I do hope is that we can start to work as quickly as possible on the assurances that are necessary," May said, as quoted by the Agence France-Presse.
A draft EU summit statement would declare that the planned Irish border backstop would just be temporary and only last for "as long as is strictly necessary" according to the FT and AFP reports.