Theresa May Fires Starting Pistol for Next Tory Leadership Race
(Bloomberg) -- Theresa May has for the first time publicly conceded her days are numbered as U.K. prime minister.
“In my heart, I’d love to lead the Conservative Party to the next general election,” she said as she arrived for a European summit in Brussels. “But I think it’s right that the party feels it would prefer to go into that election with a new leader.”
The fact itself is not new. May conceded to colleagues on Wednesday that she knows they want someone else in charge for the next national vote -- currently due in 2022. Her promise to stand down helped win a formal confidence vote later that day which threatened to oust her.
But the premier has now put her pledge to quit on record, and on camera, when previously it had only been reported second-hand. Why does this matter? Because everyone now knows there’s a vacancy coming up for the top job in British politics -- and rival Conservatives will be stepping up their campaigns to take it.
It’s likely the issue will color the way senior Tories handle the unfolding question of how best to deal with Brexit.
Calculations over how a particular stance will play out with members of Parliament and party members -- who will elect a new leader -- are almost certain to influence the positions rival candidates take as May tries to get her Brexit deal “over the line.” That’s already a vexed issue, with Parliament and her party divided over the best way forward.
The promise that helped May save her job has made it even harder to do.
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