British Prime Minister Theresa May told Conservative lawmakers Wednesday that she will step down once the UK's exit from the European Union is delivered—a dramatic concession meant to bring enough of her colleagues on board to push her deal over the line. May told a party meeting of legislators that she was aware of a desire for a new approach—and new leadership—in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations, reports the AP. "I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party," she said, according to a transcript released by her office. "I ask everyone in this room to back the deal so we can complete our historic duty—to deliver on the decision of the British people and leave the European Union with a smooth and orderly exit."
- May has been under mounting pressure from pro-Brexit members of her Conservative Party to quit. Several have said they would support the withdrawal deal if another leader was chosen to lead the next stage of negotiations, which will determine Britain's future relations with the EU.
- In a packed meeting described by participants as "somber," May finally conceded she would have to go, although she did not set a departure date.
- May's announcement came as British lawmakers debated multiple options for leaving the EU; House of Commons Speaker John Bercow selected eight widely differing options for votes from a list of 16 submitted by lawmakers. They include calls to leave the EU without a deal, to put any EU divorce deal to a public referendum, and to cancel Brexit if the prospect of a no-deal departure gets close.
- Later in the day, lawmakers will vote on all of the options they could accept. The plan is for the most popular ideas to move to a second vote Monday to find one option that can command a majority. Parliament would then instruct the government to negotiate it with the EU.
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