SUNDAY TIMES WEB DESK:Following months of pressure, May told her Conservative MPs that she would quit if they see through the withdrawal agreement she painstakingly negotiated with Brussels.

Her dramatic gambit came just two hours before MPs start a flurry of votes seeking a last-minute alternative Brexit plan to replace her deal.

May said she would not lead the country in negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union once Britain is out of the bloc.

“This has been a testing time for our country and our party. We’re nearly there,” May told the packed closed-door meeting in parliament, according to her Downing Street office.

“I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations and I won’t stand in the way of that.

“But we need to get the deal through and deliver Brexit. I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.

“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.”