Theresa May has vowed to fight on – warning of ‘consequences’ if she is forced out of the job before Brexit.
May acknowledged the agreement had involved ‘difficult and sometimes uncomfortable decisions’.
‘I understand fully that there are some who are unhappy with those compromises but this deal delivers what people voted for and it is in the national interest,’ she said.
‘We can only secure it if we unite behind the agreement reached in Cabinet yesterday.
The prime minister warned that there would be ‘deep and grave uncertainity’ if her Brexit plan was scuppered, and said she had made it her mission to deliver Brexit for the British people.
‘If we do not move forward with that agreement nobody can know for sure the consequences that will follow.’
‘From the very beginning I have known what I wanted to deliver for the British people to honour their vote in the referendum.’
Her speech appeared to echo the turbulent ‘nothing has changed’ briefing given during the general election campaign in 2017 shortly after she had performed a u-turn on her social care policy.
Asked if she would contest a confidence vote and carry on as prime minister if she won by a single vote, May said: ‘Leadership is about taking the right decisions, not the easy ones.
‘As prime minister my job is to bring back a deal that delivers on the vote of the British people, that does that by ending free movement, all the things I raised in my statement, ending free movement, ensuring we are not sending vast annual sums to the EU any longer, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, but also protects jobs and protects people’s livelihoods, protects our security, protects the Union of the United Kingdom.
‘I believe this is a deal which does deliver that, which is in the national interest and am I going to see this through? Yes.’
May’s attempt at defiance came after a day of resignations from her cabinet including her Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and work and pensions secretary Esther McVey.