Theresa May: 'I'm not a quitter'

William Hague the former foreign secretary
Credit
Eddie Mulholland for The Telegraph

William Hague the former foreign secretary Credit Eddie Mulholland for The Telegraph

The Conservatives need to "change the song, not just the singer" before the next general election, former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has said.

"I'm not a quitter", the Prime Minister added, when later asked to clarify her remarks as she finished the first day of a three-day trade mission in Japan. "What me and my government are about is not just delivering on Brexit but delivering a brighter future for the United Kingdom", she said.

May's Conservatives were enjoying a record surge in April in the polls when she opportunistically called for a snap election in hopes of getting an increased majority that could have strengthened her position before going into two years of intense negotiations with the European Union about Britain's departure from the bloc.

Colleagues had expected the Prime Minister would step aside post-Brexit in March 2019, but after returning rejuvenated from her summer break she insisted: "I'm in this for the long term".

Theresa May has said she would like to lead the Conservatives into the next general election, declaring she intends to remain in power "for the long term".

Addressing the media during her ongoing visit to Japan, May sought to dismiss murmurs in the United Kingdom media that she plans to step down as Conservative party leader at the end of the Brexit process in 2019.

But she rejected the talk of her standing down or being replaced in Number 10.

"They will know that re-running the last election is not a good idea".

Debate over Mrs May's long-term ambitions was sparked after she told the BBC's Ben Wright in Kyoto that it was her intention to lead her party into another general election, whenever that was. She was forced to tell ministers to stop briefing against each other in July after a series of damaging leaks from the confidential weekly Cabinet meeting.

"Neither the public nor Tory MPs believe her fantasy of staying on till 2022", he said. "It was me that got us into this mess, I will get us out of it".

"Essentially the Conservative Party has decided it doesn't wish to have a leadership election or any jockeying for leadership ... "I did badly at the election and in two years" time I will be standing down.' That may happen but she has made a decision to put on a fearless face on it". You promised to see Brexit through and that is going to be another 18 moths.

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