LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May gave the following statement to lawmakers at a meeting of her Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee on Wednesday, according to a text from her office.
“This has been a testing time for our country and our party. We’re nearly there. We’re almost ready to start a new chapter and build that brighter future.
“But before we can do that, we have to finish the job in hand. As I say, I don’t tour the bars and engage in the gossip - but I do make time to speak to colleagues, and I have a great team in the Whips’ Office. I also have two excellent PPSs (parliamentary private secretaries).
“And I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party. 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.
“I know some people are worried that if you vote for the Withdrawal Agreement, I will take that as a mandate to rush on into phase two without the debate we need to have. I won’t - I hear what you are saying.
“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.” (Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Stephen Addison)