In Brief

Theresa May: 'I'm not a quitter'

The Prime Minister denies reports that she intends to step down in 2019, in a 'radical' U-turn from previous statements

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".

"I'm not a quitter," she said, denying a report in the Sunday Mirror that she had "pencilled in Friday, August 30, 2019 as the day she will quit as Prime Minister".

The "unanticipated announcement" was "a radical ­departure from previous statements that she would carry on only as long as the Tories wanted her to", says the Daily Telegraph.

Speaking during her first official visit to Japan, May stressed that her role was not limited to delivering Brexit, but also to cement Britain's place on the global stage over the coming years.

"There's a real job to be done in the United Kingdom," May said. "It's about getting the Brexit deal right, it's about building that deep and special partnership with the European Union but it's also about building global Britain, trading around the world."

May's statement "comes a month before she faces a crucial test of her authority when she addresses grassroots members of her party at the Conservatives' annual conference in Manchester," Politico says.

"The Prime Minister is keen to stamp her authority on her party before a series of tough Brexit battles in autumn's parliament, with the EU (withdrawal) bill returning to the House of Commons next week," The Guardian says.

But the Telegraph warns that "May's strategy of throwing down the gauntlet to her ­rivals carries the risk of backfiring and re-igniting plots to challenge her".

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said May "had his 'undivided backing' to lead the party into another general election campaign", insisting that the Prime Minister could "certainly" win an absolute majority, the BBC reports.

However, critics have questioned the value of May's declaration. It "comes just two years after her predecessor, David Cameron, insisted he would remain in post even if he lost the EU referendum, only to quit weeks later when his worst fears were realised," The Independent says.

Labour MP Jon Trickett said May was "deluding herself" if she thought she could cling on until the next election. "Neither the public nor Tory MPs believe her fantasy of staying on till 2022," he said.

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