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May agrees to set departure date after lawmakers vote on Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday agreed to set a timetable to step down as Conservative leader once lawmakers have voted next month on her Brexit agreement with the European Union.

"The prime minister is determined to secure our departure from the European Union and is devoting her efforts to securing the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill," Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers, said after the committee's senior members met May.

"We have agreed that she and I will meet following the second reading of the bill to agree a timetable for the election of a new leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party," Brady said in a statement, using the party's full name.

The meeting with May will take place whether or not lawmakers approve the deal, Brady told reporters.

May had already promised to step down if she can secure parliamentary approval for the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the EU.

One of the favorites to succeed May, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, confirmed on Thursday that he plans to stand in Conservative leadership contest.

"I'm going to go for it," Johnson told a conference of insurance brokers in the northern city of Manchester. "Of course I'm going to go for it."

"I don't think that is any particular secret to anybody," he said. "But, you know, there is no vacancy at present."

Johnson, who supports Brexit and resigned from May's Cabinet to oppose her Brexit plans, said the government had shown "a real lack of grip and dynamism" in negotiating with Brussels.

Johnson said he has "a boundless appetite ... to help the country to get on the right path."

The Daily Telegraph reported earlier Thursday that Brady and his colleagues from the 1922 Committee, which organizes party leadership votes, would demand that May name a date to step down or face a new confidence vote by the party's lawmakers on June 12.

But May's Conservative allies continued to back her, with Justice Secretary David Gauke warning that changing the leader would not solve the party's problems over Brexit.

"The idea that if we change the prime minister, suddenly the parliamentary arithmetic becomes significantly different, I think, is a nonsense," Gauke told Sky News.

"Some of those who seem to be pushing for a change ought to be aware that they're not going to be well placed to achieve a majority in the House of Commons by any means," he added.

May announced plans on Tuesday to ask Parliament to approve the implementation of her Brexit deal in early June, following talks with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Many pro-Brexit Conservatives have criticized her talks with Labour.

Lawmakers have on three occasions rejected the deal that May has negotiated with the EU.

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