May looking forward to returning to backbenches after Number 10

Theresa May has said she is looking forward to returning to the backbenches after leaving Number 10 for the final time next month.

She said it had been a “huge privilege” to be Prime Minister but she was hoping to be able to devote more time to her work as MP for Maidenhead.

Mrs May stepped up her call for her successor to seek to get a Brexit deal through the Commons in response to Boris Johnson suggesting it would be a “folly” to rule out suspending Parliament to ensure the UK’s exit from the European Union.

In a series of interviews at the G20 in Osaka – Mrs May’s final global summit as Prime Minister – she reflected on her imminent departure from Downing Street.

G20 summit
G20 summit

“It’s a huge privilege to be Prime Minister, it’s a huge honour, it’s a huge responsibility,” she told ITV News.

“I will look back on, yes, difficult and challenging times in relation to Brexit, but also some important decisions that have been taken under my premiership.

“One of the most recent of those of course is the target for net zero emissions by 2050 which is now in law in the UK; we are leading the way on that.

“I am proud of the work that we have done in the UK and I look forward to returning to the backbenches and (being) able to give my full time to my constituency.”

The new Tory leader will be announced on July 23 and will take over as Prime Minister the following day.

But until she leaves, she told Sky News her “mood is one of determination to carry on doing the job that I’m doing and to ensure that I get some very strong messages across to those I’m meeting”.

In accordance with Japanese traditions, Mrs May removed her shoes before the interviews in the Yamamoto Noh Theatre in Osaka.

She refused to comment directly on the battle between Mr Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to succeed her, but made clear they should be striving to secure a Brexit agreement and an “orderly” departure from the EU rather than a no-deal scenario.

Mr Johnson declined to rule out the possibility of proroguing Parliament – a temporary shutdown – to prevent MPs from blocking a no-deal exit when he was questioned by Tory members in Bournemouth on Thursday.

“I’m not attracted to the idea of a no-deal exit from the EU but, you know, I think it would be absolutely folly to rule it out. I think it’s an essential tool of our negotiation,” he replied.

“I don’t envisage the circumstances in which it will be necessary to prorogue Parliament, nor am I attracted to that expedient.”

Mrs May told the BBC that she had not sought to prorogue Parliament while she was battling to get Brexit through.

“I am sure that whoever succeeds me is going to be working to achieve the majority in Parliament that I was not able to achieve in order to ensure that we can leave the EU and we can leave in an orderly way,” she said.

“I was not able to achieve that majority in Parliament. I didn’t look to prorogue Parliament but whoever succeeds me will, I’m sure, be looking to work with Parliament to ensure that majority can be achieved.”