BELEAGURED Tory MPs are having to accept that Theresa May might end up being their leader for a bit longer yet, after the lame duck Prime Minister insisted she had no plans to stand down.

May, who was visiting Japan, told press she will lead the party into the 2022 General Election.

Yesterday, at a press conference alongside Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, May said: “I said I wasn’t a quitter and there is a long-term job to do. There is an important job to be done in the United Kingdom, we stand at a really critical time in the UK.”

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In an attempt to show that her administration would not be defined by Brexit, May insisted she was tackling “long-term challenges” to reform the economy and tackle “injustices” including in mental health care.

“These are real issues that we need to be dealing with and I’m there to do it,” she said.

“For most members of the public, they would say they want the Government to get on with the job and that’s exactly what I and the Government are doing.”

Former party chairman Grant Shapps said it was “too early” for May to talk about going “on and on” like Margaret Thatcher.

Though the party didn’t want a leadership election right, he said it was “probably the case” that nobody wanted May to face Jeremy Corbyn at the ballot box again.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think colleagues may well be surprised by this interview last night and I think it is too early to be talking about going on and on, as Margaret Thatcher once said.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, viewed as a likely contender in any leadership contest, said May had his “undivided” support.

Abe, who just days ago was dealing with more pressing problems after North Korea fired a missile over Japan and into the sea, thanked May for her visit.

The Prime Minister had a successful visit, winning a formal commitment from Abe that both countries will replace an EU-Japan trade deal after Brexit.