Theresa May will close her three year tenure after some intense pressure coming from her own Conservative party and said that she will step aside from the 7th of June.
Leaving with no hard feelings but with immense gratitude
Apart from mentioning that she feels some enormous gratitude for being able to serve the country, the prime minister listed a series of what she said were her government’s achievements, including tackling the deficit, reducing unemployment and boosting funding for mental health.
But she admitted: “It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.”
May previously had a meeting with Graham Brady, the chair of the backbench Tory 1922 Committee, who threatened to trigger a second vote of no confidence in her leadership if she refused to resign.
Her fate was sealed after a 10-point “new Brexit deal”, announced in a speech on Tuesday, infuriated Tory backbenchers and many of her own cabinet – while falling flat with the Labour MPs it was meant to persuade.
The leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, resigned on Wednesday, rather than present the Brexit bill to parliament. And after that, several other cabinet members expressed their concern. Among them were Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt, Chris Grayling and David Mundell.
The ministers rejected May’s promise to give MPs a vote on a second referendum as the Brexit bill passed through parliament, and implement the result – which they felt came too close to endorsing the idea.
The prime minister will remain in Downing Street, to shoulder the blame for what are expected to be dire results for her party from Thursday’s European elections – and to host Donald Trump when he visits.
The 1922 Committee will set out the terms of a leadership contest, to kick off on 7 June, which is expected to last perhaps six weeks.
Why did May make the decision to quit and who will take the lead after May steps down?
The former foreign secretary Boris Johnson is the frontrunner to be Britain’s next prime minister, but more than a dozen senior Tory figures are considering giving the position a shot.
In the cabinet, Rory Stewart has already said he will stand, while Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Penny Mordaunt and Sajid Javid are all likely contenders.
May’s departure came after three years of wrangling with Brexiters on her own backbenches about what future relationship with the European Union they would be prepared to accept.
That seemed to become a lor more difficult when she lost the electoral majority back in 2017.
Brexit is likely to dominate the race to succeed May, with time increasingly tight for a new team to set out any new direction before the deadline of 31 October for Britain’s departure from the EU.