Theresa May announces resignation, to step down on June 7

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London, May 24: An embattled Theresa May announced Friday that she would resign as the UK’s Conservative leader on June 7 “in the best interests of the country”, paving the way for a contest to decide the new Prime Minister after she failed to win over her ministers with a revised strategy to withdraw Britain from the European Union.
A visibly tearful May said she would step down as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, with a leadership contest for a new Prime Minister to kick off the following week starting June 10. She would meanwhile stay on caretaker PM until a new incumbent has been elected by the Tories.
“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold,” the 62-year-old May said.
“The second female Prime Minister, but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.”
The outgoing Prime Minister said she had kept Queen Elizabeth II informed of her exit timetable, meaning she would be presiding over US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK in early June.
May 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.
The UK was to have left the 28-member economic bloc by March 29 but failed to meet that deadline and now faces a renewed Brexit deadline of October 31.
May was expected to resign after a meeting with the chair of the Conservative Party’s influential 1922 Committee of backbench MPs on Friday.
As her three-year premiership comes to a close, a new Tory leader expected to be in place by the end of July.
“I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that [Brexit] deal. Sadly, I have not been able to do so. I tried three times,” she said.
“It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum. To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not,” May said.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt during a meeting with May at Downing Street on Thursday said to have expressed his dissatisfaction with her renewed attempt at getting her controversial Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the House of Commons.
Hunt and number of other Cabinet ministers, including UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid, have held similar one-on-one meetings with the Prime Minister to reiterate the lack of support for the Bill despite her proposed changes.
It came as May announced her latest reshuffle after the resignation of Andrea Leadsom as Leader of the Commons earlier in the week, with Mel Stride becoming the new Commons leader.
As her three-year premiership comes to a close, a new Tory leader expected to be in place by the end of July.
May, who has been under constant pressure to step down since having survived a vote of no-confidence in December 2018, had even announced that she would set out her Downing Street exit plan once she had seen the first stage of Brexit through. (PTI)