Theresa May announced her resignation with tearful eyes on Friday morning stating her “deep regret” with not being able to deliver Brexit and will officially resign on June 7.
In the announcement she said she would continue to serve as caretaker prime minister until a new Conservative party leader is elected and given the top spot in number 10, adding she had done “everything I can” to unite MPs to back her deal.
“I believe it was right to persevere even when the odds against success seemed high,” she said, “It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.”
May said it was now clear and “in the best interests of the country” for a new prime minister to take over.
“So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday, June 7.
She added: “I will shortly leave the job that has been the honour of my life to hold. 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.”
Theresa May’s announcement comes after mounting pressure from MPs to resign following several failed attempts to pass her bill through Parliament, despite several changes to the agreement and failed cross-party talks with the Labour party.
In the past few weeks, rumours of her resignation have increased, particularly after she revealed her 10-point plan called ‘Seeking common ground in Parliament’ earlier this week, proposing several concessions Tory backbenchers were “concerned” with.
Some factors revealed in the legislation, such as a new workers’ rights bill, environmental upkeep and a “customs compromise”, were to appease Labour into backing a softer Brexit but have since been rejected by Labour itself, Tory backbenchers and the government’s confidence and supply partners the DUP.
It also comes after the surprise resignation of the leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, who on Wednesday walked away from her position saying she could not support a deal she “fundamentally opposed” – and has now been replaced by former treasury minister Mel Stride.
However, on Friday Mrs Leadsom said May’s speech and decision to resign demonstrated “her total commitment to country and duty”.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who was ways loyal to May also paid tribute to her commitment to the country, tweeting the NHS would have an extra £20bn because of her support.
He added: “A true public servant.”
Boris Johnson took to Twitter to thank her as well saying her speech was “dignified” but was met with criticism from others who tweeted suggesting he was a hypocrite.
The former foreign secretary is thought to be the Conservatives’ favourite to be party leader, however, among others in the contest are Jeremy Hunt, Amber Rudd, Dominic Raab and Andrea Leadsom.
Leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn has called for a general election following May’s resignation stating whoever becomes the new Tory party leader “must let the people decide our country’s future”.
He tweeted: “Theresa May is right to resign. She’s now accepted what the country’s known for months: she can’t govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrated party.”
Over in Brussels, French president Emmanuel Macron’s official told Sky News it was too early “to speculate on the consequences of (Mrs May’s) decision” and added Macron needed “rapid clarification”.
Now, Theresa May will stay as caretaker prime minister until June 7 and the Conservative leadership race will commence on June 10, where several rounds of votes will take place until two final candidates are whittled down – hopefully by the end of June.
And the final two names will then be put to party members for a vote before the end of July.