Theresa May to resign as Prime Minister
Speaking outside Downing Street, May said: “It is matter of deep regret that I have not been able to deliver Brexit”
Image credit: PA
Theresa May has announced she will resign as leader of the Conservative Party on 7 June, paving way for a contest to decide the new UK prime minister.
Speaking outside Downing Street, May said she will stay in office until a successor is chosen, saying: “It is matter of deep regret that I have not been able to deliver Brexit” and adding that a new PM was "in the best interests of the country".
The leadership contest will begin on 10 June and is expected to last until the end of July. Conservative MPs will select two candidates to become leader, with Tory members then voting on the eventual winner.
The PM’s resignation came after a meeting with Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, amid growing concern she would be unable to win a majority for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the Commons.
May said: "I negotiated the terms of our exit. I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. Sadly I have not been able to do so.
"It is now clear to me that it is in the best interest of the UK for a new PM to lead that effort.”
She added: "Consensus will only be possible if those on both sides of the debate 'compromise'.
"Our politics may be under strain but there is so much that is good about this country, so much to be proud of.
"I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Prime Minister in a meeting on Thursday that she should scrap the WAB rather than force loyal Conservative MPs to support it when it no chance of passing.
Meanwhile both Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Scottish Secretary David Mundell raised serious concerns over May’s proposal to allow a vote on a second referendum.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "I am very sorry it has come to this. Nobody could have worked harder, or shown a greater sense of public duty, in delivering the result of the EU referendum than Theresa May. She has my utmost respect for those endeavours, in the most challenging of circumstances, as well as her unswerving commitment to the Union.
“As Mrs May herself acknowledges, she has, however unfairly, become an impediment to the resolution of Brexit, and was no longer being given a hearing by Parliament. Yesterday’s elections will surely show that delivering Brexit is now more urgent than ever, and that will fall to a new Prime Minister. It's time to get on with the process of appointing one."
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth said: “The Prime Minister has always put country before party and, by announcing her resignation and setting out a plan for an orderly departure, she has shown that commitment again today.
“Theresa May knew when she took on the job of Prime Minister that the challenges facing our country were unprecedented.
“Her time in office has been characterised by the hard work, resilience, quiet dignity and attention to detail for which she is known.
“Above all, by opposing the SNP’s call for an immediate second independence referendum in 2017, the Prime Minister demonstrated her resolute commitment to the Union, and to Scotland’s place in it.
“As Britain’s second female Prime Minister, she has been a role model for girls and women across the United Kingdom, showing that there is no glass ceiling to their ambitions.
“On behalf of everyone in the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party I would like to thank her for her years of service as an MP, party chairman, Secretary of State, and Prime Minister.
“The party will now elect a new leader over the coming weeks.
“As leader of the Scottish Conservatives, I want to see candidates show that same level of commitment to Scotland's place in the Union, an ability to advance our interests at home and abroad and, crucially, demonstrate how they intend to bring our country back together after the divisions sown by two constitutional referenda.”
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