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British PM Theresa May quits: UK set for new leader by end of July

UK Prime Minister Theresa May (Getty Images)

BBC: Theresa May has said she will quit as Conservative leader on 7 June, paving the way for a contest to decide a new prime minister.

In an emotional statement, she said she had done her best to deliver Brexit and it was a matter of “deep regret” that she had been unable to do so.

Mrs May said she would continue to serve as PM while a Conservative leadership contest takes place.

The party said it hoped a new leader could be in place by the end of July.

It means Mrs May will still be prime minister when US President Donald Trump makes his state visit to the UK at the start of June.

Asked about the prime minister’s announcement, Mr Trump said: “I feel badly for Theresa. I like her very much. She’s a good woman. She worked very hard. She’s very strong.”

Mrs May said she would step down as Tory leader on 7 June and had agreed with the chairman of Tory backbenchers that the contest to replace her should begin the following week.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has become the latest MP to say that he will run, joining Boris Johnson, Esther McVey and Rory Stewart. More than a dozen other MPs are believed to be seriously considering entering the contest.

In her statement, delivered in Downing Street, Mrs May said she had done “everything I can” to convince MPs to support the withdrawal deal she had negotiated with the European Union but it was now in the “best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort”.

She added that, in order to deliver Brexit, her successor would have to build agreement in Parliament.

“Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise,” she said.

Mrs May’s voice shook as she ended her speech saying: “I will shortly leave the job that it 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.”

The prime minister had faced a backlash from her MPs after announcing her latest Brexit plan earlier this week, which included concessions aimed at attracting cross-party support.

The Conservative Party said the likely timetable for the leadership contest was that nominations would close during the week beginning 10 June, with candidates whittled down to the final two to by the end of the month.

Those names would then be put to a vote of party members before the end of July.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who is seen as the front-runner to succeed Mrs May, told an economic conference in Switzerland on Friday: “We will leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal.”

He said a new leader would have “the opportunity to do things differently”.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called her a “true public servant” and Chancellor Philip Hammond said it had been a “privilege” to serve alongside her.

Mrs May’s predecessor, David Cameron – who resigned as prime minister after campaigning for Remain and losing the referendum – said she should be thanked for her “tireless efforts”.

He added: “I know how painful it is to accept that your time is up and a new leader is required. She has made the right decision – and I hope that the spirit of compromise is continued.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wished Mrs May well despite “profound disagreements” but added: “The prospect of an even more hardline Brexiteer now becoming PM and threatening a no-deal exit is deeply concerning.”

Democratic Unionist Party Leader Arlene Foster, whose party supported Mrs May’s government in power after the Conservatives lost their majority in the 2017 election, praised Mrs May’s “dutiful approach on national issues”.

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said Mrs May’s compromises with the right-wing of her party had been blame for her departure, adding: “The best and only option remains to take Brexit back to the people. I believe the public would now choose to stop Brexit.”

But Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage said two Conservative leaders whose “instincts were pro-EU” had now gone and the party either “learns that lesson, or it dies”.


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  1. Really? says:

    Did yahll really copy and past the bbc article with links everything… my god

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  2. Expected says:

    that from day one.

    The British bull dogs won again!

    The monster will be peeking its head yonder on the horizon once more.

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  3. Hmmm says:

    The UK always trying to tell different countries how their governments should run and they can’t run their own.

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    • Ginkol says:

      From where I sit they seem to be functioning very well. An unpopular and ineffective leader has stepped down to allow a new leader of a ruling party and their country. That seems like democracy to me.

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  4. Ausar says:

    Perhaps, her departure is a neccessary distraction, from all of the noise pertaining to Brexit.

    I am convinced that her presence did more to hurt the OTs’ standing than help.

    In whatever way this is looked upon, her departure has certainly bought the OTs time to assess all of the demands previously requested.

    It’s finally, the start of a beautiful day in the Kingdom!

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  5. CW says:


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    • YCS says:

      The reason we are so slow has everything to do with the incompetence and corruption of our own politicians rather than any policies from outside.

  6. gez says:

    The lady needs a lil sun!!

    Bring her down, let her lie in the sun for a while.

    Needs a lil down time from that red, white and blue psychology.

  7. Political” Observer (PO) says:

    June 23, 2016, is a Black Letter Day for the Conservative Party and Britons. On this day, through a referendum, a slim majority ( approx 52%) of UK voters voted to exit the EU. Thus, the term Brexit (British Exit). Former PM David Cameron errored in setting the “For” vote too low ( a simple majority), thinking that it would be a cold day in hell before a majority would vote For; he was wrong and surprised and resigned shortly there after. He should have set the For vote at about 70% given the magnitude and importance of the issue. History will be unkind to him for this blunder.

    Moreover, exit vote cast, PM Theresa May was given a tough hand to negotiate a soft exit. She give it the old college try but failed miserably; the UK will likely have to crash out on 31 October 2019.Brits want their cake and eat it too. In the end, Premier May call it day and submitted her resignation. She needs a medal for her bravery and valor in fighting a losing battle; she has the battle scars to prove it. She lost and is on some well-deserved rest and recuperation. What is fueling Brexit?

    Despite the abolitionist movement in Britain in the 1800s, the UK is still grappling with xenophobia and racism. Negative attitudes against foreigners or perceived foreigners are increasing, especially against Black and Asian Britons. The UK’s economy benefitted tremendously from the factors of production in its empire/colonies.

    Resources depleted, it turned its back on the people that migrated from the colonies. An example is the Windrush Generation from the Caribbean area. They were/are being discriminated against in housing, employment…etc. They were pushed into areas with poor housing, high crime…….etc yet charged exorbitant prices. Today, many are in a no man’s land in regards to status.

    The UK needs to get its house in order before it come lecturing OTs. If one wants a clear picture on British racist attitude, peruse Enoch Powell’s 1968 River of Blood speech. Another attitude that is driving Brexit is the UK social/pompous attitude; they think they are superior to other Western Europeans. The UK has a less than positive attitude towards people from its former colonies, OTs (Caribbean) and even other Europeans. This is the fuel that is driving the Brexit engine. Get something and wave if you feel sorry for the UK. You make your bed hard then you lie in hit hard.

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    • Alps says:

      This is the real cause of Brexit and why the UK will crash out on October 31st this year.

      The UK intends to be like Switzerland. They (the wealthy elite) used immigration to manipulate the racist public to vote leave and used a gullible Mrs May as a distraction so that crashing out will seem reasonable.

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      • Meanwhile says:

        Nobody is going to crash out of anything. Barnier’s deal is dead. It was always a stitch-up. The majority of people voted to leave the EU. The MPs don’t represent the people any more but over there the people are ultimately in charge. Even the MPs voted overwhelmingly to leave without an agreement with the EU in 2017 when they also voted to activate Article 50.

        In the EU elections today the Brexit Party has wiped the board. Remainers are just trying to make Brexit as difficult as possible and hoping desperately that they can stop the will of the people. Most of them live in London which is completely at odds with the majority of the UK.

        On 31st October they will simply leave. No crashing out any more than they crashed in. Britain will then be free from the corrupt EU just in time before it crashes from its own contradictions.

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        • Alps says:

          “Leave without and agreement” and “crash out” means the same thing, yes?

          Looks like you outsmarted yourself.

  8. @PO says:

    Hope those who need to read this do so, but chances are it will not be read by them.

    Meanwhile, awaiting to count the uk expats thumbs down to these truths.

    Some folks just don’t like being told what awful human beings they are.

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