#Therexit: 'Honour of my life' - Theresa May to step down on June 7

  • Theresa May will step down as Conservative party leader on June 7
  • She will stay on as Prime Minister until a successor has been elected
  • Voting for the next Prime Minister is to begin on June 10 with a result expected before Parliament breaks for the summer on July 20
  • The current favourites to replace Mrs May are Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove
  • She will not stand down as an MP

Prime Minister Theresa May (left) makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street the day she became British Prime Minister on 13 July 2016 and (right) announcing her resignation today. Pictures: Hannah McKay/Yui Mok/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May (left) makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street the day she became British Prime Minister on 13 July 2016 and (right) announcing her resignation today. Pictures: Hannah McKay/Yui Mok/PA Wire

Latest: Theresa May announced that she will step down as leader of the Conservative party on Friday, June 7.

A tearful Mrs May said she had “done my best” to get her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament and take the UK out of the European Union but acknowledged she had failed.

Read Mrs May's full speech below:

"Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as Prime Minister, I was driven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for a privileged few but for everyone, and to honour the result of the EU referendum.

"Back in 2016, we gave the people the British people a choice.

"Against all predictions, the British people voted to leave the European Union.

I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide.

"I have done my best to do that.

"I negotiated the terms of our exit and a new relationship with our closest neighbours that protects jobs, our security and our union.

"I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal.

"Sadly, I have not been able to do so. I tried three times. I believe it was right to persevere, even where the odds against success seemed high.

"But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort.

"So I am today announcing that I will resign as the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen.

"I have agreed with the party chairman and with the chairman of the 1922 committee that the process for electing a new leader should begin in the following week.

"I have kept Her Majesty the Queen fully informed of my intentions and I will continue to serve as her Prime Minister until the process has concluded.

"It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.

"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.

"Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise.

"For many years the great humanitarian, Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of hundreds of children by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czecheslovakia through the Kindertransport, was my constituent in Maidenhead.

"At another time of political controversy a few years before his death, he took me to one side at a local event and gave me a piece of advice.

"He said: 'Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise.' "He was right.

As we strive to find the compromises we need in our politics, whether to deliver Brexit or to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland, we must remember what brought us here.

"Because the referendum was not just a call to leave the EU, but for profound change in our country, a call to make the United Kingdom a country that truly works for everyone.

"I'm proud of the progress we have made over the last three years.

"We have completed the work that David Cameron and George Osborne started. The deficit is almost eliminated.

"Our national debt is falling and we are bringing an end to austerity.

"My focus has been on ensuring that the good jobs of the future will be created in communities across the whole country, not just in London and the South East, through our modern industrial strategy.

"We have helped more people than ever enjoy the security of a job. We are building more homes and helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder, so young people can enjoy the opportunities their parents did.

"And we are protecting the environment, eliminating plastic waste, tackling climate change and improving air quality.

"This is what a decent, moderate and patriotic Conservative government on the common ground of British politics can achieve, even as we tackle the biggest peacetime challenge any government has faced.

"I know that the Conservative Party can renew itself in the years ahead, that we can deliver Brexit and serve the British people with policies inspired by our values.

"Security, freedom and opportunity. Those values have guided me throughout my career. But the unique privilege of this office is to use this platform to give a voice to the voiceless. To fight the burning injustices that still scar our society.

"That is why I put proper funding for mental health at the heart of our NHS long term plan.

"It's why I'm ending the postcode lottery for victims of domestic abuse.

"It is why the race disparity audit and gender pay reporting are shining a light on inequality so it has nowhere to hide.

"And it is why I set up the independent inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, to search for the truth so nothing like it can ever happen again, and so the people who lost their lives that night are never forgotten.

"Because this country is a union. Not just a family of four nations, but a union of people, all of us.

"Whatever our background, the colour of our skin, or who we love, we stand together, and together we have a great future.

"Our politics may be under strain but there is so much that is good about this country, so much to be proud of, so much to be optimistic about.

"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.

Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Update 10.20am: Theresa May’s turbulent leadership of the Conservative Party will end on June 7, paving the way for a new prime minister to lead the Brexit process.

She will stay on as Prime Minister until a successor has been elected. The process of selecting the next Prime Minister will begin the week after Mrs May steps down as Conservative leader.

A tearful Mrs May said she had “done my best” to get her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament and take the UK out of the European Union but acknowledged she had failed.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” she said in Downing Street.

Watched by husband Philip and her closest aides, an emotional Mrs May said it was in the “best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort”.

Announcing her departure from a job she loved, Mrs May said: “I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7th June so that a successor can be chosen.”

Concluding her resignation statement, Mrs May broke down as she said it had been “the honour of my life” to serve “the country that I love”.

Earlier, in a sign that the leadership race to replace Mrs May is already under way, Helen Grant quit as Conservative vice chair for communities to “actively and openly” support Dominic Raab.

She quit her Tory party role to avoid any “perception of a conflict” between Mr Raab’s campaign and Conservative HQ”.

Ms Grant said the former British Brexit secretary “has an inspiring vision for a fairer Britain and I think he is undoubtedly the best person to unite the Conservative Party and our country”.

- Press Association

Update 10.07am: Theresa May has announced that she will step down as Tory party leader on Friday, June 7.

She will remain as Prime Minister until a successor is elected. The process of electing her successor will begin the week after she steps down as Conservative leader.

She said that she had informed the Queen that she would continue to serve as Prime Minister until that process was complete.

"I've done everything I can to convince MPs to take that deal. Sadly, I was unable to do so," said Mrs May as she made a statement about her future in Downing Street.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.”

She said: “I have striven to make the UK a country that works not just for a privileged few but for everyone and to honour the result of the EU referendum."

Mrs May, her voice cracking, concluded 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.”

Earlier: Theresa May is expected to set out when she will quit Number 10 after a Cabinet revolt over her Brexit plan.

The UK Prime Minister is meeting the leader of backbench Conservatives, Graham Brady, on Friday to discuss her future after her authority was left in tatters following the backlash against her “new Brexit deal”.

Here are the latest developments:

9.41am

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

9.37am

Former chancellor Ken Clarke suggested the majority of Tory MPs did not support their own party in the European election.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I suspect the majority of Conservative MPs did not vote Conservative yesterday.”

9.34am

9.32am

Former Middle East Minister Alistair Burt said he could vote for Boris Johnson to take over from Theresa May.

When asked whether he could back Mr Johnson, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The answer to the question for almost all the candidates is yes.

“I would find it very difficult to support a candidate who said it was in Britain’s best interest to leave with no deal, leave straight away, WTO…

“I don’t expect any candidate really to say that.”

9.30am

The Prime Minister has arrived in Downing Street where she is understood to be meeting 1922 Committee chairman Mr Brady after a cabinet revolt over her latest Brexit plan and the delay of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB).

Tory backbenchers’ representative Mr Brady is expected to insist that she should set out when she will resign, with a 1922 Committee source telling the Press Association Mrs May’s departure date is likely to be June 10.

- Press Association

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