UK Leader May Resigns in Tears amid Brexit Quagmire
May served as British Prime Minister for nearly 3 years, and her term was entirely dominated by Brexit.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her resignation as leader of the British Conservative Party, and therefore as state leader, in an emotional statement that ended in tears against the backdrop of her failure to bring the Brexit process to a conclusive end.
May said she was going to quit as leader of the ruling Conservative Party on June 7, 2019, but would remain Prime Minister of the UK for the duration of the party leadership contest.
“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold,” she declared, adding that she was “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,” May stated.
She said she had done her best to deliver Brexit, and that she had “deep regret” for the fact that she failed to achieve that goal.
May’s Brexit deal with the EU has been rejected three times by the British Parliament, and while she had intended to call a fourth vote on it with hopes of realizing Brexit before the summer, it has become increasingly obvious that she would be unable to garner sufficient support for it.
She said she had done “everything I can” to convince MPs to support the withdrawal deal she had negotiated with the European Union.
“[It is now in the] best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort,” the outgoing British Prime Minister said, adding that her successor would have to build agreement in Parliament in order to be able to make Brexit happen.
“Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise,” she said.
Theresa May has served as Prime Minister of the UK for nearly three years, succeeding David Cameron after the Leave vote triumphed in the Brexit Referendum of June 23, 2016. She became the second woman to hold the post after Margaret Thatcher.
Before becoming Prime Minister, May had served as Home Secretary of the UK for 6 years.
Even though she voted “Remain” in the referendum, she had vowed to realize the will of the majority, meaning that her entire term as Prime Minister was dominated precisely by Brexit.
She was the person who invoked Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty on March 29, 2017, for leaving the Union.
After that she called an early election, and while failing to win an outright majority she remained the Prime Minister.
As May is going to retain the top government job in the UK for at least several weeks, she is going to welcome US President Donald Trump who is set to pay a state visit to the UK at the start of June.
The known candidates to succeed May as leader of the Conservative Party are Boris Johnson, Esther McVey and Rory Stewart but some dozen of other bidders might also enter the race.
May’s resignation announcement comes after Andrea Leadsom quit as Commons leader on Wednesday, saying she no longer believed the government’s approach would “deliver on the referendum result”, a reference to May’s latest concessions to the opposition in a last-ditch attempt to attract cross-party support for the Brexit deal despite the failed cross-party talks.
The Conservative Party said in a statement that the number of bidders for its leadership would be brought down to two by the end of June, and the winner would be chose by the end of July.
The second, and last so far, extension on Brexit granted by the EU to the UK expires on October 31, 2019.
(Banner image: TV grab from the BBC)