Theresa May has announced that she will present her resignation on June 7 after her meeting with the president of the 1922 Parliamentary Committee, Graham Grady, and the unsustainable pressure of the Tories. Former Foreign Secretary and hard Brexit icon, Boris Johnson, confirmed on Thursday his candidacy to succeed her.
The Prime Minister has finally decided to resign as conservative leader, although he will continue temporarily in Downing Street until the election of his successor or successor.
May’s resignation comes after a 10-point “new Brexit deal”, announced in a speech on Tuesday, infuriated Tory backbenchers and many of her own cabinet – while falling flat with the Labour MPs it was meant to persuade.
The prime minister listed a series of what she said were her government’s achievements, including reducing unemployment and increasing funding for mental health.
But she admitted: “It is and will alway remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.”
May’s announcement came after a meeting with Graham Brady, the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee – which was prepared to trigger a second no-confidence vote in her leadership if she refused to resign.
In particular, a string of other cabinet ministers had rejected May’s promise to give MPs a vote on a second referendum as the Brexit bill passed through parliament, and implement the result – which they felt came too close to endorsing the idea.
The prime minister will remain in Downing Street, to shoulder the blame for what are expected to be dire results for her party at Thursday’s European elections – and to host Donald Trump when he visits.
The foreseeable debacle of the Conservative Party in the European elections and the furor caused in its own ranks by its intention to open the doors to a second referendum in the new law of Brexit have precipitated its fall, after three failed attempts to approve its agreement with Brussels in Parliament.
The resignation of May opens a period of great uncertainty in the coming months, with October 31 on the horizon as a new date for Brexit. Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson confirmed on Thursday his candidacy to replace May and has anticipated his intention of a turn towards hard Brexit.
Of course I'm going to go for it, Jonhson, iconic champion of the hard Brexit within the Conservative Party, confirmed his aspiration to succeed May as Tory leader, once the prime minister leaves office.
Speaking in Downing Street, May said it had been “the honour of my life” to serve as Britain’s second prime minister. Her voice breaking, she said she would leave “with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude”.