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Theresa May in tears as she announces resignation as Conservative Party leader

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BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May has announced she will stand down as leader of the Conservative party on June 7.

Mrs May faced calls for her resignation after MPs in her own party rejected a compromise Brexit offer.

Speaking at Downing Street today, she said: “I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal but sadly have not been able to do that, I tried three times.

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

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

Prime Minister Theresa May arriving to make a statement outside at 10 Downing Street in London, where she announced she is standing down as Tory party leader on Friday June 7.Yui Mok/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May arriving to make a statement outside at 10 Downing Street in London, where she announced she is standing down as Tory party leader on Friday June 7.Yui Mok/PA Wire

“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 find a way forward, he or she will have to find a consensus in parliament, where I have not.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement, at Downing Street in London, Britain, May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
British Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement, at Downing Street in London, Britain, May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The British Prime Minister broke down as she said it had been “the honour of my life” to serve “the country that I love”.

She told reporters: “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.”

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement outside at 10 Downing Street in London, where she announced she is standing down as Tory party leader on Friday June 7. Yui Mok/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement outside at 10 Downing Street in London, where she announced she is standing down as Tory party leader on Friday June 7. Yui Mok/PA Wire

She also advised her successor that compromise will be key in the coming months as they seek to find a solution to the Brexit impasse.

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

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement outside at 10 Downing Street in London, where she announced she is standing down as Tory party leader on Friday June 7: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement outside at 10 Downing Street in London, where she announced she is standing down as Tory party leader on Friday June 7: Yui Mok/PA Wire

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

“At another time of political controversy before his death, he took me aside at a local event and gave me a piece of advice, ‘never forget that compromise is not a dirty word, life depends on compromise,’ he was right,” an emotional Mrs May said.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after delivering a statement in London, Britain, May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after delivering a statement in London, Britain, May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The Tory leader was speaking after a meeting with Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful Conservative 1922 Committee.

Mrs May said it is in the “best interests of the country” that a new Prime Minister leads key Brexit negotiations.

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement outside at 10 Downing Street in London, where she announced she is standing down as Tory party leader on Friday June 7 Yui Mok/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement outside at 10 Downing Street in London, where she announced she is standing down as Tory party leader on Friday June 7 Yui Mok/PA Wire

She will stand down as leader of the Conservative and Unionist party on June 7 and the process of electing her successor will begin then.

She added that she has told the Queen that she will remain as Britain’s Prime Minister until the next Conservative leader is chosen.

Nearly three years since Britain voted 52pc to 48pc to leave the European Union, the beleaguered Tory leader made one last pitch on Tuesday to get her divorce deal approved by the British parliament before her crisis-riven premiership ends.

She offered a parliamentary vote on whether to hold a second Brexit referendum – once her legislation passes the first stage – as well as closer trading arrangements with the EU in future as incentives to what she called the only way to prevent a disruptive no-deal Brexit.

But the backlash was swift and fierce.

Both ruling Conservative and opposition Labour lawmakers criticised Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which sets out the terms of Britain’s twice-delayed departure from the EU.

The protracted impasse in London over the terms of Brexit means it is unclear how, when or even if Britain will leave the European club it joined in 1973. The current deadline to leave is October 31.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid tribute to Mrs May today as he wished her well.

He said in a statement: “I got to know Theresa May very well over the last two years. She is principled, honourable, and deeply passionate about doing her best for her country, and her party.

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“Politicians throughout the EU have admired her tenacity, her courage, and her determination during what has been a difficult and challenging time.

“Theresa May strove to chart a new future for the United Kingdom. I want to wish her the very best for the future. And I look forward to working closely with her successor.”

“Every PM who maintains the fantasy that we can leave the EU but keep the benefits is destined to fail – and sadly the next one may bring the country with them.”

Boris Johnson, who is one of the favourites tipped to become the next prime minister, thanks Mrs May for her service.

The former London Mayor tweeted: “A very dignified statement from @theresa_may. Thank you for your stoical service to our country and the Conservative Party. It is now time to follow her urgings: to come together and deliver Brexit.”

Andrea Leadsom, who resigned as House of Commons Leader on Wednesday, tweeted: “A very dignified speech by @theresa_may. An illustration of her total commitment to country and duty. She did her utmost, and I wish her all the very best.”

Labour MP David Lammy, who opposes Brexit, tweeted: “Theresa May’s premiership was doomed from the moment she bound the country to the ERG’s impossible red lines.”

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “I wish Theresa May well. She and I had profound disagreements – not least on her handling of Brexit and her disregard for Scotland’s interests. However, leadership is tough – especially in these times – and she deserves thanks for her service.

“Her departure will not solve the Brexit mess that the Tories have created. Only putting the matter back to the people can do that. Given current circumstances, it also feels deeply wrong for another Tory to be installed in Number 10 without a General Election.”

With additional reporting by PA


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