Theresa May to Step Down As UK Prime Minister, Eyes June 7 Departure
Theresa May announced Friday morning that she will step down as the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party leader June 7, conceding defeat in her years-long attempt to take Britain out of the European Union.
May’s voice cracked as she made a televised statement outside 10 Downing Street, announcing she’d decided to leave the job it was “the honor of my life to hold.”
As her husband Philip and several aides looked on, May noted she was Britain’s “second female prime minister, but certainly not the last.”
“I leave with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love,” she said.
Although May said she will stay on as caretaker prime minister until a successor is chosen, her announcement effectively fired the starting gun for the race to become the country’s next prime minister.
The early front-runner appears to be Boris Johnson, a former foreign secretary and strong champion of the U.K. departure from the European Union.
On Friday the frequent May critic posted a tweet thanking the outgoing prime minister for her “stoical service to our country and the Conservative Party.”
He continued: “It is now time to follow her urgings: to come together and deliver Brexit.”
Johnson, always outspoken, is one of Britain’s best known politicians and is believed to enjoy strong support from rank-and-file Conservative Party members.
He was a key leader of the campaign that in 2016 convinced a majority of British voters to cast ballots in favor of leaving the European Union. He resigned as foreign secretary in July 2018 citing his unhappiness with May’s Brexit plans.
Other contenders include Andrea Leadsom, an outspoken supporter of Brexit, who resigned her post as leader of the House of Commons to distance herself from May in anticipation of a second run for the party leadership.
May defeated Leadsom in a two-woman race in May 2016 when the party leader post was last open.
In a tweet of her own, Leadsom commended May for her “dignified speech,” calling it “an illustration of her total commitment to country and duty.
“She did her utmost, and I wish her all the very best,” Leadsom said.
Then there’s Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary, who resigned last November over a policy rift with May. At the time he said he couldn’t “in good conscience” support the deal May had reached with EU leaders about the terms of Britain’s withdrawal.
Another possibility is Jeremy Hunt, a former foreign secretary who backed the “remain” side during the 2016 referendum on leaving the EU, but has since become a staunch Brexiteer; then there’s Sajid Javid, the home secretary. The son of Pakistani immigrants, he enjoyed a successful career in banking with Chase Manhattan and Deutsche Bank before entering politics and winning election to Parliament in 2010.
Like Hunt, Javid was also on the “remain” side during the referendum, but has since become more amenable to Brexit.
Upon learning of May’s decision to step aside, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker praised the outgoing prime minister as “a woman of courage” for whom he has great respect.
He went on to say he will “equally respect and establish working relations” with the new UK prime minister, “whoever that might be.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted May’s decision “with respect,” a German government spokesperson said.
The future of the Brexit process now depend on domestic political developments in the UK, she added.
“Germany continues to wish for an orderly British exit from the EU. This would require a successful vote in the House of Commons,” she said.
French President Emmanuel Macron sought “rapid clarification” from Britain on what it wants from Brexit.
In a statement released by the Elysee Palace, Macron said he stands ready to work with a new British prime minister, but that “the principles of the EU will continue to apply, with the priority on the smooth functioning of the EU.”
May became prime minister the month after Britons voted in June 2016 to leave the European Union, and her premiership has been consumed by the attempt to deliver on that verdict.
Pressure had been mounting on May to step down for weeks following her failure to take Britain out of the EU on the scheduled date of March 29.
And May vowed to fight on. Her decision to leave was prompted by Leadsom’s abrupt departure and the almost certain rejection of a bill she planned to put before Parliament in a fourth attempt to secure Parliament’s backing for her Brexit blueprint.
Britain is currently due to leave the EU on October 31.
Of the issue that consumed her tenure as prime minister, May said Friday that she is “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. 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.” she said.
In The News
Notice: Undefined variable: pc_ID in /var/www/html/thewellnews/wp-content/themes/twentynineteen-child/template-parts/content/content-single.php on line 270
Notice: Undefined variable: primary_cat in /var/www/html/thewellnews/wp-content/themes/twentynineteen-child/template-parts/content/content-single.php on line 275
With American adults spending over 2 hours per day on social media sites, businesses are no longer just anonymous entities that supply goods and services. They are influencing people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, participating in conversations with clear personalities while expressing opinions. The most successful... Read More
WASHINGTON - Republican House members handily elected Rep. Elise Stefanik, of New York, to the number three post in their conference leadership Friday, hoping her elevation will end an intra-party feud between allies of former President Donald Trump and his GOP detractors. With little suspense, Stefanik... Read More
The transition to remote work this past year happened a lot more quickly than many expected, which suggests organizations were “already working in a digital environment, we just had not realized it,” said Tatyana Mamut, senior vice president of new products at Pendo yesterday. Companies have... Read More
WASHINGTON — Student loan forgiveness has been a topic of conversation as the Biden administration continues to consider proposals for alleviating student loan debt, but in the absence of any news on that front, borrowers are starting to get worried as federal student loan repayment is... Read More
Over the last two weeks, China and the U.S. have made dueling comments about whether Taiwan should be admitted to this year's World Health Assembly, the meeting where priorities and policies of the World Health Organization are set, which will be held later this month. U.S.... Read More
The conception of the United States Space Force developed from the bipartisan consensus that the country needed enhanced military capabilities in the domain of space. When President Ronald Reagan first announced the “Strategic Defense Initiative” in 1983, the concept was disparaged for being impractical and costly.... Read More