An embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May that she would resign as the UK’s Conservative leader on June 7 “in the best interests of the country”, paving the way for a contest to decide the new Prime Minister after she failed to win over her ministers with a revised strategy to withdraw Britain from the European Union.
A visibly tearful May said she would step down as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, with a leadership contest for a new Prime Minister to kick off the following week starting June 10. She would meanwhile stay on caretaker PM until a new incumbent has been elected by the Tories.
“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold,” the 62-year-old May said.
“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.” The outgoing Prime Minister said she had kept Queen Elizabeth II informed of her exit timetable, meaning she would be presiding over US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK in early June.
Meanwhile , The European Union said Friday that Prime Minister Theresa May’s resignation does nothing to change its position on the Brexit withdrawal deal that its members agreed with Britain.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker noted May’s decision “without personal joy,” a spokeswoman said, adding that the council of EU leaders has “set out its position” on the Brexit deal.
Some of the candidates to replace May as leader of the Conservative Party and thus prime minister have said they would seek to change the terms of the divorce deal she negotiated.
But commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva old reporters that the other 27 EU leaders had approved the deal as it stands and that there are no plans to re-open its terms.
As has long been the case, Brussels could envisage modifying a non-binding political declaration that accompanies the Brexit treaty to flesh out ambitions for future EU-UK ties.
But the withdrawal agreement, which May tried and failed three times to get past the British parliament, is not up for renegotiation, Andreeva said, reiterating the EU stance.
Juncker, she said, “very much liked and appreciated working with Prime Minister May and, as he as said before, Theresa May is a woman of courage for whom he has great respect.