As UK's May announces exit date, a look at what happens next

Oscar Cross
May 25, 2019

In an emotional statement in Downing Street, with husband Philip and her closest aides watching on, Mrs May said it was in the "best interests of the country" for a new prime minister to lead efforts to deliver Brexit.

May said she would resign as Conservative Party leader on Friday, June 7 and the process for electing a new leader would begin the following week.

She could stay in office as a caretaker prime minister for several weeks until party lawmakers and members choose a successor.

The Tory leadership contest will be a packed race. The leader of the party automatically becomes the prime minister. And with parliament hung, factions undermining party discipline, and no party commanding an overall majority in the House of Commons, the challenge to find a way out, almost three years after Britons voted by a slim majority for Brexit, becomes thornier by the day.

A Cabinet mutiny and the prospect of the backbench 1922 Committee allowing another motion of confidence in her leadership eventually forced the Prime Minister's hand.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose Austrian government is also facing instability after the far-right FPO party withdrew in the wake of a corruption scandal, said Theresa May was a "principled and head-strong politician".

Andrea Leadsom has quit her role as leader of the House of Commons over Theresa May's Brexit deal.

The European Research Group's Steve Baker, who voted against May's withdrawal agreement all three times, unlike Johnson and Raab, has also said he is considering standing.

The departure of May, who will become one of Britain's shortest-serving post-WWII prime ministers, follows a fresh revolt to her latest Brexit plan this week among cabinet colleagues and lawmakers. " But she soon sided with the hardliners agitating for a harder Brexit, egged on by the frenzied editors of Britain's mass-market tabloids".

In her resignation speech, May said she has done her best to deliver Brexit and will "deeply regret" that she could not do so.

Boris Johnson, a supporter of Brexit, is the leading candidate to succeed May as party leader and prime minister.

The election of a new party leader is a contest traditionally filled with twists, turns, bandwagons and backstabbing.

A tearful Theresa May announced she was quitting the job it had been the "honour of my life to hold" as she set out the timetable for her exit from Number 10. "The British government, the British Parliament" would be "solely responsible for a no-deal exit (from the EU) and its consequences", said Spanish government spokeswoman Isabel Celaa.

Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary and front-runner to succeed May, highlighted the possibility on Friday, telling an economics conference in Switzerland that his country would "leave the European Union on October 31, deal or no deal".

After a round of hustings - allowing the leadership contenders to make their case and for people to question them - the final decision will be put to Conservative Party members. Brexit was due to happen in March 2019, but May's unliked deal has delayed that indefinitely. I am proud the Conservative Party are the only political party to have had a female Prime Minister and delighted we have had two female Prime Ministers. Certainly, backbenchers who masterminded the last parliamentary manoeuvres to block no deal, including Nick Boles and Yvette Cooper, doubt whether they would be able to do so again. The former British foreign minister paid tribute to May, saying she was "patient and stoical" facing all the difficulties around the country's departure from the European Union.

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