Sat, May 25, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Emotional British PM May announces her resignation date

AFP, LONDON

British Prime Minister Theresa May reacts as she delivers a speech announcing her resignation outside No. 10 Downing Street in London yesterday.

Photo: Bloomberg

British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday announced her resignation in an emotional address, ending a dramatic three-year tenure of near-constant crisis over Brexit and increasing the likelihood of Britain crashing out of the EU later this year.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” May, her voice breaking and close to tears, said outside her Downing Street residence.

The 62-year-old leader said she would step down as head of the Conservative Party on June 7.

She is to remain as prime minister in a caretaker role until a replacement is elected by the party before July 20.

The party’s leader automatically becomes prime minister.

May, who took charge in the aftermath of the 2016 EU referendum, was forced to make way following a Conservative Party mutiny over her ill-fated strategy to take Britain out of the EU.

She will become one of the kingdom’s shortest-serving post-World War II prime ministers, remembered for presiding over one of the most chaotic periods in its modern political history.

“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold — the second female prime minister, but certainly not the last,” May said. “I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.”

May was pushed into the humiliating spectacle of a hastily arranged resignation announcement following a meeting with the head of the Conservative Party committee in charge of leadership elections.

She had previously vowed to step aside once her unpopular EU divorce deal had passed parliament and this week launched a short-lived bid for lawmakers to approve it early next month.

Lawmakers have rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with EU leaders last year three times, brutally weakening May on each occasion.

With her resignation, the manner of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU appears more ambiguous than ever. The kingdom has already twice delayed its departure and is now seen as increasingly likely to leave the EU without a deal on Oct. 31, the extended deadline agreed with Brussels last month.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said that he now wanted to see a “rapid clarification” over Brexit.

“Politically she misjudged the mood of the country and her party,” said Nigel Farage, whose new Brexit Party are predicted to seal an emphatic victory in the Eurpoean Parliament elections. “Two Tory leaders have now gone whose instincts were pro-EU. Either the party learns that lesson or it dies.”

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