Theresa May quits: New premier expected to be elected in July
- Credit: PA
Prime Minister Theresa May is to resign later this summer she confirmed today.
She is to quit as Conservative Party leader on Friday, June 7 - triggering a leadership election which will result in the appointment of a new Prime Minister.
Fighting back the tears at the end of her resignation statement in Downing Street, she said she would remain as interim Prime Minister until a new party leader was elected - which is expected to happen by the end of July.
Mrs May said she had "done my best" to deliver a Brexit deal as she made a statement about her future in Downing Street.
"I have striven to make the UK a country that works not just for a privileged few but for everyone and to honour the result of the EU referendum," she said.
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She had done "everything I can" to gain support for her Brexit deal, but said it is now in the "best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort".
"So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7th June so that a successor can be chosen."
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The Prime Minister broke down in tears as she said it had been "the honour of my life" to serve "the country that I love".
Mrs May said the "unique privilege" of being PM is to use the platform to give a "voice to the voiceless" and to fight the "burning injustices that still scar our society".
She listed her work on mental health care, domestic abuse, the race disparity audit, gender pay reporting, and the Grenfell Tower inquiry.
The Prime Minister said: "This country is a union: not just a family of four nations, but a union of people, all of us - whatever our background, the colour of our skin or who we love, we stand together and together we have a great future.
"Our politics may be under strain but there is so much that is good about this country.
"So much to be proud of, so much to be optimistic about."
However some of her comments came under attack.Criticising Mrs May's mention of the Grenfell Tower fire in her speech, Emma Dent Coad, the Labour MP for Kensington, said: "From the first day of her awkward visit to Grenfell, to her last day congratulating herself for failures, Theresa May should be ashamed of her actions and lack of leadership."
More than two thirds of people believe Theresa May was right to announce her intention to resign as prime minister, a snap YouGov poll has suggested.
The survey of more than 2,200 adults on Friday found 71% of Tory voters backed Mrs May's decision, while 67% of the public believed she made the right choice. Just 16% of those asked said she had made the wrong decision to stand down.
How will the new Prime Minister be chosen?
The new leader of the Conservative Party will be elected by a new form of leadership introduced just before the 2005 election of David Cameron to the top job - the only time it has ever been used in full.
MPs who want to stand for the top job need to be nominated and seconded by their colleagues, and a series of elections are held with those getting the fewest voted eliminated.
Once this process has whittled them down to two candidates all members of the party - who have been a member for at least three months before the election - get a vote in the leadership election.
That can take several weeks, during which time the two candidates are likely to tour the country on what is known as the "rubber chicken circuit" meeting members of local associations.
Once a new leader is chosen, Mrs May will see the Queen to resign as Prime Minister and the new leader will be summoned to Buckingham Palace.