Britain set for new PM after May quits, as Brexit impasse remains

Share

His appointment as Britain's top diplomat in 2016 was viewed as a canny move by new prime minister Theresa May to keep him from building up a domestic power base, but risked being deeply awkward.

"I have done my best", May said in a speech outside 10 Downing St., as close aides and her husband Philip looked on, before acknowledging that it was not good enough.

May said she will step down as Conservative Party leader June 7 and remain as a caretaker prime minister while the Conservative Party chooses a new leader in a contest set to officially kick off the following week.

Britain's European Union departure date is now fixed for October 31, although any new leader could ask for a further delay.

Her downfall follows that of David Cameron, John Major, and Margaret Thatcher, all of whom found themselves unable to unite the country - and, perhaps most critical, their party - behind a common position on Europe.

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who also served two terms as Mayor of London and has widespread support in the shire counties among ordinary party members, is clearly the favorite to succeed May.

Madrid warned that a no-deal Brexit appeared nearly inevitable.

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. Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon paid tribute to May but stressed the need for a general election as soon as possible.

On Sunday the results of a European parliamentary election Britons voted in on Thursday are likely to highlight the highly risky electoral landscape for the Conservatives.

For now, nothing is certain except that May's successor will have to pick up the pieces in the hopes of resolving an issue that has been dividing the country.

More news: Rise in ozone-depleting CFC gases traced to China
More news: IRS memo drafted on handing over tax returns to Congress
More news: Deal close in Weinstein sexual misconduct lawsuits, lawyer says

Raab, as well as Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, all held off from throwing their hats in the ring on Friday, but are widely expected to run.

Five candidates who have, so far, confirmed their intention to stand include: Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey. The Conservatives lost their majority, as she had warned. But her "new Brexit deal", unveiled on Tuesday, was met with widespread criticism and several cabinet ministers pressed her to quit.

A snap YouGov poll of 2,200 adults on Friday found 67 percent thought May had made the right choice in standing down.

Richard Kellaway, the chairman of Maidenhead Conservative Association in May's constituency, for his part, said that she had confirmed that "she will carry on as a Member of Parliament, which is welcomed (to do) by us".

"If they opt for confrontation, they will suffer Mrs". But it was quite another matter during the years of negotiations with the bloc that often produced exasperation, miscommunication and even some ridicule of her.

In an emotional statement on Friday Ms.

She could even try to hold votes on some of its less contentious elements in her remaining few weeks in office, so that at least some of the legislative groundwork for leaving on time on 31 October is done.

"I think the most sympathetic reading of her premiership is that she was delivered a very poor hand by her predecessor, and she dealt with it very badly", said Steven Fielding, professor of political history at the University of Nottingham. "The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last".

May was hastily pushed into the humiliating spectacle after a meeting with the Conservative Party's committee chief in charge of leadership elections.

However, her proposals - including a customs union arrangement and an offer to give MPs a vote on holding another referendum - angered many Tories.

Share