UK Prime Minister Theresa May Announces Resignation

Theresa May has announced that she will resign as the U.K. Prime Minister on June 7 as her mission to deliver on the result of the Brexit referendum resulted in failure.

May said she had done her best to deliver Brexit but it was of “deep regret” that she had been unable to do so.

In an emotional resignation announcement outside of Number 10, May said it was “in the best interests of the country” for a new prime minister to take over.

“Against all predictions, the British people voted to leave the European Union. I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide. I have done my best to do that,” May said in her statement delivered on Downing Street.

“I negotiated the terms of our exit and a new relationship with our closest neighbours that protects jobs, our security and our Union,” she continued. “I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. Sadly, I have not been able to do so. I tried three times.”

“I believe it was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high. But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort,” she added.

According to BBC News, the prime minister had faced backlash from her MPs after she had announced her latest Brexit deal earlier this week, which included concessions to gain more support from members of Parliament. In the end, her her Withdrawal Agreement Bill was opposed by Conservative Brexiteers, the Democratic Unionist party and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s backbench second referendum campaigners.

May said in order for Brexit to be delivered, her successor would need to build agreement in Parliament.

“Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise,” she said.

“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold. The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last,” May said, as her voice shook, at the end of her speech. “I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.”

A leadership contest is set to begin on June 10, and a new leader is expected to be in place by the end of July, BuzzFeed News reports. For the time being, May said she would remain at Downing Street while the Tory party elects a new leader. This mean that May will also host President Donald Trump as he makes his state visit to the U.K. during the beginning of June.

When asked about May’s resignation, Trump said, “I feel badly for Theresa. I like her very much. She’s a good woman. She worked very hard. She’s very strong.”

Following May’s resignation announcement Friday, members of her cabinet paid tribute to her.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt praised May as a “true public servant,” and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said she “acted with dignity and honour in pursuit of what she believes to be in the national interest.”

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who is seen as the front-runner to succeed May, applauded her “stoical service” and urged the Tory party to “come together and deliver Brexit.”

May’s predecessor, David Cameron, who resigned as prime minister after campaigning for Remain and losing the referendum, said May should be thanked for her “tireless efforts.”

“I know how painful it is to accept that your time is up and a new leader is required. She has made the right decision — and I hope that the spirit of compromise is continued,” Cameron added.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said May had been “right to resign,” adding that the Conservative Party was now “disintegrating.”

“Whoever becomes the new Tory leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate General Election,” he said.

According to BBC News, May’s resignation has triggered a free-for-all, with several candidates expected to throw their hats into the ring to replace her, including Johnson, Hunt and Dominic Raab, who are the currently seen as the frontrunners to replace her.