Theresa May announced this morning that she will step down as Conservative leader on Friday, 7th June.
Her resignation will trigger a new leadership contest.
Prime Minister May gave an emotional speech on the street outside Number 10, saying she had done her best to deliver Brexit and she deeply regretted her failure to do so.
May stated that a new leader was “in the best interests of the country”, but warned that the new leader would have to – somehow – persuade MPs to compromise.
Theresa May will continue to serve as PM until a new Conservative leader is chosen. The leadership contest is set to officially begin on the week following her resignation.
May finished her speech on an emotional note. 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.
“I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.”
Comments from business leaders:
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “The Prime Minister could not have worked harder to deliver a Brexit deal that protects the economy. She leaves office with the respect of business.
“But her resignation must now be a catalyst for change. There can be no plan for Britain without a plan for Brexit. Winner-takes-all politics is not working. Jobs and livelihoods are at stake.
“Business and the country need honesty. Nation must be put ahead of party, prosperity ahead of politcs. Compromise and consensus must refind their voice in Parliament.
“We call on politicians from all parties, on all those ambitious to lead, to take this chance for a fresh start.”
Edwin Morgan, Interim Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “To borrow a phrase, nothing has changed, or at least, very little has. A new leader will be faced with the same political challenges and the same economic realities.
“No deal remains a significant, and growing, concern for businesses, and that cannot be wished away, whoever is in power. When companies and the country need serious, considered decision-making, we have pantomime instead.
“We would ask for politicians to swiftly come to a solution which provides for as smooth an exit as possible, but that feels like a vain hope at the moment.”