Brexit failure forces British Prime Minister Theresa May to announce resignation

Article Image

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her resignation as Conservative Party leader, finally bowing to intense political pressure over the failure to deliver her signature policy -- Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

Posted: May 24, 2019 8:38 AM
Updated: May 24, 2019 9:15 AM


UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation in an emotional speech on Friday, finally bowing to intense political pressure over the failure to deliver her signature policy -- Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

Standing at a lectern outside Downing Street on Friday morning, May said she would quit as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, but would stay on as Prime Minister until a successor is chosen.

May said she had done everything she could to convince Members of Parliament (MPs) to back her thrice-rejected Brexit deal, but acknowledged that she had failed.

'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 said.

'It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.'

May said it would be down to her successor to find consensus where she could not, and urged all sides to compromise.

'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,' she said, bursting into tears as she left the lectern and walked back into Number 10.

May was forced into making Friday's announcement after losing the support of her Cabinet, many of whom were fed up with the ongoing turmoil over Brexit.

The last straw for Cabinet ministers appears to have been the latest version of May's Brexit plan, which she unveiled on Tuesday. In an attempt to win over opposition lawmakers, May offered the House of Commons the chance to vote on a second referendum -- a concession that was bitterly opposed by some senior members of her government.

Her fate was sealed by the leadership of the 1922 Committee -- which represents the interests of rank-and-file lawmakers in May's Conservative Party -- who threatened to change party rules to allow a vote of no-confidence. May survived an earlier confidence vote in December last year, and under current rules was immune to challenge for another year.

May's announcement will set off a frantic race to succeed her. One leading candidate is Boris Johnson, the wily former Foreign Secretary who commands significant support among grassroots members of the party.

Johnson has bitterly opposed the withdrawal deal that May negotiated with the EU, and resigned from her Cabinet over it. On Friday, he described May's statement as 'dignified' and said 'it is now time to follow her urgings: to come together and deliver Brexit.'

A number of May's Cabinet members, including potential candidates in the race to replace her, paid their tributes on Twitter.

Amber Rudd, who serves as Work and Pensions Secretary, praised May's 'great courage,' while Home Secretary Sajid Javid said no one had 'a greater sense of public duty than the Prime Minister.'

Prominent Brexiteer Andrea Leadsom, who resigned as Leader of the House of Commons on Wednesday, said May's speech illustrated 'her total commitment to country and duty.'

But it's unclear whether the next Prime Minister will have any luck reopening the deal, which Brussels has insisted is locked down. May's successor will face the same deadlocked House of Commons, which has repeatedly rejected her plan but failed to vote in favor of any kind of alternative.

That may raise the prospect of a new Conservative leader calling a general election in an attempt to break the impasse.

UK opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn jumped at the prospect after May's speech, tweeting: 'Whoever becomes the new Tory leader must let the people decide our country's future, through an immediate General Election.'

Some pro-Remain politicians expressed concern that a Brexiteer could soon take May's place and push Britain towards a hard Brexit.

'The prospect of an even more hardline Brexiteer now becoming PM and threatening a no deal exit is deeply concerning,' Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter.

May's decision to step down is an inglorious end for a Prime Minister who was ushered into office on the back of the Brexit vote, promising to deliver on the results of the referendum.

But the deal that resulted from a tortuous set of negotiations with the EU was rejected three times by the House of Commons.

On Tuesday, in an attempt to repackage the plan, May rolled it up into a wider set of legislation dealing with Britain's departure. As well as the offer of a second referendum, it also contained pledges on workers' rights, environmental provisions, as well as a temporary customs relationship with the European Union.

But her 'new Brexit deal' was greeted with significant opposition from across the political spectrum. Hardline Conservatives who had supported May's last deal, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs who prop up May's minority government in Parliament and supporters of a second referendum alike all rejected it.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 31376

Reported Deaths: 1976
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9132533
Lake3260167
Cass15816
Allen124065
St. Joseph115534
Hendricks111765
Hamilton109691
Johnson1080104
Elkhart99127
Madison58058
Bartholomew47433
Porter47321
Clark45338
LaPorte39921
Tippecanoe3693
Jackson3591
Delaware34933
Howard34517
Hancock31727
Shelby31221
Floyd31238
Boone28135
Morgan25824
Vanderburgh2422
Decatur22231
White2218
Montgomery22116
Clinton2081
Harrison18421
Noble18120
Grant18120
Dubois1782
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe15810
Henry1566
Lawrence14222
Vigo1417
Miami1371
Putnam1317
Jennings1264
Orange12422
Scott1163
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll912
Daviess8116
Steuben792
Kosciusko781
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Marshall641
Fayette634
LaGrange602
Jasper541
Washington521
Fulton461
Rush452
Jay430
Jefferson411
Clay391
Pulaski390
Randolph383
Whitley342
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb281
Knox240
Benton240
Crawford230
Perry230
Huntington222
Tipton221
Wells220
Blackford201
Switzerland190
Fountain172
Posey170
Parke170
Spencer141
Gibson132
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0152

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 110304

Reported Deaths: 4856
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook720103304
Lake7615250
DuPage7060340
Kane5645152
Will5117257
Winnebago192550
McHenry139967
St. Clair96671
Kankakee79142
Kendall70919
Rock Island63122
Champaign5567
Madison53353
Boone39316
Sangamon32926
DeKalb3193
Randolph2583
Jackson21910
McLean20410
Ogle1902
Macon18719
Stephenson1872
Peoria1777
Clinton17616
Out of IL1501
LaSalle13910
Union1395
Whiteside13410
Iroquois1304
Coles1159
Warren1140
Unassigned1040
Jefferson10116
Knox940
Monroe9111
Grundy892
McDonough804
Lee771
Cass670
Tazewell673
Henry660
Williamson551
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin411
Perry410
Pulaski400
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan341
Christian334
Livingston312
Douglas280
Jo Daviess260
Fayette202
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Mason170
Menard170
Woodford172
Shelby161
Bureau151
Mercer140
Carroll132
Hancock130
Franklin120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Piatt110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Schuyler100
Moultrie90
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Effingham61
Saline60
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Wabash10
Edgar00
Terre Haute
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Robinson
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Casey
Scattered Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 69°
Brazil
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Marshall
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Mix of clouds and sun with afternoon storms
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Direct to home movies impact theaters

Image

Illinois business prepares to serve customers outside

Image

Girl Scouts offer Lead Your Own Adventure program

Image

Indiana travel teams resume practice

Image

Man survives transplant during pandemic

Image

Dog groomer sees increased business

Image

Business welcomes families back inside

Image

City park activities resume in Robinson

Image

Illinois budget approved

Image

Police investigating hostage situation

WTHI Events