Theresa May Quits Over Brexit
After a week of tumult over U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest Brexit proposal, May announced her resignation.
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced her resignation on Friday in an emotional statement, saying she had tried her best to deliver Brexit and had “deep regeret” at being unable to do so.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) May 24, 2019
May said she will quit as the Conservative leader on June 7 and serve until then in order to enable a Conservative leadership contest.
The BBC quoted sources as expecting the PM would make sure that a successor is chosen and that June 10 will be likely the date for an official leadership race.
May’s resignation seemed more likely after recent backlash from her MPs over her latest Brexit plan. On Tuesday, May had announced in exchange for the government’s current proposed Withdrawal Agreement Bill to advance to the next legislative stage, MPs would be required to vote on whether to hold a second Brexit referendum. Following that announcement, on Wednesday, Andrea Leadsom, leader of the conservative House of Commons, resigned over the new plan.
“It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from the Government”, Leadsom wrote on Twitter.
Earlier on Thursday, May met with both Home Secretary, Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, at Downing Street. Both had expressed concerns over the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which was delayed due to mounting criticism.
Brexit supporters in the Prime Minister’s own party reacted furiously to May’s proposal, especially to the promise to give MPs a vote on another Brexit referendum.
On June 23, 2016, the U.K. had a referendum to decide whether the U.K. should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 51.9% to 48.1%. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting.
The UK is supposed to leave the European Union by October 2019, but if the U.K. and E.U. ratify a withdrawal agreement, the UK could leave before that date.