LONDON (AFP) – British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation in an emotional address yesterday, ending a dramatic three-year tenure of near-constant crisis over Brexit.
”It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” May, her voice breaking, said outside her Downing St. office.
May, 62, said she would step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7.
She would remain as prime minister in a caretaker role until a replacement is elected by the party.
The leader of the party automatically becomes prime minister.
May, who took charge in the aftermath of the 2016 European Union referendum, was forced to make way following a mutiny in her cabinet and Conservative Party over her ill-fated strategy to take Britain out of the EU.
She will become one of Britain’s shortest-serving post-World War II prime ministers, remembered for presiding over one of the most chaotic periods in the country’s modern political history and for her inability to deliver Brexit.
”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, appearing close to tears as she turned back abruptly and walked back into her office.
May was pushed into the humiliating spectacle of announcing her departure from office following a meeting with the head of the Conservative Party committee in charge of leadership elections.
She had previously said she would step aside once her unpopular EU divorce deal had been passed by parliament, and this week launched a short-lived bid for lawmakers to approve it in early June, that has now been postponed.
MPs have overwhelmingly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with EU leaders last year three times, brutally weakening May on each occasion.
With her resignation, the manner of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU appears more uncertain than ever.