Boris Johnson has responded to Theresa May’s resignation
Mrs May said she had “done my best” to get her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament and take the UK out of the European Union but acknowledged she had failed.
The Prime Minister said it was in the “best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort”.
Announcing her departure from a job she loved, Mrs May said: “I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7th June so that a successor can be chosen.”
Theresa May fights back the tears following her resignation speech outside Number 10
Concluding her resignation statement outside Downing Street, Mrs May broke down as she stated it had been “the honour of my life” to serve “the country that I love”.
Before walking back inside Number 10, a visibly emotional Mrs May 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.”
Boris Johnson is a leading candidate to replace Mrs May
Mrs May’s decision to finally name the date for her resignation came after a bitter backlash against her last effort to get a Brexit deal through Parliament.
A Cabinet mutiny and the prospect of the backbench 1922 Committee allowing another motion of confidence in her leadership eventually forced the Prime Minister’s hand.
Her announcement came following a meeting with Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee.
Theresa May will resign as Prime Minister on June 7
Mrs May will stay on as Prime Minister until her successor is found and for the state visit of US President Donald Trump which commences on June 3.
Mr Johnson who has already stated he will “of course” stand to become the next Tory leader, is the bookmakers favourite to replace Mrs May, with former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab his nearest rival.
The former London Mayor is as short as 5/4, Mr Raab 5/1 and former Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom at 10/1 shot with Ladbrokes.
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “We’re hardly surprised with today’s news and the early signs point towards BoJo being next Tory leader.”
Theresa May said it had been “the honour of my life” to serve as Prime Minister
Boris Johnson is as short as 5/4 with Ladbrokes to become next Tory leader
Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has said Mrs May’s replacement should call an immediate general election.
The Labour leader slammed her leadership insisting the Tory party “has utterly failed the country over Brexit”.
In a statement Mr Corbyn said: “She has now accepted what the country has known for months: she cannot govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.
“The Conservative Party has utterly failed the country over Brexit and is unable to improve people’s lives or deal with their most pressing needs. Parliament is deadlocked and the Conservatives offer no solutions to the other major challenges facing our country.
“Whoever becomes the new Conservative leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate General Election.”
Brexit: New Tory leader ‘increases risk’ of no deal says expert
Cabinet colleagues including some who have ambitions to replace her paid tribute to Mrs May.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who met Mrs May on Thursday to deliver his assessment that her Brexit deal would never pass, said the Prime Minister was a “true public servant”.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who had a “frank” discussion with Mrs May about her deal on Thursday, said “nobody could have worked harder or had a greater sense of public duty”.