British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday announced she will resign as leader of the ruling Conservative Party on June 7, paving the way for a new prime minister, BBC reported. May has been under pressure from her own MPs, who have vociferously opposed her plan for Britain’s exit from the European Union.
“Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as PM I have striven to make the UK work not just for a privileged few but for everyone and to honour the result of the referendum,” May told the media on Friday morning. “I negotiated the terms of our exit. I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. Sadly I have not been able to do so.”
May took over as prime minister in 2016 after the resignation of David Cameron following the Brexit referendum. However, she faced repeated opposition from Parliament over finalising a Brexit deal about how, when or whether to leave the European bloc.
May said it was clear that a new prime minister should lead that effort. “I am today announcing that I will resign as Conservative leader on Friday, 7 June,” she added. “I have agreed with the party chairman that the process for electing a new leader will begin in the following week.”
The prime minister was moved to tears as she ended her statement. “Our politics may be under strain but there is so much that is good about this country, so much to be proud of,” she said, adding that she is grateful to have served her country.
However, the European Union said May’s resignation does nothing to change its position on the Brexit deal, AFP reported. A spokesperson for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he noted May’s decision “without joy”.
The UK and the European have differed over the terms of an Irish backstop, which is a “safety net” to preserve a border without customs and regulatory checks. British and European Union leaders had earlier committed to avoiding a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit. Pro-Brexit leaders in May’s Conservative Party insist that the backstop would make it impossible for Britain to leave the European Union.