Brexit claims its biggest victim as Theresa May announces resignation
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday announced she will step down as Conservative leader on June 7 after failing to convince MPs to support her Brexit deal.
“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” May said in a statement outside her Downing Street residence.
The battered PM’s short but dramatic tenure is ending after her legacy-defining battle to win parliamentary approval for her Brexit deal proved too elusive.
The Conservative leader won praise for her determination and ability to survive what often felt like a three-year political crisis since the referendum vote.
But her approach to the Brexit endgame, refusing to accept MPs’ trenchant opposition to her deal before belatedly opening ultimately futile negotiations with Labour, has left May politically abandoned.
By twice delaying Britain’s exit from the European Union and dangling the carrot of a second referendum if opposition MPs voted for her deal, she prompted anger and frustration among Brexit supporters and ridicule from Remainers.
In a forlorn bid in March to appease the most ardent eurosceptic MPs in her party, May offered to resign if they finally approved her deal. But several dozen rebelled anyway, consigning it to a third defeat in parliament and leaving her mortally weakened.
She was then forced by her party to agree to set out a timetable for her departure, but asked for time to give lawmakers a fourth chance to vote on the agreement in early June.
However, her own MPs’ patience ran out. Unimpressed by changes to the deal and with potential new leaders already jostling for position, they have ensured her time in Downing Street is coming to an end in near total humiliation.