Theresa May will step down as Conservative leader in two weeks


Theresa May announced the end of her turbulent three-year reign as United Kingdom prime minister, saying she would resign as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7.

Theresa May announced she is departing her role as leader of the Conservative Party but will stay on as prime minister until a new leader is chosen.

The U.K. prime minister is resigning as Conservative leader on June 7 after a Brexit process that still hasn't been completed. Her resignation will trigger a party leadership contest, and whoever wins that contest will take over as prime minister.

In the joint statement from Tory MPs Brandon Lewis, Dame Cheryl Gillan and Charles Walker, they said their focus will be on "facilitating a full, fair and frank debate and contest".

The US leader is scheduled to make a state visit to Britain next month and will meet with May just days before her final day in office, which is June 7.

But it has been met with a swift backlash, with several lawmakers who have supported her in previous Brexit votes saying they could not back the new plan, particularly over her U-turn regarding a possible second referendum.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose Austrian government is also facing instability after the far-right FPO party withdrew in the wake of a corruption scandal, said Theresa May was a "principled and head-strong politician".

"I want to thank her for agreeing with us to retain and strengthen the Common Travel Area so that Irish & British citizens can travel, live, work, study, access healthcare, housing, pensions and welfare in each other's countries as though we were citizens of both". They join former minister Esther McVey and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart who have publicly announced their bids and leading Brexiteer Andrea Leadsom who has said she is thinking about doing so.

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MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject her deal back in January - a larger margin of defeat than the previous record held by the minority Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald.

Among the potential candidates, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who also served two terms as Mayor of London, has emerged as the most competitive to succeed May as prime minister.

The search for a new leader will commence in the new week.

The DUP's support became a complication when the border between Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland emerged as a major issue in Brexit negotiations. The son of a Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany, Raab is the second favorite to become the UK's next prime minister.

Brexiters increasingly want a stark, sharp and total break with the European Union and are dismissive of even negotiating a trade deal with Brussels; while their opponents now hope to reverse the 2016 referendum and shape the circumstances for a second plebiscite, which they hope will lead to Britain remaining a member of the bloc. Candidates will have to compete to show their stance is tough enough to impress the leave-leaning Conservative membership and see off the threat from Nigel Farage's Brexit party. But history may also see her as a leader who faced a devilishly hard situation with stubborn determination.

"It's hard to think of a Tory politician who would have been the ideal PM (prime minister) in such circumstances", Tim Bale, politics professor at Queen Mary University of London told AFP.

Meanwhile some of the contenders to replace her have talked up the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Asked about the prime minister's announcement, Mr Trump said: "I feel badly for Theresa".