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May resigns as UK prime minister after failing to break Brexit deadlock

May resigns as UK prime minister after failing to break Brexit deadlock
Copyright REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Copyright REUTERS/Simon Dawson
By Euronews
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"It has been the honour of my life," May said of being UK prime minister.

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The race to be the UK's next prime minister has begun after Theresa May announced she will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7.

May — whose Brexit deal has thrice been rejected by MPs — angered party members when she opened the door to a confirmatory referendum if parliament approved her latest plan to leave the European Union.

After a meeting on Friday morning with Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 committee of Tory backbench MPs, the prime minister emerged from 10 Downing Street to set her departure date.

"It's in the best interests of the country," she said.

An increasingly emotional May said: "it has been the honour of my life" to hold the position of Prime Minister. "The second female Prime Minister, but certainly not the last."

And as she expressed the honour of serving "the country that I love," her demeanour gave way, perhaps for the first time, to show the woman behind the mask. She was in tears as she turned her back and walked back into her residence.

By the middle of the following week, more than 10 contenders had cast their hat into the ring to replace her. They include the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, current foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, and ex-Brexit secretary Dominic Raab.

A new leader is expected to be in place by the end of July. Theresa May is expected to stay on as prime minister until then.

After May announced her departure, tributes immediately began to pour in from senior political figures.

This from leadership favourite Boris Johnson:

Another potential successor, Dominic Raab, was also amongst those paying tribute:

As was Michael Gove:

Even the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon sent a tribute:

There was also a statement from the Irish Premier:

Unsurprisingly, the leader of the current opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, was far less conciliatory:

Nigel Farage, one of the figureheads of Britain's Brexit campaign, said May had misjudged the mood of the country.

"It is difficult not to feel for Mrs May, but politically she misjudged the mood of the country and her party," he said in a statement.

"Two Tory leaders have now gone whose instincts were pro-EU. Either the party learns that lesson or it dies."

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May's speech was emotive and in some parts touching. But, amusingly, Downing Street released the Prime Minister's statement this morning - without attaching the speech.

Fielder, Jez

May will still officially be the 'de facto' Prime Minister until the next Tory leader is selected. To see who that might be, click the link below.

Who is the bookies' favourite to succeed her?

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