British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a statement in London, Britain, May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville


PRIME MINISTER Theresa May today (24) said she would quit, triggering a contest that will bring a new leader to power who is likely to push for a more decisive Brexit divorce deal.

She set out a timetable for her departure: she will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7 with a leadership contest in the following week.

“I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist party on Friday, 7 June so that a successor can be chosen,” the prime minister said outside 10, Downing Street.

Once a reluctant supporter of EU membership, she who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit vote, and steps down with her central pledges – to lead the United Kingdom out of the bloc and heal its divisions – unfulfilled.

She endured crises and humiliation in her effort to find a compromise Brexit deal that parliament could ratify, and bequeaths a deeply divided country and a political elite that is deadlocked over how, when or whether to leave the EU.

The prime minister’s departure will deepen the Brexit crisis as a new leader is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the European Union and a snap parliamentary election.

The leading contenders to succeed her all want a tougher divorce deal, although the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Treaty it sealed in November.

(Reuters)