After two years and three failed attempts at a Brexit deal, Theresa May announced Friday morning that she will step down as Prime Minister of the U.K. on June 7.
Speaking in Downing Street, May broke down at the end of her speech, saying it had been the “honor of my life to serve the country that I love.”
The prime minister has been under significant pressure from all sides over her handling of Brexit. She said it was with “deep regret” that she did not deliver Brexit.
“It will be for my successor to find a way forward that honors the result of the referendum,” May said. “To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not. Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise.”
May's repeated calls for compromise have had little effect during her term. The House of Commons has rejected the deal she struck with Brussels on three occasions since January, and the U.K. missed the March 29 deadline for leaving the EU. That deadline was extended at the last minute until October 31.
"It will be for my successor to find a way forward that honors the result of the referendum.”
The EU said Friday that May's departure changes nothing about the Brexit process. “Our position on the withdrawal agreement has been set out, there is no change to that,” a European Commission spokeswoman said.
Calls for May’s resignation have been growing louder for months. But in recent days, after May presented a new withdrawal plan that was slammed by all sides, they became impossible to ignore.
May will remain as caretaker prime minister the Conservative Party picks someone from its ranks to serve as party leader and prime minister.
The process of finding a new leader will begin the week after her resignation, and could take up to six weeks.
Up to a dozen prominent Conservative party members have indicated they are seriously considering running. May’s former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who was one of the faces of the 2016 Leave campaign, is currently the front-runner.
Cover: British Prime Minister Theresa May reacts as she makes a speech in the street outside 10 Downing Street in London, England, Friday, May 24, 2019. Theresa May says she'll quit as UK Conservative leader on June 7, sparking contest for Britain's next prime minister. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)