On 24 May 2019, Theresa May announced her resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

In a tearful speech before 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister May confirmed that she would be leaving office on 6 June 2019:

Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as Prime Minister, I have striven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for a privileged few, but for everyone.

And to honour the result of the EU referendum.

Back in 2016, we gave the British people a choice.

Against all predictions, the British people voted to leave the European Union.

I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide.

I have done my best to do that.

I negotiated the terms of our exit and a new relationship with our closest neighbours that protects jobs, our security and our Union.

I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal.

Sadly, I have not been able to do so.

I tried three times.

I believe it was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high.

But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort.

So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen.

The narrative that honouring the result of the referendum is impossible without a deal, what is after all a secondary issue, is part of the reason that the Prime Minister is here today. The referendum question, as put to the British public, focused merely on withdrawal from the European Union. The question of the future nature of our economic, customs and trade relations with the European Union after Brexit are a secondary issue. Leaving the European Union was the one thing that the UK can control as a sovereign nation, and therefore was the only proper object of a referendum question. Everything else relies on the cooperation of the parties on the other side of the negotiating table.

I have agreed with the Party Chairman and with the Chairman of the 1922 Committee that the process for electing a new leader should begin in the following week.

I have kept Her Majesty the Queen fully informed of my intentions, and I will continue to serve as her Prime Minister until the process has concluded.

It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.

It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum.

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.

For many years the great humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton – who saved the lives of hundreds of children by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia through the Kindertransport – was my constituent in Maidenhead.

At another time of political controversy, a few years before his death, he took me to one side at a local event and gave me a piece of advice.

He said, ‘Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise.’

He was right.

As we strive to find the compromises we need in our politics – whether to deliver Brexit, or to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland – we must remember what brought us here.

The Prime Minister must had a difficult hand trying to build consensus in a Remain Parliament prior to commencing negotiations with the European Union, and being unable to persuade her own party that they would never be forgiven for failing to deliver a deal. It seems increasingly clear that the British people will punish remainers in Parliament more generally for their inability to keep their promise.

Because the referendum was not just a call to leave the EU but for profound change in our country.

Er, no. It was a call to leave the EU.

A call to make the United Kingdom a country that truly works for everyone. I am proud of the progress we have made over the last three years.

We have completed the work that David Cameron and George Osborne started: the deficit is almost eliminated, our national debt is falling and we are bringing an end to austerity.

There is a deep irony in ending austerity when the economy is generally in good shape, and the deficit has almost been eliminated. Surely this shows that the policy works! Why not press forward to eliminate the national debt, and start building foreign currency and precious metals reserves?

My focus has been on ensuring that the good jobs of the future will be created in communities across the whole country, not just in London and the South East, through our Modern Industrial Strategy.

We have helped more people than ever enjoy the security of a job.

We are building more homes and helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder – so young people can enjoy the opportunities their parents did.

And we are protecting the environment, eliminating plastic waste, tackling climate change and improving air quality.

Security; freedom; opportunity.

Those values have guided me throughout my career.

But the unique privilege of this office is to use this platform to give a voice to the voiceless, to fight the burning injustices that still scar our society.

That is why I put proper funding for mental health at the heart of our NHS long-term plan.

It is why I am ending the postcode lottery for survivors of domestic abuse.

It is why the Race Disparity Audit and gender pay reporting are shining a light on inequality, so it has nowhere to hide.

And that is why I set up the independent public inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower – to search for the truth, so nothing like it can ever happen again, and so the people who lost their lives that night are never forgotten.

Because this country is a Union.

Not just a family of four nations.

But a union of people – all of us.

Whatever our background, the colour of our skin, or who we love.
We stand together.

And together we have a great future.

Our politics may be under strain, but there is so much that is good about this country. So much to be proud of. So much to be optimistic about.

I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold – the second female Prime Minister but certainly not the last.

I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.

So plenty of left-wing, intersectional virtue signalling from our supposedly centre-right Prime Minister. It should be acknowledged that the Prime Minister’s record on the economy has been strong, although perhaps she has been fortunate to govern during a time when the global economy generally is strong. Her successor may not be so lucky. Her successor also inherits a narrow majority in Parliament, and an opposition determined not to give the Conservatives any victories. Theresa May’s successor is going to have to be a political operator of preeminent talent to turn around a party, a house and a country in seriously need of revitalisation.

 

Transcript source: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-statement-in-downing-street-24-may-2019. 

 Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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