British PM Apologizes for Brexit Failure, Quits

Theresa May will step down on June 7
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2019 4:21 AM CDT
Updated May 24, 2019 6:57 AM CDT
Theresa May Says She Will Resign in 2 Weeks
British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in the street outside 10 Downing Street in London, England, Friday, May 24, 2019.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Theresa May announced Friday that she will step down as UK Conservative Party leader on June 7, admitting defeat in her attempt to take Britain out of the EU and sparking a contest for Britain's next prime minister. She will stay as caretaker prime minister until the new leader is chosen, a process likely to take several weeks, the AP reports. The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election, and will take up the task of trying to secure Britain's exit from the EU. At a press conference outside 10 Downing Street, May apologized for her failure to deliver Brexit, the Guardian reports. "I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal ... sadly I have not been able to do so," she said. She said it had been the honor of her life to be "the second female prime minister, but certainly not the last."

May became prime minister the month after Britons voted in June 2016 to leave the EU, and her premiership has been consumed by the attempt to deliver on that verdict. "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," May said. "I have done my best to do that. ... 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." Multiple contenders are already jockeying to replace her and take up the challenge of securing Britain's EU exit. The early front-runner is Boris Johnson, a former foreign secretary and strong champion of Brexit.

(More Theresa May stories.)

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