The end of May

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday 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. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

The 7th June will mark the end of May. Following a roller-coaster three year premiership, May announced her resignation in a statement, thus triggering a contest that will bring a new leader to power who is likely to push for a more decisive Brexit divorce deal. May broke down in her delivery of a short statement in front of 10 Downing street, affirming her love for her country.

After a crisis-riven premiership of almost three years, May is due to meet the chairman of the powerful Conservative 1922 Committee, which can make or break prime ministers, to set out a timetable for her departure.

Ministers expect May to make a statement by mid-morning.

Theresa May dejected, entering car
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street, as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

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

She endured repeated 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 treasurer of the 1922 Committee, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, said he expected May would stay on as a caretaker prime minister while a successor was chosen.

The leadership election is likely to last about six weeks, starting on June 10, after U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain.

May’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 May all want a tougher divorce deal, although the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Treaty it sealed in November.

Boris Johnson, the face of the official Brexit campaign in 2016, is the favourite to succeed May. Betting markets put a 40% implied probability on Johnson winning the top job.

Others tipped by betting markets are Dominic Raab, a Brexit supporter and former Brexit secretary. Betting markets put a 14% implied probability on his chances.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, former House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt each have a 7% probability, according to betting markets.

Betting markets give Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart each a 4% chance of the top job while Home Secretary (interior minister) Sajid Javid has a 3% chance.