UK's May quits as party leader


UKs May quits as party leader

London - May took office after the shock 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.


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Published: Fri 7 Jun 2019, 10:18 PM

Last updated: Sat 8 Jun 2019, 12:23 AM

British Prime Minister Theresa May steps down as leader of her Conservative Party on Friday, formally triggering the race for a successor who will try where she failed to deliver Brexit.
May will remain prime minister until a new leader is chosen, likely in late July, but will make no further moves on Britain's tortuous departure from the European Union.
Brexit is still scheduled for October 31 but while the contenders thrash it out over the leadership, the project remains stalled, with the only divorce plan agreed with Brussels rejected in parliament.
May took office after the shock 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU and has spent the past three years working on a departure plan, delaying Brexit twice to try to get the deal through.
But she finally acknowledged defeat in a tearful resignation speech last month, the culmination of months of political turmoil that had slowly sapped her authority.
Eleven Conservative MPs have declared their intention to stand to replace her, including former foreign minister Boris Johnson, but some are expected to drop out before Monday's deadline for nominations.
The winner will have only a few months to decide whether to try to salvage May's plan, delay Brexit again - or sever ties with Britain's closest trading partner with no agreement at all.
"She remains prime minister for a good few weeks yet," May's spokesman insisted, noting that any successor must meet Queen Elizabeth II and assure the head of state that they have the support of enough lawmakers to take over.
She will remain as acting leader of the Conservatives.
Johnson, a leading campaigner in the 2016 referendum who quit the government last year over May's plan, is among several would-be candidates who say they are willing to leave the EU without a deal if necessary.
Johnson cleared one hurdle on Friday by fending off a legal action brought by a citizen who accuses him of misconduct in public office for making misleading statements during the 2016 campaign about how much money Britain sends to the EU.
Judge Michael Supperstone said the High Court was "quashing the decision of the district judge" to summons the former foreign secretary, bringing an end to the case. 

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