The British Prime Minister Theresa May will resign as party leader on 7 June. This communicated the conservative politician on Friday in London. Your days as Prime Minister are numbered. During the state visit of US President Donald Trump (3 to 5 June) she will still be in office. She announced that she would continue her duties until a successor was elected.
May’s position has been shaky for a long time. It has been under massive pressure from several sides – not least from EU-friendly MPs and Brexit hardliners in their own Conservative Party. The country also remained deeply divided over the almost three years since the Brexit referendum in advocates and opponents of the EU exit.
May failed in parliament three times with the exit agreement that she had negotiated with Brussels. A fourth vote seemed already within reach, but it will probably not come to that.
In a recent desperate attempt to gain a majority, she even offered a parliamentary referendum vote on her Brexit deal and made concessions to the opposition Labor party. Thus she brought for her inner party opponents the cask to overflow.
With Brussels, she had agreed on a postponement of the EU exit by 31 October at the latest. Whether this deadline can be met or even threatens a chaotic withdrawal from the European Union, is uncertain.
The field of potential successors is large. The best chances are given to former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. He is trusted by many to recapture disappointed Brexit voters. The Conservative party is threatened with a rude awakening on Sunday night when the results of the European elections are announced. Recent polls had seen the Brexit party of Nigel Farage at just under 40 percent. The Tories bobbed in the single digits.
A Brexit hardliner like Johnson on Downing Street should also make it difficult to reach an agreement with Brussels on the withdrawal in time. In addition, it is unclear whether Johnson would be able to govern with the current majority in parliament. May led since the early parliamentary election in June 2017, a minority government, which was supported by the Northern Irish Protestant DUP. But that was just enough.
May had called the election itself, because they wanted to expand their majority – this went completely wrong. The British may soon have to vote again on a new parliament.
Also throwing their hat in the ring are reportedly ex-Brexit Minister Dominic Rennie Raab, Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, Interior Minister Sajid Javid and Development Minister Rory Stewart. Environment Minister Michael Gove has long been seeking the office of head of government. Andrea Leadsom and Defense Minister Penny Mordaunt, who resigned from their post as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs on Wednesday, are also considered to be potential successors to May.
May had already been written off. But she held on to her with astonishing stamina, possibly because it seemed almost impossible to do her job. Several times, their position seemed to consolidate. Each time there were setbacks.
With her Brexit course she had to take one defeat after the next. In mid-January, the deputies crushed the deal, which they had negotiated with Brussels, with 432 to 202 votes, two months later, the contract package fell despite 391 to 242 votes negotiated with Brussels again by. At the end of March, she received the third no: The contract was again rejected with 344 to 286 votes.
Twice the prime minister had to face a motion of no confidence: once in her group and once in parliament. Although she survived both votes, her authority was clearly damaged.
Several ministers retired early in their dispute over their course from their cabinet, including Brexit Minister David Davis and his successor Dominic Raab and Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. Close allies such as Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green and Secretary of Defense Michael Fallon had to take the hat off because of harassment allegations. Defense Minister Gavin Williamson scandalized her for allegedly providing confidential information from a National Security Council meeting to the press. Now it’s time for you to go.