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Theresa May to resign as UK Prime Minister

Theresa May tears up as she announces resignation
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What we're covering here

  • Theresa May confirms resignation: The embattled Prime Minister will quit as party leader on June 7, she said on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street on Friday.
  • Race to replace May: Her announcement will trigger a leadership contest, with several Conservative MPs tipped to run. The winner will be Britain’s next PM.
  • Brexit crisis: She’s faced massive criticism for failing to deliver her flagship policy of leaving the European Union, missing two Brexit deadlines.
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After defying political gravity for three years, Theresa May brought her tortured tenure as prime minister to a close on Friday.

“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold,” she said outside Downing Street, her voice quivering in the morning sunshine. And with that, she’s off – or at least she will be later in the summer, once a new Conservative leader is elected.

Her statement sets up a few more hectic weeks of political drama in Westminster. For now, though, we’re following May’s lead and getting out of here.

Thanks for following our live coverage.

May called "disgraceful" for Grenfell mention

Theresa May has been criticized for referring in her resignation speech to the Grenfell Tower fire, a disaster that will be remembered as a low point in her tenure.

While listing her domestic achievements in the statement on Friday, May said: “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.”

She added that she used her premiership “to fight the burning injustices that still scar our society.”

72 people died when the tower block in west London caught fire in July 2017, and May was heavily criticized for Conservative policies before the disaster and her slow response in the aftermath.

That criticism intensified after her resignation speech. “Many of the underlying issues at Grenfell were due to unsafe conditions that had been allowed to fester under Tory governments,” Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said in a statement.

“For the outgoing Prime Minister to suggest that her awful response to Grenfell is a proud part of her legacy is, frankly, disgraceful,” he added.

Emma Dent Coad, the Labour MP of the London borough in which Grenfell Tower is located, added: “From the first day of her awkward visit to Grenfell, to her last day congratulating herself for failures, Theresa May should be ashamed of her actions and lack of leadership.”

Theresa May's most strong and stable soundbites

May wasn’t particularly noted for going off-script, but her interviews and speeches provided a number of memorable quotes. Here’s a collection of her greatest hits.

“Brexit means Brexit”: Sometimes but not always followed with the pay-off “And we’re going to make a success of it,” May gave the public a first glimpse of her tendency to repeat pre-prepared soundbites with this classic number, which is simultaneously crystal clear and entirely meaningless.

“No deal is better than a bad deal”: May set out her hardline credentials ahead of her negotiations with the EU, repeating over and over again that she was willing to walk away from discussions with no deal.

“Red, white and blue Brexit”: It’s easy to forget, but the early days of the Brexit process were dominated by politicians discussing the various different colors, textures and shapes that Brexit could take. There was a hard Brexit and a soft Brexit, a black Brexit and a white Brexit, and May’s offer: “I want a red, white and blue Brexit,” she told reporters in late 2016.

“Citizens of nowhere”: May infuriated Remainers in her 2016 speech at the Conservative Party conference, telling a packed hall: “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means.”

“Strong and stable”: The mind-numbing slogan of her 2017 general election campaign, May’s favorite soundbite became synonymous with her robotic style once she started to slide in the polls. She quickly discarded her promise of “strong and stable leadership in the national interest,” but not before it had received the social media treatment.

“Fields of wheat”: While campaigning during that election, May was asked an admittedly tricky question by an ITV reporter: “What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?”. “Oh goodness me,” she replied, a look of genuine terror falling across her face. “Well I suppose… gosh,” she offered, before finally settling on her answer. “I have to confess when me and my friends used to run through the fields of wheat, the farmers weren’t too pleased about that.” The comment, which didn’t exactly scream “woman of the people,” was widely mocked and partially defined her disastrous campaign.

Tears, U-turns and Abba: Theresa May's defining moments

It began with promise and ended in tears: An emotional Theresa May finally announced the end of her short but tumultuous tenure as the UK’s prime minister on Friday, her voice quivering as she spoke.

May’s three-year term saw a disastrous general election, two no confidence motions, a series of torturous negotiations with the EU and a handful of geopolitical crises.

But while her failure to deliver Brexit is certain to define her legacy, she’ll be remembered for far more besides.

The honeymoon: May was swept into power after a condensed leadership contest, profiting from David Cameron’s resignation in the wake of the Brexit vote. Riding high in opinion polls throughout a lengthy honeymoon period, May promised to secure a positive Brexit deal from the European Union – but threatened to walk away from discussions if she couldn’t get one.

Cozying up to Trump: A few months into her tenure, May became the first major world leader to visit the new US President in January 2017. But her visit was dominated in the British media by an unfortunate photograph of her walking hand-in-hand with the President, who is unpopular in the UK.

Humiliation at the polls: The turning point of May’s premiership was a catastrophic snap general election in June 2017. Hoping to capitalize on her lead in opinion polls, May’s gamble wiped away her parliamentary majority and irreparably damaged her authority.

A woeful campaign, which saw a U-turn over a so-called dementia tax, a damaging refusal to take part in TV debates, and a series of uninspiring slogans including the quickly meme-ified “strong and stable,” allowed Jeremy Corbyn to upset the odds and force May into a minority government propped up by the DUP. She shed “a little tear” on election night, she later told the BBC.

May meets with firefighters after the Grenfell Tower fire -- but her initial failure to meet survivors prompted criticism.

Response to Grenfell: Days after May’s embarrassment at the ballot box, people around the country watched in horror as Grenfell Tower in west London was engulfed in flames. To many, the disaster in one of Britain’s richest boroughs highlighted economic inequalities that had been central to the campaign – and when May was severely criticized for not meeting with survivors in the wake of the fire, it seemed her new term could be over within days.

Two contrasting conference speeches: May survived the ensuing months, but her position remained fragile when she took to the stage at the Conservative Party conference in 2017. That speech was billed as the biggest of her career – but a crippling cough, a protester handing her a P45 form, and a set that fell apart behind her back combined to turn the event into a comedy of errors.

A year later, in late 2018, May returned to the stage with a flourish. Making light of her widely-mocked dance moves, she strutted out to Abba’s classic “Dancing Queen” before delivering a strong speech. May rarely seemed to be having the time of her life as prime minister, but her musical entrance won a few doubters over.

Salisbury poisoning: The prime minister won plaudits for her response to the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018. While opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn wavered over blaming Russia, May coordinated an unequivocal response that had the backing of international partners including the US.

…and, of course, Brexit: Ultimately, however, May’s premiership will be associated with Brexit. Her unpopular pact with the EU, unveiled at a fiery cabinet away day at her Chequers country home, signaled the beginning of the end of her tenure, prompting a rash of resignations from her front bench and leading to three historically crushing defeats in Parliament.

On Friday, the Dancing Queen confirmed the inevitable – and accepted she had met her Waterloo.

UK should prepare for no-deal Brexit, Johnson says

Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace May as prime minister, has told an economic conference in Switzerland that Britain should be prepared to leave the EU with no deal.

“We will leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal,” he said, according to Reuters.

“The way to get a good deal is to prepare for a no deal,” Johnson added. Economists have warned of the financial impact of a no-deal split, but most of the Conservative leadership prospects have supported such a scenario.

Head of backbenchers group resigns to consider run

Graham Brady, the head of the influential 1922 Committee of backbenchers, has left his post – and is considering a run for party leader.

It was Brady who met with May on Friday morning, giving her an opportunity to resign before his mutinous group changed its rules to force her out.

“I have been approached by a number of colleagues across the party both inside and outside Parliament asking me to put myself forward as a candidate,” he said, according to Britain’s Press Association.

“Therefore I have taken the decision to stand down from the position of chairman of the 1922 Committee in order to ensure a fair and transparent election process.

“I am considering the approaches I have received and will make a furtherstatement in due course. I informed Number 10 and the chairman of the Conservative Party of this this morning,” he said.

Brexit has trashed the pound. May's resignation offers no relief

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s resignation is unlikely to end a tough run for the pound, which has fallen steadily this month as the risk of a damaging no-deal Brexit rises.

The pound edged higher to almost $1.27 on Friday following May’s announcement that she’ll step down in June after failing in her bid to secure Britain’s exit from the European Union.

But sterling has dropped 2.9% this month against the US dollar and is the worst performer of the world’s 10 major currencies. It’s also been on a losing streak against the euro, and there’s little sign of the pressure easing up any time soon.

That’s because whoever succeeds May as prime minister will face the same Brexit nightmare. The European Union has said it’s done discussing the terms of Britain’s departure. And the current deal, negotiated by May, faces seemingly insurmountable opposition in Britain’s parliament.

“To borrow a phrase, nothing has changed, or at least, very little has,” Edwin Morgan, the head of the Institute of Directors, a business lobby group, said in a statement. “A new leader will be faced with the same political challenges and the same economic realities.”

Corbyn repeats calls for general election

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has given an interview reacting to Theresa May’s resignation.

He rejected the suggestion that Labour had shot itself in the foot by rejecting her Brexit deal, potentially paving the way for a new leader who would embrace a harder Brexit.

“She wasn’t really offering concessions,” he said, adding that “a new Conservative leader isn’t really going to solve the problem” and calling for a snap general election.

The next leader will the the third Conservative prime minister to serve during Corbyn’s stint as leader of the opposition.

Boris Johnson is the frontrunner for PM but he'll face the same Brexit nightmare

After months of speculation, attempts to oust her and parliamentary defeats, the fate of Theresa May is finally sealed. But although there is clarity about her political career – now she has announced she will resign on June 7 and set the timetable to elect a new Prime Minister – the future of the Conservative Party, the government and the UK is far from clear.

All of this hinges now on who will be elected as May’s successor and that person’s position on Brexit.

That contest will formally start after May resigns on June 7, although the race has already unofficially begun. Until then, May has two weeks to perform her duties as Prime Minister, including a major state visit by US President Donald Trump and his family in the first week of June, which will take in a State Banquet with the Queen, as well as D-Day commemorations.

Even though May’s legacy, as the PM who failed to deliver Brexit, is already fixed, these final days will allow her to finesse that departure with some dignity.

In contrast to those ceremonial matters of state, a far dirtier, messier business is underway in Westminster: Conservative lawmakers fighting each other to be the next PM. Having been at each other’s throats over Brexit, a leadership contest will likely deepen those divisions. The task for the new leader is to bring the party together again.

Read more from Jane Merrick here.

Ex-PM David Cameron says he shares May's pain

Theresa May is the second consecutive prime minister to be toppled by Brexit. Her predecessor David Cameron, who quit hours after the results of the 2016 referendum were confirmed, has offered his sympathies, calling May’s speech “strong and brave.”

“I know how painful it is to accept that your time is up and a new leader is required,” he said, adding his hopes that her “spirit of compromise” is continued by the next PM.

A new PM will be in place by summer

Theresa May will officially step down as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, but she’ll remain Prime Minister until a new leader is elected. The party intends to replace May before Parliament rises for the summer on July 20, it said in a statement.

The process will have two stages – first, Tory MPs will decide on a shortlist of candidates to put contest the election. Nominations for that shortlist will close during the week starting June 10, the Conservative Party said in a statement.

There will be successive rounds of voting by MPs until the list is whittled down to a final choice of candidates. Then, those candidates will take part in a series of debates around the country.

“We are deeply conscious that the Conservatives are not just selecting the person best placed to become the new leader of our party, but also the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,” the statement said. “That is a solemn responsibility, particularly at such an important time for our nation.”

“We will therefore propose that the leadership election and hustings involve opportunities for non-members and people who may not yet vote Conservative to meet the candidates and put their questions to them too.”

The final choice will come down to the party’s tens of thousands of members.

Jacob Rees-Mogg quotes "Macbeth" after May resigns

Hardline Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, a longstanding critic of Theresa May’s, has responded to her resignation.

On his 50th birthday, the announcement will likely be the icing on his cake.

“‘Nothing in office became her like the leaving it’ An unquestionably dutiful person left with dignity and the Conservatives must now get on and deliver Brexit,” he wrote.

That’s a reference to a line spoken by Malcolm in Act I, Scene IV of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The full quote is:

“I have spoke
With one that saw him die: who did report
That very frankly he confess’d his treasons,
Implored your highness’ pardon and set forth
A deep repentance: nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it; he died
As one that had been studied in his death
To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
As ‘twere a careless trifle.”

Through three years of infighting, maneuvering and bitter divisions, May’s tenure in 10 Downing Street has frequently resembled a Shakespearean tragedy. The impending leadership contest is likely to bring more drama.

A legacy of failure: Theresa May was a disaster as Prime Minister

Europe has destroyed another British Prime Minister.

Three years after voters in the UK mandated their government to take Britain out of the European Union, Theresa May’s failure to do so has finally caught up with her.

“I have done my best,” she said in an emotional statement outside 10 Downing Street. But as she admitted, it wasn’t enough.

May’s legacy will be defined by failures, public humiliations and catastrophic political miscalculations. Some of these were out of her hands. Some were the result of poor advice from those she chose to surround herself with. Some were because of the unprecedented political crisis that would come to dominate her time in Downing Street.

But much of it was her own fault. Many of her decisions had a directly negative impact on her ability to lead. The problem for May wasn’t just that British politics has been deadlocked for the best part of three years, but that she repeatedly engineered ways to erode her own authority.

By the time she accepted her number was up, she had lost the confidence of MPs, members of her own party and even her own Cabinet.

Read more from Luke McGee on Theresa May’s legacy here.

May will still be PM to welcome Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump has picked an awkward time to make his first state visit to the UK.

He’s set to arrive on June 3, finally taking up May on the offer she made when she visited him in Washington days after his inauguration. He also came to the UK last year, but that was not a full state visit.

But May will officially step down as her party’s leader at the end of that week – and whether Trump will want to go ahead with meeting a lame duck leader remains to be confirmed.

Farage to Tories: Elect a Brexiteer or die

Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party and politician who has done more than most to push Britain toward leaving the European Union, said the Conservatives must elect an anti-EU leader.

Juncker watched May quit "without personal joy"

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, followed Theresa May’s resignation announcement “without personal joy,” his spokeswoman said.

“The president very much liked and appreciated working with Prime Minister May, and has said before Theresa May is a woman of courage for whom he has great respect,” the spokeswoman added.

“He will equally respect and establish working relations with any new prime minister, whomever they may be, without stopping his conversations with Prime Minister May.”

But he reiterated that the next leader will not be able to reopen May’s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. “Our position on the Withdrawal Agreement has been set out by my colleague yesterday. There is no change to that.

“We have set out our position on the Withdrawal Agreement and on the Political Declaration. The European Commission and the Article 50 format has set out its position and we remain available for anyone who will be the new prime minister.”

Juncker told CNN earlier this week that the Brexit uncertainty is harming not only the EU, but also the UK itself. “I hope they will agree among themselves, and they will leave (the EU) by the end of October … I think it’s their patriotic duty to get an agreement,” he said.

An excuse to ignore Brexit a little longer

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, has already called for a general election. “Whoever becomes the new Tory leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate General Election,” he said.

While calling for an election in the immediate aftermath of a prime minister’s resignation is hardly radical, the fact that Labour believes the best way to decide the country’s future is through a general election and not a second referendum is worth noting.

Corbyn has for months been under pressure from his party to clarify if he would formally back a second vote – in which Remain would be an option for voters.

Labour has been on election footing for some time and advisors have been privately saying that pushing the government to an election is their priority.

But while Labour is clearly confident that while the Conservative chaos is a huge opportunity, it’s far from clear that an election now wouldn’t return another hung parliament – in which no party has a majority.

Labour’s plan to bounce the country into an election might be a clever plot to make short-term immediate gains. But the consequences of a lengthy election campaign have an all-too-familiar whiff. Getting into the weeds of a national campaign will allow both parties to pretend Brexit isn’t happening, which is sort of how we ended up in this mess in the first place.

Boris Johnson is clear favorite among contenders to be next PM

Bookmakers have seen a flurry of betting on the UK’s next prime minister, in the minutes since Theresa May confirmed her resignation.

Boris Johnson leads the contest – he’s close to evens in the race, according to British betting website Oddschecker. In relative terms, the experts believe that Johnson’s chances of usurping his colleagues are as high as 47%, the company says.

And punters seem to be in agreement with the bookmakers – 41% of the bets made after May’s speech went on the former Foreign Secretary.

He’s followed by fellow hardline Brexiteer Dominic Raab, who quit as Brexit Secretary in protest over the deal May and the EU reached.

Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Andrea Leadsom are next in the pecking order. Penny Mordaunt, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart are similarly priced longshots.

Jeremy Corbyn: May is right to resign

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, said May was right to call it a day.

“She’s now accepted what the country’s known for months: she can’t govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party,” he adds, calling for her replacement to order a snap election.

In a longer post on Facebook, he added:

“The burning injustices she promised to tackle three years ago are even starker today.
The Conservative Party has utterly failed the country over Brexit and is unable to improve the lives of people in our country or deal with their most pressing needs.
Parliament is deadlocked and the Conservatives offer no solutions to the other major challenges facing our country.
The last thing the country needs is weeks of more Conservative infighting followed by yet another unelected Prime Minister.”

Boris Johnson: Time to deliver Brexit

Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace May as prime minister, says it’s time to follow May’s “urgings,” and come together to deliver Brexit.

Johnson has long held leadership ambitions but dramatically pulled out of the last leadership election, which May won.

Now could be the moment that the controversial former Foreign Secretary wins the big prize.

Read Theresa May's full statement

Here’s the full text of May’s emotional address.

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 honor 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 neighbors 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.
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 honors 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.
Because the referendum was not just a call to leave the EU but for profound change in our country. 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.
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.
This is what a decent, moderate and patriotic Conservative Government, on the common ground of British politics, can achieve - even as we tackle the biggest peacetime challenge any government has faced.
I know that the Conservative Party can renew itself in the years ahead. That we can deliver Brexit and serve the British people with policies inspired by our values. 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 color 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 honor 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.

Rivals fear what comes next

Several pro-Remain MPs have expressed concern about the next Conservative leader, fearing a hardline Brexiteer will send Britain hurtling towards a no-deal exit.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon says the election of a new leader is “deeply worrying.”

“The prospect of an even more hardline Brexiteer now becoming PM and threatening a no-deal exit is deeply concerning,” she added.

Economists have warned of the financial impact of a no-deal break, but most of the prominent Conservatives jockeying for position have advocated just that scenario.

Labour MP David Lammy said May’s tenure “was doomed” from the moment she attached herself to the hardliners in her party.

His colleague Jess Phillips said the next leader must avoid “pandering to their biases.”

Cabinet members praise May's "courage"

A number of May’s Cabinet members and colleagues are paying tribute to their boss after her emotional statement on the steps of 10 Downing Street. Amber Rudd, who has served as her Home Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary, said she had shown “great courage.”

Her Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called her a “true public servant.”

And Liz Truss, another potential candidate in the race to replace May, praised her for a “dignified statement.”

The moment May confirmed her exit

Here’s video of Theresa May’s speech, in which she announced the details of her departure as leader.

"I've done everything I can," May says, fighting tears

“I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back this deal,” May said of her attempts to pass a Brexit plan through Parliament.

“Sadly, I have not been able to do so – I tried three times,” she added. Her failure to do so will be her lasting legacy as prime minister. 

“I believe it was right to persevere….it is now clear to me that it is in the best interest of the country for a new PM to lead that effort,” May said.

She held back tears throughout the speech, but her voice croaked and May was visibly tearful as she came to her conclusion.

What happens now?

Theresa May is resigning as Conservative Party leader on June 7, but she’ll remain Prime Minister until a new leader of the Party has been elected.

It’s difficult to know how long that process will take. When May replaced David Cameron after he resigned in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum, the leadership election was accelerated because her final rival Andrea Leadsom dropped out.

With more candidates likely to run for the job, it’s possible the process could take longer – and May will remain as a lame duck leader for a few more weeks – a period in which US President Donald Trump will make a state visit to London.

Tearful May says being prime minister was the honor of her life

May lists what she sees as some of her domestic achievements during her three years as Prime Minister, and reminds reporters that she was the second female UK prime minister – but not the last.

“Our politics may be under strain, but there is so much that is good about this country.” She adds that she is leaving with no ill will.

She says it has been the honor of her life to hold the post of prime minister, holding back tears and choking up at the end of her statement as she says she has served the country she loves.

She leaves the lectern and returns to Downing Street. That’s the end of her statement.

BREAKING: Theresa May announces her resignation

Theresa May has announced she will step down as UK Prime Minister, after three bruising years that saw her fail to deliver Brexit.

May said Friday she would quit as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday June 7.

Her announcement triggers the start of a contest to replace her as Conservative leader and Prime Minister.

'I have done my best,' May says

“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 the privileged few but for everyone, and to honor the result of the referendum,” May says.

“I have done my best” to deliver Brexit, May says – but she has failed to do so.

“I have tried three times.”

May adds it is a matter of personal regret for her that she has failed to deliver on her flagship policy.

Downing Street sends reporters... nothing

Downing Street have confirmed Theresa May will be making a statement shortly. Unfortunately, their email to reporters – which was meant to include a copy of the speech – contained a large empty space.

“Please see below a Checked Against Delivery version of the Prime Minister’s statement this morning. This is for immediately release,” it says, ahead of some blank white space.

Either someone forgot to include an attachment, or the metaphors are in full flow inside Downing Street.

HAPPENING NOW: Theresa May making speech outside Downing Street

Theresa May is addressing reporters outside 10 Downing Street. It’s expected that she will confirm her resignation imminently.

Follow it here.

Tory MP quits post and calls for new leadership

It’s not exactly the big resignation that we’re all waiting for, but a Conservative MP has left her post and called for new leadership of the party.

Helen Grant quit as the party’s Vice Chair for Communities, saying she wants “actively and openly” to support one of the candidates for the Conservative leadership. She didn’t confirm whom she will be endorsing.

“The PM has, of course, said she will be leaving, a decision that I respect and believe to be right,” she added in her letter.

Theresa May is inside Downing Street

Theresa May arrived at 10 Downing Street via the back entrance this morning.

CNN has also seen Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis arriving at Downing Street.

Speculation is mounting that May will emerge later and announce details of her resignation to the waiting press.

"Time finally runs out" -- Friday's front pages

Several papers in Britain are splashing on Theresa May’s expected announcement on Friday. “May To Quit Today,” the Daily Mirror says on its front page – although it’s anticipated that May could hold on as caretaker PM until early June but confirm she’s stepping down as Conservative Party leader.

The Metro reports that furious MPs have pleaded with May’s husband Philip to encourage her to step down.

The Telegraph suggests Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is the latest Cabinet member to twist the knife on May, while the Guardian is already switching focus to the impending race for Tory leadership – in which Boris Johnson begins as the frontrunner.

Will Theresa May name date of exit?

Friday could be the day.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, bruised from three years of internal party disputes and unable to stem the tide of criticism over her unpopular Brexit bill, is expected to announce details of her resignation shortly.

She’s facing a showdown over her future on Friday morning with Graham Brady, the head of the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, whose mutinous MPs are likely to change their rules and force her out if she won’t clarify her exit strategy.

Yes, we’ve been here before – speculation has hovered over May’s head for most of her tenure – but the walls are closing in on her faster than ever before.

It could be a long day in Westminster.