Theresa May resigns.- Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt top the tentative list to succeed her

This morning Theresa May announced she has decided to step down as the Leader of the Conservative Party on next 7th June. She will remain as the interim PM of the UK till a new leader is chosen by the Conservative Party.

“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour 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.”
May explained the reason why she was resigning is her fail to deliver on Brexit: “I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal.S adly, 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.”

Theresa May while announcing she will resign today. Caption from the live video published by the Office of the Prime Minister 10 Downing Street.

Interim PM till Conservatives select a successor able to deliver Brexit

Holding back the tears, May informed what is happening next: “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 honours the result of the referendum,” underlined Theresa May. So, the idea is keeping on with the 50 Article procedure and finding the needed consensus for the House of Commons to pass the Brexit deal.
But nothing is granted and should a hard brexiter succeed Theresa May as PM a “divorce” with no deal seems more than possible.

At least six potential candidates to take the PM’d seat: Four brexiters and two for UK’s stay

Boris Johnson (brexiter -54 years old-), Dominic Raab (brexiter -45 years old), Michael Gove (brexiter 51 years old), Jeremy Hunt (against Brexit -52 years old-), Sajid Javid (against Brexit -49 years old-) and the 56 years old Andrea Leadsom (brexiter that resigned from May’s Cabinet last 22nd May just before the PM made her presentation of the Brexit Lay before the House of Commons) are presented by most media among the best positioned among the potential candidates to run for May’s current seat.

Left to right.- Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 11th June 2007). Photo by Chris McAndrew under a CC BY 3.0 lisense. Dominic Raab (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union from 9 July 2018 to 15 November 2018). Photo by Chris McAndrew under a CC BY 3.0 lisense. Sajid Javid (Home Secretary since 30th April 2018). Photo by UK Parliament under CC BY 3.0 lisense

With over 30 years of political career, the 62 years old Theresa May campaigned against the withdrawal from the EU at the referendum on Brexit held in 2016. Despite this she was selected to succeed David Cameron after his resignation due to the brexiters win in the poll. As the leader of the Conservative party and the new PM of the UK May held the torch of delivering Brexit to the voters, under a “Brexit means Brexit” approach, she has wideley talked about  during her tenure.

Among all the potential candidates, both Johnson (supporter of Brexit even with no withdrawal deal) and Hunt (voted to remain in the EU in 2016) seem the better positioned to succeed May.

Left.- Boris Johnson ( till Summer 2018 Secretary of Estate, head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office).Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office under a Creative Commons 2.0 lisense. Right.- Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs since 9th July 2018). Photo by Chris McAndrew under a Creative Commons 3.0 lisense

Former London Mayor, Boris Johnson holds both the US and the brittish nationality and has more than once said that UK should not be affraid to leave the European Union without an exit agreement.

He shows skeptical on the total integration path chosen by the European Union : ” The US has a single culture, a single language, a single and powerful global brand, and a single government that commands national allegiance. It has a national history, a national myth, a demos that is the foundation of their democracy. The EU has nothing of the kind. In urging us to embed ourselves more deeply in the EU’s federalising structures, the Americans are urging us down a course they would never dream of going themselves. That is because they are a nation conceived in liberty. They sometimes seem to forget that we are quite fond of liberty, too.”

All the potential candidates, except Hunt, tweeted today praising Theresa May, calling for unity within the Conservative Party and delivering Brexit.

Johnson said: “A very dignified statement from @theresa_may. Thank you for your stoical service to our country and the Conservative Party. It is now time to follow her urgings: to come together and deliver Brexit.”

Despite Boris Johnson seems the favorite successor, some members of the conservatives, he generates some kind of mistrust among some members of the Party.

Jeremy Hunt is the only potential candidate who has not referred to delivering Brexit on his tweets on May’s resignation.

“Speaking to a packed house in Haslemere Festival today: An historic day with the announcement of the PM’s resignation. Proud to pay tribute to her for the remarkable service she has shown our country. Now we need to put aside Brexit differences and unite party and country,” says Hunt’s tweet.

He has pointed many times that he would never support a Brexit without agreement.

No tweet today by Andrea Leadsom, but the resignation letter to Theresa May sets clearly her position: “I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the referendum result, for the following reasons:

1. I do not believe that we will be a truly sovereign United Kingdom through the deal that is now proposed;

Andrea Leadsom (Leader of the House of Commons for the Conservative Party). Photo from Wikimedia Commons by Chris McAndrew under CC BY 3.0 Creative Commons lisense

2. I have always maintained that a second referendum would dangerously divise, and I do n ot support the Government willingly facilitatinsg such concession. It would also risk undermining our Union which is something I passionately want to see strengthened.

3. There has been such a breakdown of government processes that recent Brexit related legislative proposals have not been properly scrutinised or approved by Cabinet members;

4. The tolerance to those in Cabinet who have advocated policies contrary to the Government’s position has led to a complete breakdown of collective responsibility.

“I know there are elections tomorrow, and many Conservatives have worked hard to support our excellent candidates. I considered carefully the timing of this decission, but I cannot fulfil my duty as leader of the House tomorrow, to announce a Bill with new elements that I fundamentally oppose”

The House of Commons has informed today on the procedure to select the person who will succeed May at the head of the Conservative Party and take on the Prime Minister position.

The procedure consists of two stages:

1. Conservative Members of Parliament select a choice of two candidates to present to the membership of the whole Party;

2. Party members vote, on a “one member one vote” basis, for their preferred candidate from a shortlist of two.
Should there be more than two candidates, the two to be voted by all affiliates are determined by the Executive of the 1922 Committee in consultation with the Conservative Party Board.

The EU will not negotiate a new withdrawal deal

The EU keeps their mind on Brexit deal. The agreement reached is the only one in place to be executed. .
Mina Andreeva EU Commission Official spokesperson said today at a press briefing: “The assumption is that Brexit happens on October 31st…EU is ready whichever the scenario may be”.

Jean-Claude Juncker (Presidente EU COmmission), Donald Tusk (Presidet of the EU Council) and Michel Barnier (Chief negociator for Brexit on behalf of the EU) have made crystal clear once and another that the EU will not renegotiate de withdrawal agreement.

Corbyn keeps calling for general elections

On his side, the leader of the Labour Party reiterates his call for general elections whoever becomes may’s successor.
The Leader of the opposition tweeted just some few hours ago: “Theresa May is right to resign. She’s now accepted what the country’s known for months: she can’t govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.

Jeremy Corbyn (Lider del Partido Laborista y de la oposición) en la Cámara de los Comunes Británica ael 22 de mayo de 201922nd May 2019. Captura del video oficial de la sesión en la Cámara de los Comunes.. © Cámara de los Comunes del reino Unido.
Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the Labour Party and of the oposition) at The House of Commons on 22nd May 2019. Caption of the official video of The House of Commons. © The House of Commons.

Whoever becomes the new Tory leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate General Election.”
So no second vote would be in principle supported by the Labour Party MPs.

Resignation against the EU Parliament poll backdrop

In this context and with no second vote in the horizon, the results of the elections to the EU Parliament,  would be a good way to know if most british citizens still support Brexit or else they prefer to stay in the EU.

At least this is the opinion of the Conservative Party Members of the Parliament. This group tweeted on 23rd May: “Polls are now open. Vote for Conservative MEPs to show you want to get a Brexit deal delivered as soon as possible.”

NewRiverChildrensCentre polling station for 2019 EU ellections at Canonbury (London UK). Photo by RUSS [CC0] through WEikimedia under the available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
On the other side, Corbyn’s and the Labour Party’s official approach to the EU parliament elections was that of restoring the unity accross the country.

“Tomorrow, a vote for Labour is a vote to bring our country together, whether you voted Leave or Remain in 2016” tweeted the leader of the Labour Party on 22nd May.

Image over the headline.- Theresa May while announcing she will resign today. Caption from the live video published by the Office of the Prime Minister 10 Downing Street.

Related Eastwind links:

Brexit.- May will let Parliament decide if a referendum is needed to approve the EU Withdrawal Bill

Theresa May faces motion of no confidence after sound defeat on Brexit deal

Brexit.- May welcomes Tusk and Juncker’s letter, while Gareth Johnson adds another resignation to May’s Cabinet related to Brexit deal

Brexit.- EU 27 will just start off negotiations after the withdrawal agreement is approved by UK Parliament

Brexit.- DUP denies support to the Withdrawal Agreement under current terms

Related external links:

Theresa May resigns before the frontdoor of Downing Street (video)

May’s resignation speech (transcript)

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