It’s been a journey’: Theresa May breaks down in tears AGAIN behind closed doors minutes after resigning as she is applauded by staff and thanks ‘her rock’ husband Philip
- PM spent the night at home in Berkshire with her husband Philip before returning to Downing Street today
- Theresa May announced plans to step aside as Tory leader on June 7 and leave No10 over the summer
- Mrs May began the day with a meeting with the Tories’ backbench 1922 shop steward Sir Graham Brady
- She then address the nation from Downing Street to explain why she has decided to leave ‘the job I love’
- Having been overcome by emotion during the speech she then became tearful as she thanked staff inside
- Mrs May paid tribute to her ‘rock’ husband Philip and spoke of the ‘journey’ she had been on in speech to aides
Theresa May repeatedly broke down in tears today as she admitted her Brexit-wracked premiership is coming to an end – first on live TV and then behind closed doors.
Watched by husband Philip, the Prime Minister was overcome by emotion on the steps of Downing Street as she conceded that her desperate struggle to get the UK out of the EU will end in failure.
‘I’ve done my best,’ she said. ‘I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal … sadly I have not been able to do so.
‘It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.’
Mrs May was almost unable to continue as she voiced her pride at having served the country. She declared she will resign as Conservative leader on June 7, triggering a contest that should be complete by the end of July.
And there were more tears when she went back inside No10, as she paid tribute to her ‘rock’ husband during an address thanking her staff and advisers. MailOnline understands Mrs May welled up when she said of her time in office, ‘it’s been a journey’.
The dramatic scenes came after Mrs May’s last-ditch effort to get her EU deal through the Commons backfired spectacularly. Tories were up in arms and the Cabinet mounted an open revolt after she offered MPs a vote on holding a second referendum and joining a temporary customs union with the EU.
The PM humiliatingly pulled her Withdrawal Agreement Bill – known as WAB – yesterday after accepting the reality of her demise.
Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful Tory 1922 committee, met her in No10 this morning. He had been instructed by Tory backbenchers to enforce an exit date if Mrs May refused to volunteer one, with MPs threatening to change party rules to allow a fresh no-confidence vote.
Jeremy Corbyn immediately seized on the news to demand a general election, saying the Conservatives were ‘divided and disintegrating’.
Boris Johnson also kicked off the Tory leadership battle by declaring that the UK should leave the EU on October 31 ‘deal or no deal’ – while Jeremy Hunt confirmed today that he will be a candidate.
But despite the brutal assault on her position from her own side, there was an outpouring of sympathy today after Mrs May finally fell on her sword.
Mr Johnson paid tribute to her ‘stoical service to our country’, urging politicians to ‘follow her urgings’ by ‘coming together to deliver Brexit’.
Andrea Leadsom, whose resignation as Commons Leader put the final nail in Mrs May’s political coffin, tweeted: ‘A very dignified speech by @theresa_may. An illustration of her total commitment to country and duty. She did her utmost, and I wish her all the very best.’
David Cameron also weighed in, describing it as a ‘strong and brave speech’.
The Prime Minister announced her departure in an emotional statement on the steps of Downing Street today
The premier walked back through the famous black door as the country digested the impending end of her premiership
Philip May (pictured centre) looked as though he was suppressing an urge to comfort his wife as she made her speech. After her notorious coughing conference speech in 2017 he leapt on stage to embrace her at the end
Last night the PM chose to stay at her constituency home in Berkshire mulling her exit strategy with her husband Philip – who was yesterday urged by Brexiteers to tell his wife her time is up. However, she is thought to have made up her mind up to quit earlier this week.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW THAT THERESA MAY HAS RESIGNED? KEY DATES FOR BREXIT
- June 7 – Theresa May formally steps down
- June 10 – Tory leadership contest begins
- The battle to succeed Mrs May as Tory leader should formally kick off early in June.
- Nominations to stand will close in the week beginning June 10 before it is put to several rounds of votes.
- Any MP – apart from the ousted leader – is eligible to stand in the subsequent contest as long as they get two MPs to nominate them.
- The final two candidates are then offered to the Tory membership at large for an election.
- From 24 June – Top Two Tory candidates are offered to Tory members
Once Tory MPs have whittled the leadership contenders down to the top two in a series of votes – the lucky two will be be put to a vote by Conservative Party members. It could take two to six weeks for MPs to whittle down the leadership contenders
- July 26 – New Tory leader selected and becomes PM
- The Tory party hierarchy has said it wants a new Tory party leader to be selected by the Parliamentary recess – which is likely to be on July 26
- September 29-October 2 – Conservative Party conference
The Tory gathering in Manchester this autumn will be the natural time for a new leader to take the stage and try to unite the fractured party.
Assuming no way has been found to force a Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament by this point, they will need to spell out how they intend to approach the Brexit process.
- October 31 – Britain leaves the EU?
The Brexit extension Mrs May thrashed out with the EU expires on October 31.
Unless another postponement can be agreed, the UK is still scheduled to leave the bloc at this point.
Mrs May returned to Downing Street just before 9am, where she met her closest aides, including chief of staff Gavin Barwell director of communications Robbie Gibb, and political secretary Stephen Parkison.
They went through the text of her momentous statement – which was drafted by her young speechwriter Keelan Carr, who wrote the well-received address to Tory conference last year.
Aides said Mrs May showed few nerves before stepping out to deliver the words. ‘She tends not to show nerves,’ one told Mail Online. ‘She has been doing this for a very long time, she is a pro.’
Mrs May said it had been the ‘honour of my life’ to be PM, and she hoped she would not be the last woman to lead the country.
In a parting shot at the bitter Brexit divisions that have blighted her time in office, she urged MPs from all parties to remember that ‘compromise is not a dirty word’.
Having delivered her painful message, she then hurried back through the famous black No10 doors and was immediately whisked away via the back exit.
After she had done the deed, Mrs May was clapped back into No10 by staff who had gathered in the entrance hall.
She was heard expressing regret that she had been overcome by emotion. But one aide said the show of tears should be ‘one in the eye for the Maybot reputation’. ‘It has always been a nonsense,’ the source told MailOnline.
Mrs May then made a speech to a room of special advisers, thanking them for their hard work over the past few years. And she paid tribute in particular to her ‘rock’ Philip May.
An aide who was there said: ‘She held it together quite well but at the end when she was thanking Philip she was a bit tearful.’
‘Hopefully what will happen is she will stand down as Tory leader, I think, on or before June 10, and she will hopefully remain as caretaker prime minister until such time as a new Tory leader is elected,’ they said. ‘My feeling is that she will stay until June 10.’ The source said a new leader would ideally be in place by the end of the summer to get a Brexit deal through parliament before October 31.