Closed Theresa May becomes PM – as it happened

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Makes Her First Statement As The Country's New Leader

Theresa May has taken over as prime minister after David Cameron ended his six-year tenure. She becomes the second female prime minister of the UK 26 years after the first, Margaret Thatcher, resigned.

Mrs May has started to form her cabinet with key appointments announced late on Wedneday.

Key cabinet appointments

  • Philip Hammond becomes chancellor
  • David Davis takes on new role as secretary of state for Brexit
  • Boris Johnson becomes foreign secretary
  • Amber Rudd takes over as home secretary
  • Michael Fallon remains defence secretary
  • Liam Fox is appointed in a new role as international trade secretary

Welcome to our live coverage of David Cameron’s last day as Britain’s prime minister, during which he will take his final session of questions in parliament, before heading off to see the Queen.

The first news of the morning, however, comes from Labour. Owen Smith, MP for Pontypridd, has decided he too will challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the party leadership. We’ll have more on that shortly.

If you’re wondering who Owen Smith is, he looks like this:

He is on Twitter. Here’s him sending out his recent shadow cabinet resignation letter:

His constituency website is here.

Over in government, we’re expecting to see incoming PM Theresa May boost the number of women in the cabinet later today. Here’s a little slice of our full story:

Amber Rudd, a former banker and now energy secretary, has been tipped as a possible alternative for chancellor, as has international development secretary Justine Greening, a qualified accountant and former Treasury minister.

Mrs May will start forming her cabinet on Wednesday afternoon, promising there would be “more women in prominent positions”.

Female ministers also tipped for top jobs include home office minister Karen Bradley, and the former Tory leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom.

And as for the economy, there’s some bad news, via fastFT:

Corporate sentiment in the UK has “deteriorated out of all recognition” in the wake of the Brexit vote, according to a special edition of Swiss bank Credit Suisse’s corporate spending survey.

More companies are expecting to cut than raise spending for the first time since 2013, driven by a “collapse” in confidence in the UK, the bank’s survey shows.

Comedian Richard Herring comments on the expected women-heavy cabinet:

If you’re at a loss as to what he’s talking about, it’s the new all-female Ghostbusters reboot.

Owen Smith, the former shadow work and pensions spokesman, this morning joined the contest to be Labour leader, taking on Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Eagle, who declared on Monday.

The Welsh MP says he was never part of any “plots or coups” against Corbyn but he told the BBC’s Today programme there had been a “dramatic collapse of faith and confidence in Jeremy” in recent weeks.

He said that while Corbyn was “a good man,with great Labour values” he is “not a leader who can lead us into an election and win for Labour.”

Mr Smith said: “Working people in this country cannot afford to have a day like today when the Tories are popping champagne corks, and celebrating their coronation, and the prospect of a Labour government feels so distant.”

I’m not prepared to stand by and let the Labour party, the party that I love, that has been the greatest force for good in this country, split. It cannot happen.”

Quizzed by the BBC on his key policy positions, he said he would have voted against the Iraq war, although he was not in parliament at the time. He opposes any impeachment action against Tony Blair. He is in favour of Trident renewal.

If you’re in the mood for some light relief, BuzzFeed has put together this: If The Media Wrote About Theresa May’s Husband The Way They Write About Samantha Cameron.

You might also like this video – Britain’s divorce from the EU will be a long and complex process, and there is every chance it could turn ugly. FT Brussels bureau chief Alex Barker sets out the timeline for exit and the challenges the UK’s new prime minister Theresa May could face.

The FT’s markets desk has this update:

The pound is looking a bit short of breath after its brisk recovery over the last two sessions. It is down 0.1 per cent on the day at $1.3226, but that is up 1.7 per cent since Monday.

The UK-centric FTSE 250 is also slipping on the day, down 0.1 per cent at 16,784.73, limiting its rise over the week to just under 4 per cent..

The FTSE 100 is also down 0.1 per cent.

David Cameron is on his way to the House of Commons for his last appearance as PM.

Theresa May’s views on reforming capitalism have received backing from her former coalition partner, the Liberal Democrat one-time business secretary Vince Cable.

Cable told the BBC he was “particularly interested” to hear her comments about intervening in key takeovers – she mentioned Pfizer’s attempted takeover of AstraZeneca, the UK pharmaceutical company, in her Birmingham speech on Monday.

She’s arguing, I think, much more for a French-style endorsement of national champions.That’s much more radical. If we do leave the European Union that of course is one area where national policy is much freer. There will be a certain irony if we left the European Union in order to become more French. But there is some sense in that, particularly in industries where there is a big science base.

Other than ruling to put Jeremy Corbyn’s name on the leadership ballot – the most interesting thing from last night’s pivotal meeting of Labour’s NEC was the decision to change the rules on who will be allowed to vote.

That decision – which some believe will make it easier to unseat the incumbent leader – was taken after Corbyn and some of his supporters on the NEC had left the room.

Yesterday the movers arrived at No.10 to start packing up the Camerons’ worldly possessions. Kate Allen and George Parker take a look at the pragmatic prime minister’s departure.

“We have our Angela Merkel.” That was the feeling around the cabinet table on Tuesday, according to Jeremy Hunt. The health secretary told Sky News:

“We’ve got big challenges in the next couple of years as we negotiate new trade deals. Around the cabinet table yesterday the feeling was we have our Angela Merkel, we have an incredibly tough, shrewd, determined, and principled person to lead those negotiations for Britain.

Has the deathknell sounded for the Labour party? The FT’s Sebastian Payne has this:

What’s it really like to leave No.10 for good? Stewart Wood, a former adviser to Gordon Brown, tells his story here.

While the Camerons are on their way out, they’ll be leaving one purported member of the family behind: Larry the cat. But, says James Kirkup of the Daily Telegraph, it turns out that poor Larry was not the much-loved pet many had thought:

Who will win Labour’s leadership race? The bookies think it’ll be Jeremy Corbyn, but they reckon Owen Smith has a decent chance (unlike Angela Eagle).

Some timings for some key events today from the FT’s Sebastian Payne – Cameron will go to the Palace at 5pm, followed by May at 5:30pm and a statement at 6pm. Key appointments expected later on.

Vernon Bogdanor, one of Britain’s foremost constitutional experts, has written an eloquent op-ed for the FT on David Cameron’s legacy as prime minister.

A key extract:

Europe has destroyed five of the past six Conservative prime ministers: Harold Macmillan, Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, and now David Cameron. It was not meant to be like this. When Mr Cameron became leader in 2005, he hoped to stop his party “banging on” about Europe so that it could engage with the real needs of voters. Despite the outcome of the EU referendum, his legacy is unlikely to be defined by Europe as Anthony Eden’s is by the Suez crisis of 1956.

More here.

What will the land border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic look like post Brexit? Angela Merkel reassured Enda Kenny, the Irish Taoiseach this week it would be one of the key issues in the negotiations between Brussels and London. But Theresa Villiers, the Northern Ireland secretary, says Dublin should not worry about a “hard” border.”There are far better ways to deal with illegal migration risks,” she says.

In the event of large numbers of non-Irish EU citizens coming to the UK across an open land border, if they sought to work – and free movement rules are changed to make that unlawful – then they wouldn’t be able to work lawfully, they wouldn’t be able to own property, they wouldn’t be able to open a bank account.There are a whole range of ways that we can control the risk of illegal migration that don’t involve physical checks on a border, which in reality, has never been a genuinely hard border. It’s always been pretty free flowing, We’ve had a common travel area for 100 years. We can continue with that.

Another account of what it’s like to work in Number 10 when there is a change of prime minister comes from Theo Bertram (@theobertram), who worked as an adviser first for Tony Blair and then for Gordon Brown – one of the few to make the transition.

Under the banner “Champagne then coffee”, he writes:

Gordon spoke from the same small podium where Tony had stood earlier. There was no champagne. No tears. Only coffee. Time for work.

Click here for his full story, in tweet form.

PMQs is about to start. Samantha Cameron and their children are apparently in the gallery watching.

David Cameron has started off by congratulating all the UK Wimbledon players, including Andy Murray. And has just gone through his diary, saying that other than an appointment with the Queen: “My diary is remarkably light” – laughter rolls around the chamber.

Danny Kinahan, Ulster Unionist MP, is the first MP to ask a substantive question. He jokes there are several leadership roles that need filling, including the England manager, the presenter of Top Gear and the president of the US.

He asks the PM what steps will be taken to ensure the United Kingdom stays together even after Brexit.

Cameron says:

I care passionately about our United Kingdom… We do need to make sure that as we leave the European Union we keep the benefits of the common travel area.

He says officials are now working on what the relationship will be between the Northern Ireland and the Republic will be.

Jack Lopresti, the Conservative MP has asked Cameron about allowing Kurdish fighters access to the military hospital in Birmingham. The outgoing PM replies to say “we would certainly look at it” and goes on to say that he the UK must continue its fight against Daesh (the UK government official name for Isis).

Jeremy Corbyn stands, to some cheers from the Labour benches. He starts by paying some tribute to Cameron’s six years as PM.

It’s only right that after six years as prime minister we thank the right honourable member for Whitney for his service.

He congratulates Cameron for two things: the release of Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo and bringing in equal marriage.

But he asks whether Cameron shares his concerns about growing homelessness in the UK.

Cameron mentions that one of his highlights as PM was when one of the Number 10 staff said he had been able to marry the person he loved because of the equal marriage act.

And he adds on housebuilding:

Now we need to quicken the pace on building more homes… The absolute key is a strong economy.

Cameron gets in his first dig at Labout when he congratulates Theresa May for becoming the UK’s second woman prime minister, adding:

Pretty soon it will be 2-0. And not a pink bus in sight.

Corbyn tries a joke of his own, referring to his own success at being able to re-stand for the Labour leadership:

Democracy is a fine and splendid thing and I’m enjoying every moment of it.

He asks about exploitation in the workplace, to which Cameron reels off a list of achievements, including action against gangmasters and heavier policing of the minimum wage.

But then he lobs a joke back at the Labour leader:

I am beginning to admire his tenacity. He is beginning to resemble the black knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. He has been kicked so many times but he says, ‘Keep going, it’s only a flesh wound.’

Here you go…

Corbyn asks a question from a member of the public, which earns him jeers from the Tory benches. Cameron in turn reads out an email he says he received from a person called Judith when Corbyn became leader. Judith urged the PM to remain civil and dignified:

Not least because Tom Watson, who may oust Jeremy Corbyn is a very different kettle of fish…

She goes on to urge the prime minister:

Let [Corbyn] create his own party disunity.

He adds his own comment:

I’ve got to find Judith and find out what on earth happens next

Here is a video of Mr Cameron reading out the letter from Judith:

Corbyn points out he has asked the PM 179 questions and assures the House that he will be asking Cameron’s successor many more – to cheers and jeers. And then pays tribute to the PM and his family.

The PM has just held up a photo of the Larry, Number 10s cat, sitting on his knee and says he want to quash any rumours that he doesn’t like the furry inhabitant. There were suggestions the tradition of having a feline in the PM’s official residence would end.

Peter Lilley, the veteran Tory MP, pays tribute to Cameron’s parliamentary skills:

I’ve seen him achieve a mastery of the dispatch box unparalleled in my time.

Cameron replies with a story about being brought down to earth in New York, when nobody recognised him as he walked along the street with mayor Michael Bloomberg. Until that is one person came up and said to him:

Hey, Cameron, from PMQs. We love your show!

Angus Robertson, the SNP leader, is the first to criticise the prime minister over Brexit, adding that Scotland had been taken out of the EU against its will. Cameron replies by giving us a glimpse of what he things the post-Brexit settlement should look like:

My advice to my successor is to be as close to the European Union as we can be… The Channel will not get any wider, and that is the relationship we should seek.

Alastair Campbell has this observation on Cameron’s final PMQs:

Cameron announces changes to the Cancer Drugs Fund as one of his final substantive acts as prime minister. We will post further details of the changes later today.

Jeff Smith, a Labour MP, has an effective dig at Cameron’s legacy:

The prime minister came into office promising to keep the UK’s AAA rating, no more top-down reorganisations of the NHS and to stop the Tories banging on about Europe. Can I ask how he felt that has gone?

James Kirkup of the Daily Telegraph fires back at David Cameron’s claim to be a fan of Larry the Downing St cat.

Now a question from another Tory backbencher to prompt Cameron to talk about his record on education and then suggest a stronger economy should be used to continue to build his “Big Society”.

Graham Stringer, Labour MP, says:

Until I had two eye operations I wasn’t able to see him very clearly. Is he concerned by newspaper reports that people who aren’t entitled to cataract operations are jumping the queue ahead of people who are entitled?

Cameron replies:

I haven’t seen the story here…. I will look carefully this afternoon [laughter] about the danger of queue jumping and get back to him.

This question is followed by another “plant” from one of his backbenchers which allows the PM to talk about employment levels – “we’re near full employment” – the introduction of the national living wage and the number of people he says have been taken out of the lower band of income tax during his tenure

Adrian Bailey, Labour MP for West Bromwich West, mentions ‘Black Country week’ to make a more substantive point that the UK should remain as close as possible to the EU single market for the sake of UK jobs.

Cameron replies:

It is right that we must have access to the single market… Having that access to Europe is going to be vital.

As Cameron answers a question from the SNP, the BBC shows the Queen making her way back to Buckingham Palace, where she will await the prime minister.

That question came from the SNP’s Carol Monaghan, who congratulated Cameron on doing more for Scottish independence than her own party, including the proposed “renewal weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde” in reference to the government’s plans to replace the submarines that carry the nuclear-tipped Trident missiles that are based in Scotland.

Cameron refers her to the full powers the Scottish parliament gained during his tenure and suggested the SNP acknowledge that for once.

Here is a video of the outgoing prime minister trying out an American accent…

Final question goes to Ken Clarke, the veteran pro-European Tory MP. He says he would like to thank him

particularly on this occasion for the debating eloquence, as well as the wit and humour he has always brought to prime minister’s questions

He requests Cameron to play an active role in the Commons, given:

As no two people know what Brexit means at the moment, we need his advice and his leadership now more than ever.

In reply, Cameron jokes:

His first act as a Chancellor of the Exchequer was to fire me as a special adviser and one of my first acts was to appoint him to the coalition cabinet.

He continues in this gentle mockery:

Tory modernisation has not got as far as getting Ken Clarke to have a mobile phone. He did briefly have one, but he said, ‘The problem is, people keep calling me on it.’ And we did have to move the 9 o’clock meeting for his morning cigar.

Cameron adds that he will be watching the Commons from the backbenches:

People come here with great passion for the causes they care about, and great love for the places they represent… That is something we should be proud of and we should keep at it.

And his final words as prime minister to the Commons reference the jibe he once made at Tony Blair’s expense:

You can achieve a lot of things in politics… Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. After all, as I once said, ‘I was the future once’.

And that was the final act by David Cameron at the dispatch box, and he sits down to a standing ovation from all the Conservative MPs along with the Liberal Democrats and a few others. Applause from the Labour opposition benches and the SNP too but they don’t rise to their feet.

Here’s the video of Cameron’s final exchange with the House as PM, via Bloomberg.

More on Larry the cat. David Cameron held up photographic evidence of his affectionate relationship with No.10′s chief ratcatcher. Here it is:

A reminder that the final act by David Cameron as prime minister is his visit to Buckingham Palace at 5pm for a private audience with the Queen, where he will offer his resignation. He will be followed to the Palace by his successor Theresa May at 5:30pm.

And quickly back to Number 10′s mouser Larry, his future appeared to be secured after the Cabinet Office said the Camerons would not be taking the animal with them, until the BBC’s Norman Smith just suggested live on air that the next UK prime minister may have a cat allergy

More on Cameron’s pet hatred here from Iain Martin, the political commentator:

Predictably glowing reviews from the Tory benches:

A video via the Guardian of a younger David Cameron telling Tony Blair that he “was the future once” – the line he has just reprised to describe his own fate.

How popular is Theresa May as she takes office? And how might she fare against a Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn?

Ipsos Mori has some answers here, in the form of approval ratings for May and Corbyn, as well as Tory MPs Boris Johnson and Andrea Leadsom, as well as Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader.

Here are the results for the Tory contenders:

Things don’t look so good for Corbyn, though, who has a net satisfaction rating of -41, or David Cameron, with -38 (a dramatic slump from last month’s rating of -7.5).

David Cameron’s best lines from his last PMQs

On his “remarkably light” schedule:

Other than one meeting this afternoon with her majesty the Queen, the diary for the rest of my day is remarkably light

On legislating for equal marriage:

I’ll never forget the day at Number 10 when a person who works very close to the front door said to me – “I’m not that interested in politics Mr Cameron but because of something your lot have done I’m able to marry the person I’ve loved all my life this weekend.” There are many amazing moments in this job but that actually was one of my favourites.

On women in politics:

When It comes to women prime ministers I’m very pleased to be able to say pretty soon its going to be 2-nil. And not a pink bus in sight.

On Corbyn’s use of email prompts:

Actually I’ve got an email as well. I got this – I’m not making this up I promise – I got this on the 16th of September 2015 from someone called Judith who said this: “Please please keep dignity and not triumphalism in the first PMQs today with Jeremy Corbyn” – And she gave this reason – she said “because Tom Watson who may oust Jeremy Corbyn, is a very different kettle of fish, he’s experienced, organised, and far more dangerous in the long term.” She goes on – “So sensible sober answers to Mr Corbyn. Let him create his own party disunity.” After this is over I’ve got to find Judith and find out what on earth happens next.

On the Labour leadership race:

Let’s just take the last week – we’ve both been having leadership elections. We got on with it. We’ve had resignation, nomination, competition and coronation. They haven’t even decided what the rules are yet.

On PMQs:

I’ve done a bit of research Mr Speaker and I’ve addressed 5,500 questions from this despatch box. I’ll leave it for others to say how many I’ve answered.

On PMQs:

This session does have some admirers around the world . I remember when I met Mayor Bloomberg in New York and we walked down the street. Everyone knew Mike Bloomberg and everyone came up and said “Mayor you’re doing a great job”. No one had a clue who I was until eventually someone said: “Hey, Cameron. Prime Minister’s Questions. We love your show.”

On his government’s record on Scotland:

I’ll tell him what it is – 143,000 more people in work in Scotland massive investment in the renewable industries in Scotland the two biggest warships ever built in our history, built in Scotland, a power house parliament, a referendum that was legal, decisive and fair and – I might add – a Scotsman winning Wimbledon twice while I was prime minister.

On holding the EU referendum:

As for Europe, we have to settle these issues. And I think it’s right when you’re trying to settle a really big constitutional issue you don’t just rely on parliament, you ask the people as well. We made a promise and we kept a promise

On his future in politics:

I will watch these exchanges from the backbenches. I will miss the roar of the crowd, I will miss the barbs from the opposition but I will be willing you on.

Buzzfeed’s James Ball has done a full explanation here of who gets a vote in the Labour leadership election to come.

The fact that it is nearly 1,500 words long tells you all you need to know about the party’s voting procedures, but here are some of the key points:

David Mundell, Scottish secretary, must have a good chance of retaining his job as the Tories’ only MP north of the border.

But as he told the BBC World At One programme:

I don’t take anything for granted. That’s why I’m still the only Tory MP in Scotland

Caption competition: This old picture of David Cameron and Theresa May has been doing the rounds on Twitter. Here are some of the good ones:

As experts decipher the new Labour leadership voting rules, the question most are asking is whether they benefit Corbyn or his centrist challenger(s).

George Eaton, political editor of the New Statesman, and someone who knows Labour better than most, thinks they help the rebels. His piece is here.

And here is the key point:

Here’s a video clip from the FT’s YouTube channel of David Cameron’s closing remarks to the Commons:

What lies in store for Theresa May as new prime minister? One of her first jobs will be to given the instructions for how to fire Britain’s nuclear weapons.

James Blitz reveals the codes, I mean, explains what lies in store for the PM here.

While Theresa May waits to make her short trip to the Palace this afternoon to be appointed the 13th prime minister in the Queen’s more than 60-year reign, Professor Robert Hazell has been explaining that other British constitutional convention – the prime minister’s weekly audience with the Queen.

The head of the constitution unit at University College London told BBC:

All prime ministers without disclosing any of the confidences of their weekly audience have said how useful it is to them, to be able once a week to go and chat for an hour or so with the Queen.

And I think they’re completely sincere when they say how useful it is because remember with all their colleagues they’re amongst political rivals, whereas with the Queen they can be completely open,they can be completely confident that anything they say will not go any further because no notes are taken. They know she is a very very experienced, now elder statesman and therefore someone to whom it is very useful to talk things through, and occasionally to seek her counsel and her advice.

Atmospheric shot of Theresa May leaving Downing Street after a meeting by Chris Ratcliffe of Bloomberg

More reports we could get the Home Office Secretary name by this evening before the 10pm news:

This is pretty extraordinary – a powerful account on BBC Radio by a distressed Johanna Baxter, member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee, on the body’s tumultuous meeting last night that voted to put Jeremy Corbyn on the leadership contest ballot.

When Theresa May first entered parliament in 1997 there were 13 female Tory MPs, the same number the party had in 1931.

Baroness Anne Jenkin, who in 2005 with May co-founded a campaign to get more Tory women elected, told the BBC:

It was a very lonely place for her as a woman in the Conservative party at a time when Labour women – Harriet ( Harman) and all her women – were absolutely in the ascendancy. ”

I’m glad to say that today we have 68 MPs. Okay not enough and still only 20 per cent but at least enough to put a significant number in both the cabinet and in the more junior ministerial roles.

If you are only 9 per cent which we were, or 20 per cent which we are now, you don’t make very good decisions. In the end, when people say to me why does it matter. It matters because women’s life experiences are different to men, not inferior, or superior, they’re just different.

Google has sent out a series of graphs detailing how interest in the UK political turmoil has changed over the last week or so. It says UK search interest for “Join the Labour Party” is higher than at any point in Google history.

And here is the search interest in particular Labour leader candidates:

There is also appears to be strong interest in the fate of Larry, the cat David Cameron is leaving behind in Downing Street. Here are the most frequent queries on Larry:

Another myth about the appointment of British prime ministers has just been exploded by the BBC.

Despite being known as “the kissing of hands” Nicholas Witchell, the Beeb’s royal correspondent says:

They shake hands. There is no kissing of hands, although it’s called the kissing of hands. The only kissing of hands – or the light brushing of the lips – happens at the Privy Council when ministers are appointed.

So with a handshake, that will be it. She will then be prime minister, and one imagines then that Philip May will be invited in”.

Theresa May has not even become prime minister yet but already we are seeing the beginnings of her reshuffle. Often ministers who know they are about to be sacked get their resignations in first.

That may be what has happened to Nick Boles, the skills minister, who has just quit his post, according to several news outlets:

The Telegraph has also called last orders on a slightly bigger fish – George Osborne, the chancellor

Angus Robertson, leader of the SNP in Westminster, has been criticised by some for his remarks at PMQs earlier today, where he refused to join in the cross-party tributes being offered to David Cameron.

His party leader Nicola Sturgeon has just struck a more conciliatory note on BBC News however, saying:

David Cameron deserves our thanks for his service.

As David Cameron prepares to go to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen and announce his resignation, it is worth remembering the first time she met the prime minister. As Hugo Vickers, the royal biographer, has just reminded viewers of BBC News, Cameron was at the time dressed as a rabbit and starring in a school play.

The story first surfaced in 2010, the Mail’s version of which can be read here.

While we are waiting for the hand over of power – Paddy Power has put together some odds on who might take the key cabinet posts:

Next Chancellor
2/7 Philip Hammond
9/2 Chris Grayling
8/1 Sajid Javid
10/1 Matthew Hancock
16/1 Michael Gove
20/1 Andrea Leadsom
20/1 Nicky Morgan
25/1 Liam Fox
40/1 Boris Johnson

9/4 George Osborne to still be Chancellor on 31st Dec 2017

and the two other key positions:

Next Foreign Secretary
7/4 George Osborne
16/1 Margot James
5/1 Liam Fox
40/1 Boris Johnson

Next Home Secretary
1/2 Chris Grayling
5/1 Jeremy Hunt
6/1 Nicky Morgan
6/1 Stephen Crabb
16/1 David Davis
16/1 Boris Johnson

Looks like David Cameron is about to emerge from Number 10 and give his farewell speech

In his opening remarks, he hints at his failures – losing the EU referendum for one – but switches immediately to his achievements. Just at it looks as though as storm is about to break over Downing Street:

It’s not been an easy journey and of course we have not got every decision right . . . . but i do believe our country is stronger

he adds:

There can be no doubt our economy is immeasurably stronger

He has run us through how strong the NHS and the country’s military is that he leaves behind and then turns to thank his wife, Samantha, and his children, before thanking all that served in the military and the intelligence services and others in public services across the country.

David Cameron’s final remarks as prime minister:

No matter how difficult our times are, there is a great sense of British fair play; a quiet but prevailing sense that most British people wish their prime minister well and want them to get on with the job.

It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve our country as prime minister over these last six years and to serve as leader of my party for almost 11 years. As we leave for the last time my only wish is continued success for this great country I love so very much.

And with that, the Camerons have a family hug on the doorstep of Number 10.

As David Cameron and family enter the gates of Buckingham Palace, the BBC comes up with a nice fact – he is the youngest PM to resign since 1895

There is a trend developing here – after UEFA had to reprimand footballers for taking their kids on to the pitch after matches in the recent European Championship, David Cameron appear to be the first prime minister to have taken his children along with him to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation. We assume he checked that was ok with the powers that be beforehand.

Let’s hope this isn’t an omen for the future of the UK but the storm clouds are certainly gathering as we await the transfer of power

As the audience between the Queen and David Cameron continues. It looks like the Palace and Westminster as a whole might just escape the strom that is brewing over London – based on the Met Office weather radar

Once Theresa May has entered Number 10, her first major decisions will be whom to appoint to her cabinet. The FT has produced a guide to the runners and riders here.

The camera crew in the TV helicopters have spotted the car that is waiting to take Theresa May to Buckingham Palace – it’s black as opposed to the silver one that took the Cameron’s there. I’m sure there’s some kind of protocol involved there . . . .

David Cameron’s audience with the Queen has ended and his resignation has now been announced by Buckingham Palace. Theresa May is now on her way.

Theresa May has just entered Buckingham Palace to be confirmed as prime minister.

David Cameron has been quick to change his Twitter biography:

If all goes to plan and the Queen doesn’t keep the UK’s new prime minister talking for too long, then Theresa May should be addressing the nation for the first time outside Downing Street at 6pm. Another great BBC factoid is that Mrs May is the first Home Secretary to move straight to the office of Prime Minister since Lord Palmerston in 1855. Lord Palmerston was 70 when he took over, Mrs May is 59.

Here is the formal announcement of David Cameron’s resignation:

And David Cameron’s official Twitter feed isn’t the only one that has changed quickly. The official Number 10 Twitter feed has expunged Mr Cameron’s face from its feed and is currently in neutral mode although it still carries his name:

Here is the first snap of Theresa May meeting the Queen:

The Palace has released another photo of the two women meeting:

In the digital world, the Number 10 Twitter feed has now replaced David Cameron’s name with that of Theresa May. We don’t have a photo of the new prime minister yet but we do have a caveat attached that the any Tweets before 5pm on 13 July were not from Mrs May . . .

The prime ministerial car in which Theresa May left Buckingham Palace is slightly grander than the ministerial car she arrived in:

And just before Theresa May arrives in Downing Street, Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives has Tweeted:

May is now addressing the TV cameras outside Number 10:

Theresa May has just given her first remarks as prime minister on the steps of Downing Street and she used them to park the Conservative tanks firmly on Labour’s lawn. She spoke not about the economy but rather of social justice and the poor.

It was a speech that could easily have been given by Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader.

Here are the highlights:

Under David [Cameron]‘s leadership, the government stabilised the economy, reduced the budget deficit and helped more people into work than ever before. But David’s true legacy is not about the economy but social justice.

Not everybody knows that the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist party… It means that we believe in the precious, precious bond between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. But it also means that we believe in a union… between every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from.

She mentioned problems faced by black people, who face discrimination at the hands of the social justice system, women, who face discrimination at work, and young people, who cannot afford to buy a house – among others.

And she mentioned how hard life can be for low earners:

You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own house but worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school.

The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.

We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. Following the referendum we face a time of great national challenge. I know because we are great Britain that we will make a country that will work nor just for the privileged few, but for everyone.

Together we will build a better Britain.

Here is Labour’s response to Theresa May’s speech, as given by deputy leader Tom Watson. Unsurprisingly, the opposition can’t find much to attack in what she said, so is focusing on her past record.

I congratulate Theresa May on becoming Prime Minister. To serve our country in this role is a privilege and an honour.

These are challenging times for Britain. The decision to leave the European Union has created enormous economic uncertainty and insecurity. The priority for the new Prime Minister must be to ensure the country is best placed to deal with the challenges ahead.

We’ve today had warm words from our new Prime Minister about the need to stand up for more than a ‘privileged few’. The sentiments are good ones but just like her predecessor the rhetoric is much better than the reality. The truth is Theresa May has been at the heart of the Tory Government for the last six years and is tied to its record. It’s a record of failing to stand up to for working people and backing policies that are putting vital public services like the NHS at risk.

The Labour Party will continue to hold this failing Government to account and push for a fairer alternative – that is what the country deserves.

When Margaret Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, her remarks on the steps of Downing Street also made a “one nation” pitch – but her critics would argue she ditched such sentiments soon after coming to office.

This is what she said:

I would just like to remember some words of St. Francis of Assisi which I think are really just particularly apt at the moment. ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.’

And to all the British people — howsoever they voted — may I say this. Now that the election is over, may we get together and strive to serve and strengthen the country of which we’re so proud to be a part. And finally, one last thing: in the words of Airey Neave whom we had hoped to bring here with us, ‘There is now work to be done’.

There has been a smidgen of reaction from European leaders. Danny Kemp, AFP’s deputy bureau chief in Brussels, says Charles Michel, the Belgium PM, has again urged the UK to trigger the so-called Article 50 divorce clause “as quickly as possible” so negotiations over Brexit can start. Theresa May has already said she will not rush into doing so and it seems unlikely she will pay any attention to the latest request from her Belgian counterpart:

And a bit earlier, Dalia Grybauskaitė, the president of Lithuania, was slightly more imaginative:

Theresa May, a relative newcomer to Twitter, has now updated her biog:

And here’s a very warm welcome from Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, to Theresa May, who says he is looking forward to working “closely” with the new prime minister. David Cameron of course tried to block Mr Juncker’s appointment, an arch-federalist who embodies what so many people in the UK thought was wrong with the EU

Philip Hammond, who is rumoured to be Theresa May’s choice of Chancellor, has just entered 10 Downing Street. David Cameron’s foreign secretary has long coveted the Treasury role, as we report in our piece on potential members of Ms May’s cabinet.

And while we await word of May’s first cabinet appointments – we are expecting three or four of the top jobs at some point tonight – Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, has called for a close relationship with the new PM:

Boris Johnson, former London mayor and a leading figure in the pro-Brexit campaign, is the next to enter 10 Downing Street.

Mr Johnson had been expected to go for the top job himself, and dropped out of that race less than two weeks ago. His early arrival this evening may imply a senior position in Ms May’s administration.

EmoticonGeorge Osborne, Chancellor under David Cameron, has resigned from government, Sky News reports.

His replacement: Philip Hammond, our chief political correspondent Jim Pickard confirms.

The energy secretary, Amber Rudd, enters 10 Downing Street.

Here is Philip Hammond, the new Chancellor, entering 10 Downing Street a few moments ago:

The Ashford MP Damian Green was reported to be heading to 10 Downing Street, but he has now popped up on Twitter to deny it:

Michael Fallon, currently defence secretary, enters 10 Downing Street.

So at last count we are waiting to see what jobs, if any, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd and Michael Fallon accept. So far we know there is a new chancellor – Philip Hammond, the former foreign secretary – one of Mrs May’s few, close allies in the Cameron cabinet.

Emoticon Boris Johnson is to be foreign secretary.

Emoticon Amber Rudd is the new Home Secretary according to various reports

George Osborne, the former chancellor, tweets:

And here is the official confirmation of Philip Hammond becoming chancellor:

The prominent eurosceptic David Davis enters 10 Downing Street, amid rumours that he could get the new Cabinet post that has been dubbed Secretary of State for Brexit.

Sky News is reporting that Michael Fallon remains as defence secretary:

Liam Fox, former defence secretary, is the latest to arrive at 10 Downing Street.

Amid the flurry of cabinet appointments, the first reaction from Angela Merkel’s office via the FT’s Stefan Wagstyl in Berlin:

Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted by maintaining the pressure on London to implement Brexit and by repeating the message of recent days: the ball is in the British court. Steffen Seibert, her spokesman said: “Now we want the British side to take their decisions. We have today no new expectations. We have said everything already.”

The BBC is reporting that Liam Fox will lead a new Department for International Trade:

And here we are, what looks like confirmation of David Davis as Brexit minister or more precisely Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

It has been another eventful day in British politics with Theresa May, the second female prime minister in history, moving swiftly to announce the key people in her new cabinet.

As expected Philip Hammond, the former foreign secretary, is the new chancellor, while perhaps the biggest shock sees Boris Johnson become foreign secretary. Amber Rudd becomes home secretary and the other key appointment sees David Davis take on a new role as secretary of state for Brexit: it remains to be seen who, between Mr Davis and Mr Johnson will be the more senior.

We are going to close down our live coverage for this evening but please do check for further developments, including profiles of the key players.