Closed Theresa May resigns over failed Brexit deal – as it happened

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after delivering a statement in London

A live blog from FT.com


Theresa May sets her resignation timetable

After months of struggling to get a Brexit deal through parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will leave office on June 7.

She said: “I have agreed with the party chairman that the process for electing a new leader will begin in the following week.”


May: I have done my best

The prime minister, who has failed to get her withdrawal deal agreed with Brussels through parliament three times since January, says in her emotional resignation statement: “I have done my best.”

Her other comments:

It is now clear to me that it is in the interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort [to deliver Brexit].

It was right to persevere.

It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.

To succeed [my successor] will have to find consensus in parliament, which I have not.

As we strive to find the compromises we need in our politics…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.


Departing prime minister fights back tears

Ending her speech, Mrs May appears to choke back the tears as she announces her departure.

“Our politics may be under strain but there is so much that is good about this country, so much to be proud of,” says Mrs May.

Her voice then cracks as she ends her speech with the words: “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.”

She adds that she has enormous gratitude to have had “the opportunity to serve the country I love”.


Business reacts

Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, says

Businesses must be reassured that a change at the top in Downing Street must not simply usher in a longer period of posturing and gesture politics. Westminster has already squandered far too much time going around in circles on Brexit.

Britain is still mired in indecision and uncertainty. Drift and lack of direction have real-world economic consequences, brought home to many of our communities not just by high-profile business closures, but by the quiet and growing loss of contracts, investments and jobs.

The UK is already paying the price for a political system at war over Brexit. Our hard-earned reputation as a great place to do business has been tarnished. And for too long, government has been distracted from working with business to fix the fundamentals here at home, particularly around skills and infrastructure.

Any leadership contest must be swift and followed urgently by a clear plan to break the impasse. The clock is still ticking down to 31st October, regardless of who is in Downing Street.

A new Prime Minister must work to avert a messy and disorderly exit from the EU. At the same time, preparations must continue to ensure that government, its agencies and our communities are as ready as they can be for all possible eventualities.


What the MPs are saying

Damian Green, former de facto deputy prime minister and a close friend of Mrs May, tells our chief political correspondent Jim Pickard:

Suddenly and unexpectedly becoming Prime Minister after the seismic shock of the Brexit referendum meant she was dealt an extremely difficult hand to play.

The truth is, having an election a year later, which cut the Conservative party’s majority, then at that point it is impossible.

I think the key point where it went off the rails was when [former Brexit secretary] David Davis resigned from Cabinet [last July].

I think being able to have a deal that kept him and probably [influential Brexiter and former foreign secretary] Boris Johnson inside would have made all the difference – that seems to have been the turning point.

Wayne David, Labour MP, on Twitter:

Compromise? The reason she has gone is her failure to compromise.

Julian Smith, government chief whip:

The values, integrity & commitment of [Theresa May] to the United Kingdom have been outstanding.

Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP, in a statement:

The new Conservative leader needs to bring the party back together and provide real leadership and direction. He or she should immediately seek improved exit terms from the EU. We need to get Brexit done and move on from the divisions it has caused in the party and the country.

Richard Burgon, Labour MP, on Twitter:

May’s resignation will make no positive difference to communities across the country hit hard by cruel Conservative austerity.

Peter Bone, Conservative MP, tells the BBC:

She could have been a national hero if she had kept to her word that we would leave the UK on 29 March…From that point on it was inevitable that she would not serve for much longer.

Jess Phillips, Labour, on Twitter:

She deserves our respect but not an unwavering whitewash. Our country desperately needed and needs leadership that doesn’t pander to their bases and speaks [to] and hears the country.


Runners and riders to replace Mrs May

A month ago Boris Johnson was about 6:1 to be the new leader, according to Ladbrokes.

The rise of Nigel Farage and his Brexit party has made it much more likely that the Conservative grassroots will pick a charismatic Brexiter, for example Mr Johnson, writes Jim Pickard.

The only caveat though is to remember that in previous Tory leadership contests the front-runner is rarely the victor.

David Cameron, Margaret Thatcher, Iain Duncan Smith and William Hague were all expected – initially – to lose to more established rivals. It’s true that the leadership seems to be Mr Johnsons’ to lose, but does he have a track record as a safe pair of hands?


Corbyn calls for general election

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, said:

The Prime Minister is right to have resigned. She has now accepted what the country has known for months: she cannot govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.

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. Whoever becomes the new Conservative Leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate General Election.


Sterling slightly higher after May resignation

Sterling briefly rose above $1.27 as Mrs May gave details of her resignation plans outside Downing Street before giving up most of its gains to trade 0.2 per higher against the dollar at $1.2675, writes Sarah Provan.

The pound was 0.1 per cent higher against the euro at €1.1331. The currency was still trading near 2019 lows against the dollar, and has fallen more than 2.5 per cent this month as Mrs May’s efforts to break the Brexit impasse have fizzled out.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year gilt was recently up 1 basis point to 0.964 per cent.


Boris Johnson thanks May for her service

The Brexiter, former foreign secretary and leadership favourite has said in a tweet:

A very dignified statement…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.

Scottish National party leader and Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon responds on Twitter:

What a hypocrite.


Ireland: no new Brexit concessions

Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, said Theresa May was “principled, honourable, and deeply passionate” about doing her best for her country and party, writes the FT’s Arthur Beesley, but Dublin insisted that Brussels would not offer her successor Brexit terms.

In a statement, Mr Varadkar said: “Theresa May strove to chart a new future for the United Kingdom. I want to wish her the very best for the future. And I look forward to working closely with her successor.’

But Simon Coveney, deputy Irish prime minister, insisted that Brussels will not yield fresh concessions to the new UK prime minister even though he acknowledged the mood in the Conservative party for a “tougher line” on Brexit.

“I don’t see the EU offering any new prime minister a better or very different deal to what was on offer to Theresa May. I think that would be fundamentally unfair for them to do that,” Mr Coveney said on Newstalk radio.

“I believe the EU thinks that what’s on offer to the UK is fair and balanced and involves compromise on all sides that can be good for the UK if they choose to accept it,” said Mr Coveney.

“But this idea that a new prime minister will be a tougher negotiator and will put it up to the EU and get a much better deal for Britain: … that’s not how the EU works.”


More business reaction

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of CBI, the employers’ organisation, says:

The Prime Minister could not have worked harder to deliver a Brexit deal that protects the economy. She leaves office with the respect of business.

But her resignation must be now be a catalyst for change. There can be no plan for Britain without a plan for Brexit. Winner takes all politics is not working. Jobs and livelihoods are at stake.

Business and the country need honesty. Nation must be put ahead of party, prosperity ahead of politics. Compromise and consensus must re-find their voice in Parliament.

We call on politicians from all parties, on all those ambitious to lead, to take this chance for a fresh start.

Sarah Carlson, who tracks UK government bonds for credit ratings agency Moody’s, adds:

Sarah Carlson, UK lead sovereign analyst at rating agency Moody’s, said May’s resignation:

Increases the risk of a no-deal Brexit that… would have significant negative effects on both the UK sovereign and a range of other [debt] issuers.”


More reaction from MPs

Sadiq Khan, London mayor, on Twitter:

Theresa May’s job was made impossible by Brexit extremists in the Conservative Party. It’s totally unacceptable for Britain’s future to be decided by these same people – people deserve better.

Tom Watson, deputy labour leader, says in a tweet:

History will record she was honourable in her intentions. To those who have plotted her downfall to further their own ambitions, the ideological fanatics who won’t stop until they have cut off all our ties with Europe, history will not be so kind.

Caroline Lucas, of the Green Party, says in a tweet:

While May was almost uniquely ill-equipped to be negotiator we needed, truth is she was given impossible job

You can’t achieve a hard Brexit [and] avoid a hard border in N. Ireland [and] no new PM can achieve it either.


Scottish politicians look to next leader

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives and one of the party’s most popular figures, said candidates to succeed Mrs May should show the “same level of commitment” to Scotland’s place in the UK as had the outgoing prime minister.

But Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister and leader of the Scottish National party, said that her departure “will not solve the Brexit mess that the Tories have created”.

She said:

Only putting the matter back to the people can do that. Given current circumstances, it also feels deeply wrong for another Tory to be installed in Number 10 without a General Election.

The prospect of an even more hardline Brexiteer now becoming PM and threatening a no deal exit is deeply concerning. Added to the experience of the past three years, this makes it all the more important that Scotland is given the choice of becoming an independent country.


EU leaders divide

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte called Mrs May in the aftermath of the her resignation to express his “thanks and respect” to the prime minister.

Mr Rutte said in a tweet that Mrs May’s negotiated Brexit deal with the EU “remains on the table”.

“The United Kingdom and the Netherlands are closely linked. The agreement reached between the EU and the United Kingdom for an ordered Brexit remains on the table”.

But an official speaking on behalf of French president Emmanuel Macron, tells Reuters:

We need rapid clarification from Britain on what it wants with Brexit…Britain is set to leave the EU without a deal in October unless an agreement can be reached with thet EU that is also acceptable to Britain’s parliament.


European Commission pays tribute to May

An EU commission spokeswoman told reporters:

President Juncker followed prime minister May’s announcement this morning without personal joy. The president very much liked and appreciated working with prime minister May. As he has said before, Theresa May is a woman of courage for whom he has great respect.

He will fully respect and establish working relations with any new prime minister, whomever they may be, without stopping his conversations with prime minister May.


Nominations for new Tory leader from June 10

Nominations for the Tory leadership contest will close in the week starting June 10, party chairman Brandon Lewis has announced.

Here’s the joint statement by Mr Lewis and Cheryl Gillan and Charles Walker, vice-chairmen of the 1922 Committee:

“This morning the Prime Minister announced her intention to resign as Leader of the Conservative & Unionist Party on Friday 7 June. We are saddened by her decision but understand it, and thank her for her years of service to our Party and our nation, not just as Prime Minister but over many decades before that. As an activist, a councillor, a devoted constituency MP, a loyal member of the Shadow Cabinet in our long years of opposition, our first female Party Chairman, as a bold and reforming Home Secretary, and throughout her time as our nation’s second female Prime Minister, she has shown great dedication, courage and tenacity. She embodies the finest qualities of public service and, with this decision, has once again demonstrated her strong sense of duty and devotion to the national interest.

“After the Prime Minister has resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party, we will begin the process to elect a new Leader. The timetable for this is set by the Executive of the 1922 Committee after consultation with the Party Board, which includes representatives of the voluntary, Parliamentary and professional party. We intend that the Parliamentary stages of the contest – which involves determining the final choice of candidates to put before all members of the party – should begin with the close of nominations in the week commencing 10 June.

“Successive rounds of voting will take place until a final choice of candidates to put to a vote of all party members is determined. We expect that process to be concluded by the end of June, allowing for a series of hustings around the UK for members to meet and question the candidates, then cast their votes in time for the result to be announced before Parliament rises for the summer.

“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. 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.

“None of us will be candidates in the leadership election, nor will we support any candidate. Our focus will be on facilitating a full, fair and frank debate and contest. We have discussed this proposal with the Chairman of the Conservative National Convention, who is also content with it.”


New PM in place by end of July

The FT’s Jim Pickard says the timetable laid out by the 1922 Committee in the statement below means a new prime minister should be in place by the end of July, before parliament breaks up for summer recess: in theory that should favour more well-known candidates.


Weber: ‘respect’ to Theresa May

Manfred Weber, the leading centre-right candidate to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as EU Commission president, has taken to Twitter to lament Brexit but praise outgoing British PM Theresa May. In two tweets, the German MEP said:

I have said it many times before: #Brexit is a total disaster. In the face of this mess the only alternative for Europe is unity and stability. We need a #betterEurope, not a broken Europe. #StrongerTogether

Respect to @theresa_may, who fought for a stable solution and a viable deal. We hope once more for a constructive approach from our British partners. I appeal to the UK’s sense of responsibility and leadership in these times of great uncertainty. #Brexit

https://twitter.com/ManfredWeber/status/1131873684661182466


David Cameron thanks Theresa May

The former prime minister, who called the 2016 Brexit referendum, campaigned for Remain and then quit when he lost, has said in a tweet:

“Strong and brave speech by a Prime Minister driven by duty and service… she should be thanked for her tireless efforts on behalf of the country.”

https://twitter.com/David_Cameron/status/1131879283323023363


Hustings on June 15?

The FT’s Seb Payne is hearing from senior Conservatives that the Tory party’s extraordinary general meeting on June 15 is going to be turned into a big leadership hustings for the National Convention. It had been due to be a confidence vote in Theresa May.


Is a no-deal Brexit now more likely?

With thoughts turning towards the coming Tory leadership contest, the business world wants to know the answer to one pressing question: is a no-deal Brexit now more likely? The Institute for Government set out the case yesterday for why no deal might be more likely than some people think, writes the FT’s Jim Pickard. Key to their analysis is the fact that the tactics used in the spring to block the UK leaving without a deal cannot be used again next time round.

It all depends if the next prime minister is committed to taking the UK out of the EU without any agreement.

This is what the Institute for Government has to say on the matter:

Several Conservative leadership candidates are clear that they prefer leaving the EU without a deal to leaving with Theresa May’s deal – or not leaving at all. If one were to become Prime Minister, then MPs who oppose a no deal Brexit will need a way to block or delay such an outcome. But unless the Speaker chooses to be even more flexible in his interpretation of parliamentary convention, MPs have limited options.

There is more on the IFG’s blog here


Lord Heseltine predicts second referendum or a general election


Lord Heseltine, who served as deputy prime minister in John Major’s Conservative government in the 1990s, tells Sky News that Mrs May’s resignation had been “inevitable for some time”.

The Tory party grandee also predicts that in the ongoing European Parliament elections, the Labour and Conservative parties will “get hammered”.

Lord Heseltine, who sits in parliament’s upper chamber and has had the Conservative whip suspended for saying he would vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections, says he believes the Tories have lost a substantial part of their support base.

“There are 5m people who voted Conservative and who also believe that we should remain in the European Union,” he said. “If you don’t get them back you don’t have the popular support for your policies.”

He also looks beyond the Tory leadership race to the future of Brexit, predicting that even with a change of prime minister, there is little hope of any EU withdrawal deal being agreed.

That, he says, raises the spectre of a second referendum or a general election.


Birthday present for Rees-Mogg

Today is the 50th birthday of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Theresa May’s nemesis, who tried unsuccessfully to lead a coup to remove her from office just before Christmas. One of his supporters quipped to the FT’s Jim Pickard: “Her departure is a birthday present for JRM.”

The Tory backbencher and chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic MPs couldn’t resist having another pop at Mrs May with a tweet disguised as a brief, political eulogy:

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.

https://twitter.com/Jacob_Rees_Mogg/status/1131876993119739904

“I supported the prime minister with vim and vigour,” Mr Rees-Mogg said in an ITV News appearance. That was until “she broke all her red lines”, a reference to Mrs May’s 2017 pledge for a hard Brexit that involved leaving the EU single market, customs union and the European Court of Justice. The stance assuaged Brexiters such as Mr Rees-Mogg but hobbled Mrs May’s chances of winning consensus in a parliament deeply divided over the UK’s future relationship with Europe.


What would Boris mean for Brexit?

The FT’s James Blitz has taken a look at how the frontrunner for Tory party leader and hence prime minister could deal with negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU.

Theresa May’s resignation paves the way for a Conservative party leadership contest. And at the outset, Boris Johnson is the unquestioned frontrunner.

This is not a totally comfortable position for the 54-year-old former foreign secretary to be in. After all, nearly every frontrunner at the start of the race ultimately failed to clinch the crown.

But even allowing for Mr Johnson’s mercurial character — and a remarkable ability to self-destruct — he has momentum this time for several reasons.

First, he is by far the most popular candidate in the eyes of the Conservative party’s 120,000 activists. It is those activists who will choose between the final two candidates selected by the parliamentary party.

Even in a final race against his closest competitor — Dominic Raab — Mr Johnson has a commanding lead of 59 per cent to 41 per cent, according to YouGov.

Second, the impending European election result will boost him. Nigel Farage’s Brexit party is certain to storm to victory. Faced by what they deem an existential threat, Conservatives will be even more determined to choose the one candidate who can “out-Farage Farage”.

Third, Mr Johnson has the good fortune to be in the race against Mr Raab, an even more maximalist Brexiter committed to no deal. This allows Mr Johnson to appeal to the 60 one-nation Tory MPs, led by Amber Rudd, as a more moderate figure who seeks an orderly departure from the EU.

Much of the attention in the weeks ahead will therefore be on Mr Johnson and what his appointment would ultimately mean for Brexit.

In Europe, many will fear he will turn out to be a swashbuckling figure who — whatever assurances he gives in the leadership campaign — will ultimately drive the UK to an disorderly no deal.

But there is a strong hope in some EU capitals that Mr Johnson will come into Downing Street and be in a better place to give Mrs May’s Brexit deal that final push across the line that she failed to achieve.

The argument here is that Mrs May has, in reality, done much of the heavy lifting on Brexit. The withdrawal agreement cannot be changed and it received Mr Johnson’s support in the last House of Commons vote in March.

But the thinking is that Mr Johnson would have the political clout to make changes to the political declaration, which defines the future trade framework, in a way that wins wider support.

“May was such a poor communicator and political manager that she simply couldn’t forge a consensus in the Commons enabling a move to phase two and the wider trade negotiation,” said Mujtaba Rahman of Eurasia Group consultancy. “The question being pondered in the EU is whether Johnson would be in a better place to sell what is essentially the same deal as May’s, but with a few changes to the political declaration.”

Predicting Mr Johnson’s next move is a dangerous game. He is the most unpredictable of politicians. But if he succeeds Mrs May, he might end up demonstrating more of the political clout and charisma that is needed to get an orderly Brexit done.


No aide tried to convince the PM to stay on

The FT’s Jim Pickard has just spoken to one of Mrs May’s advisers, who described the sombre mood in Number 10 this morning. He denied that some aides had sought to persuade her to stay: “The writing has been on the wall for quite a long time.” Also, he said he had been glad to see the emotional final note in Mrs May’s speech because it proved that she was not quite the “robotic” figure that critics had lampooned. “It was good for people to see her coming across as a real human, that wasn’t such a bad thing.”


Jeremy Hunt throws his hat in

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced he will stand for the leadership of the Tory party, according to a local paper in his South West Surrey constituency.

Mr Hunt said it was “only right that my party constituency should be the first to know”, according to the Farnham Herald. Mr Hunt was at the Haslemere Festival, a local arts festival. Elizabeth Cook, one of the volunteers at the event, sent us a snap of Mr Hunt outside St Christopher’s Church in Haslemere.


Hunt: first cabinet minister out of the blocks

Jeremy Hunt is the first cabinet minister out of the blocks to say he will stand to become the next Tory leader, although his candidacy will be no surprise to anyone, writes the FT’s Jim Pickard.

The foreign secretary is already all over Twitter reminding people that he – as health secretary – secured an extra £20bn for the NHS. Here he is making “One Nation” noises at the event in Haslemere today:

https://twitter.com/Jeremy_Hunt/status/1131904706362695681

For those of you who can’t access Twitter, the tweet reads:

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


Another leadership contender emerges?

Our chief political correspondent Jim Pickard is hearing widespread reports that Graham Brady has stood down as head of the 1922 committee that represents backbench Conservative MPs.

This could be a prelude to Sir Graham, pictured above from last December where as head of the 1922 he triggered an ultimately unsuccessful no-confidence vote in Mrs May continuing as party leader, running for the top job himself.

It would be a surprising move, coming from an MP who has not been a government minister (although the 52-year-old was shadow Europe minister from 2004 to 2007).

But it is also a reminder, Jim writes, that Westminster is anticipating a very broad field of candidates: at one point there was a list of 17 likely wannabees circulating, although some of them – such as Tory rising star Johnny Mercer – have already made clear they will not stand.

Writing in the Financial Times in March, Sir Graham put forward compromise solutions for Brexit, in order to end the parliamentary impasse over how to leave the EU.

He wrote:

Having secured improved guarantees that the Irish backstop would only be temporary, we should accept the imperfect agreement and move on.

Having left the EU and entered the transition period, there will still be everything to play for: negotiating a future trading relationship based on free trade instead of the replication of the customs union should be the priority. Politics is the art of the possible.

Where we stand today, it is possible that we are on our way to a great future outside the EU. But it is also possible that parliament will drive our country into an endless nightmare of uncertainty and instability.


Boris Johnson: let’s put no-deal back on the table

As well as paying tribute to Theresa May, Boris Johnson has outlined what his Brexit stance might be, Sebastian Payne writes.

Speaking to Bloomberg, the former foreign secretary said:

“A new leader will have the opportunity to do things differently and have the momentum of a new administration. We will leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal. The way to get a good deal is to prepare for a no deal.”

This is confirmation that Mr Johnson would seek to amend Mrs May’s Brexit deal to remove the controversial Irish border backstop. Then it is likely it would pass through the House of Commons. But if he fails to get a better deal, he would seek to take the UK out of the EU without a deal, assuming parliament does not get in his way.


Cameron attacks hardline Brexiters

Theresa May’s predecessor David Cameron, has popped up to pay tribute to her efforts to see Brexit through. Speaking to Sky News, the former prime minister said he felt “desperately sorry” for Mrs May, writes the FT’s Seb Payne.

Recalling how he was forced to step down after losing the Brexit referendum in 2016 after campaigning for Remain, he added: “I know what it feels like when your leadership time has finished. She is, and was, a dedicated public servant.”

Mr Cameron also attacked hardline Brexiters who have voted against Mrs May’s withdrawal deal several times. “The people who most wanted Brexit didn’t vote for it,” he pointed out.

With regards to the leadership contest, he declined to say who he would be supporting. “I’m not going to give a running commentary on the future but I wish whoever is the next leader well.”


Dutch PM: no new Brexit deal for May’s successor

Mark Rutte, Dutch prime minister and a traditional UK ally, has ruled out the EU giving Theresa May’s successor a renegotiated Brexit deal, writes the FT’s Mehreen Khan in Brussels.

“The withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation”, Mr Rutte said at his weekly press conference on Friday. This is nothing more than a repeat of the EU’s public position for the past five months.

The Dutch PM spoke to Mrs May earlier in the afternoon and told her the current Brexit deal “remained on the table”.

Mr Rutte refused to comment on the chances of Boris Johnson becoming the new prime minister. “I have to work with everyone, ” he said.


S&P warn of rising risk of no deal Brexit

S&P Global Ratings has published a note saying that May’s resignation was likely to pave the way to a harder Brexit. Mrs May’s successor will likely take a harder stance on Brexit, the ratings agency said, and “would potentially resurrect the specter of a no-deal exit as a negotiating tool”.

We do not anticipate an easy end to the deadlock before the end of October, when the UK is due to leave the EU.


Goldman: no-deal risk up at 15%

Goldman Sachs said that the likelihood of no Brexit remains significant but unchanged at 40% after Mrs May’s departure. But it has revised up the probability of no-deal Brexit from 10% to 15%, “not because this Parliament (or indeed the next) is likely to coalesce in favour of its pursuit, but because the recent performance of the Brexit Party and the Eurosceptic credentials of the next Prime Minister may strengthen the case for including ‘no deal’ on the ballot in a second referendum to unlock the impasse”.

The odds of the new Prime Minister eventually returning to the House of Commons with a close variant of the current Withdrawal Agreement have been revised from 50% to 45%.


Lib Dems also kick off search for leader

The Liberal Democrat party, which is expected to be among the winners in the European elections on Sunday, are also now looking for a new leader after Vince Cable confirmed he would step down on 23 July.

I will be proud to hand over a bigger, stronger party on July 23rd


Reaction from around Europe

Theresa May’s resignation is right at the top of the news agenda around Europe.

Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine has the story prominently on its home page with the headline: “Victim of Brexit”

while in France, Le Monde has the story as it’s splash on the website with the headline: “Europeans caught between anger and resignation after Theresa May resigns”

and in Spain, El Pais has the story in one of its top slots on the home page, with the headline: “May resigns and opens the way for a Downing Street successor”


Recap and goodbye

End of day recap before we close the blog down.

- Theresa May has said she will step down as Conservative Party leader on 7 June in a teary-eyed address on Downing Street at 10am.
- Mrs May will remain as caretaker – including for the visit of Donald Trump – until after the conclusion of a Conservative leadership contest, which is expected before the end of July.
- Jeremy Hunt became the first cabinet minister to say he will try to become the next Tory leader, but he is expected be joined by many more in coming days.
- Boris Johnson, the Tory leadership favourite, has said that the UK will need to leave the EU on October 31, “deal or no deal”, leading analysts to raise the chances of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

Thanks for joining us – and goodbye.