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24th May 2019

May ends in June

The prime minister lasted six days less than Gordon Brown

Oli Dugmore

Theresa May resigns

Maybe, all along, she just wanted to outlast Gordon Brown

Prime minister Theresa May has resigned her post, announcing she will depart on June 7.

She will stand down as leader of the Conservatives, and by consequence from 10 Downing Street, due to mounting pressure from virtually every corner of her party – members, MPs and cabinet.

On Friday she met with Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 committee. Brady is seen as the shepherd for the parliamentary Conservative party and the arbiter of a leadership contest.

Shortly after she made a statement announcing her resignation.

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 in the best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead those efforts.”

Her voice broke as she finished her speech, which largely sought to justify and establish her premiership as having achieved, well, anything. It hasn’t.

Until a successor is selected May will remain in post as a flurry of state occasions fill the calendar. Donald Trump’s state visit, a by-election in Peterborough and the 75th anniversary of D-Day both take place in the week before.

The UK’s next prime minister will be selected by the Tories’ 100,000 paid up members. Go democracy, go Brexit.

Boris Johnson is favourite to replace her. A poll of the party’s members found he is the first choice of 39 per cent of the membership.

All the other contenders don’t get out of single figures apart from Dominic Raab, who is the first preference for 13 per cent.

A run-off between Raab and Johnson would see the former foreign secretary smash the former Brexit secretary 59 to 41.

However, BoJo is loathed by a lot of Tory MPs. In order to prevent Johnson from reaching the final two candidates and membership vote, which he would surely walk, they need to play the leadership contest masterfully.

Which, if the last three years are anything to go by…

In Johnson’s favour is the cosmic rise of Nigel Farage’s Brexit party – some of his Tory colleagues will view him as the only person with sufficient charisma to combat him.

As of May 29, Theresa May will have outlasted Gordon Brown’s two years and 319 days as prime minister. Maybe that’s what all this was about from day one?