Theresa May quits as leader of Conservative Party

PTI

File photo: Theresa May (PTI Photo)

File photo: Theresa May (PTI Photo)

British Prime Minister Theresa May stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday, formally triggering the race for a successor who will try where she failed to deliver Brexit.

May will remain prime minister until a new leader is chosen, likely in late July, but has relinquished control over the direction of Britain’s tortuous departure from the European Union.

Brexit is still scheduled for October 31 but while her rivals thrash it out, the project remains stuck, with the only divorce plan agreed with Brussels stuck in parliament.

May took office after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU and has spent the past three years working on the plan, delaying Brexit twice to try to get it through.

But she finally acknowledged defeat in a tearful resignation speech last month, the culmination of months of political turmoil that has slowly sapped all her authority.

Eleven Conservative MPs are currently vying to replace her, including former foreign minister Boris Johnson, but some are expected to drop out before Monday’s deadline for nominations.

The winner will have only a few months to decide whether to try to salvage May’s plan, delay Brexit again — or sever ties with Britain’s closest trading partner with no agreement at all.

(PTI)