UK’s May quits as party leader, starting succession race

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UK’s Prime Minister Teresa May quietly tendered her exit as the leader of Britain’s leading conservative party on Friday opening the door for new leadership. She will remain in power though until British lawmakers will decide on their new leader by late July this year after a series of secret voting.

May became the prime minister in 2016 after the shock vote to leave the EU and has since been working for an acceptable EU departure deal. She delayed the divorce exit twice with the hope of coming up with an a deal but eventually conceded defeat In an emotional resignation speech late month.  

“Following notification from Prime Minister Theresa May MP that she has resigned as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party, (we) are inviting nominations from those Conservative members of the parliament to stand for election as the next party leader.”

Eleven conservative MPS have tended their interest in a race to replace May but others are expected to pull out of the race before the 5:00 PM (1600 GMT) deadline on Monday. The 313 MP’s, including Theresa May, will hold a series of secret ballot by Thursday. There will be a series of elimination until only the top two contenders are left. The leadership will then be decided upon via a secret ballot by the 100,000 party members.

Johnson Boris, a former foreign minister under May’s leadership are among those eyed to replace her. Boris was the former foreign department head but resigned over his dissatisfaction on May’s brexit plans.  He was a staunch supporter of the Leave EU campaigned which saw it winning by a margin in the 2016 referendum.

Nigel Farage, who recently formed a brexit party is calling for a “no deal”. His party convincingly topped the Parliament election last month. However, it suffered a setback when his party lost a seat to the Labour Party. Despite the win though. Labour’s vote share went down to 17 percent and 25 percent for the conservative.

Another front runner is Environment Secretary Gove, he is   hoping for another Brexit delay. Some experts agree that leaving the EU without a deal will be a “political suicide” and will have detrimental economic consequences for the UK and its neighboring EU states.

The next leader will have a few months to work whether to leave the EU without a deal to its closest trading partners or to continue with May’s exit deal or delay brexit for the third time.

May will remain the prime minister and conservative party leader until a new leader has been elected. The nominees for the new leader will be opened and closed on Monday.

May remained poised when she hosted US president Donald Trump this week for a state visit before joining other world leaders in commemorating the 75th D-Day landing anniversary. “She remains prime minister for a good few weeks yet” says May’s spokesman. The new leader is expected to meet with Queen Elizabeth II with an assurance that they have the support of the majority of lawmakers before taking over.