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Theresa May to quit as Leader of the Conservative Party

Theresa May today announced that she intends to quit as leader of the Conservative Party on 7 June 2019. This will be followed by a leadership contest among Conservative MPs to decide on a new Prime Minister.

She will continue to serve as Prime Minister until a replacement is determined. This is expected to be concluded by the end of July.

Transcript:

Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as Prime Minister, I have striven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for a privileged few, but for everyone.

And to honour the result of the EU referendum.

Back in 2016, we gave the British people a choice.

Against all predictions, the British people voted to leave the European Union.

I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide.

I have done my best to do that.

I negotiated the terms of our exit and a new relationship with our closest neighbours that protects jobs, our security and our Union.

I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal.

Sadly, I have not been able to do so.

I tried three times.

I believe it was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high.

But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort.

So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen.

I have agreed with the Party Chairman and with the Chairman of the 1922 Committee that the process for electing a new leader should begin in the following week.

I have kept Her Majesty the Queen fully informed of my intentions, and I will continue to serve as her Prime Minister until the process has concluded.

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

It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum.

To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not.

Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise.

For many years the great humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton – who saved the lives of hundreds of children by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia through the Kindertransport – was my constituent in Maidenhead.

At another time of political controversy, a few years before his death, he took me to one side at a local event and gave me a piece of advice.

He said, “Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise.”

He was right.

As we strive to find the compromises we need in our politics – whether to deliver Brexit, or to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland – 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. I am proud of the progress we have made over the last three years.

We have completed the work that David Cameron and George Osborne started: the deficit is almost eliminated, our national debt is falling and we are bringing an end to austerity.

My focus has been on ensuring that the good jobs of the future will be created in communities across the whole country, not just in London and the South East, through our Modern Industrial Strategy.

We have helped more people than ever enjoy the security of a job.

We are building more homes and helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder – so young people can enjoy the opportunities their parents did.

And we are protecting the environment, eliminating plastic waste, tackling climate change and improving air quality.

This is what a decent, moderate and patriotic Conservative Government on the common ground of British Politics can achieve, even as we tackle the biggest peacetime challenge any Government has faced. I know that the Conservative Party can renew itself in the years ahead. That we can deliver Brexit and serve the British people with qualities inspired by our values.

Security; freedom; opportunity.

Those values have guided me throughout my career.

But the unique privilege of this office is to use this platform to give a voice to the voiceless, to fight the burning injustices that still scar our society.

That is why I put proper funding for mental health at the heart of our NHS long-term plan.

It is why I am ending the postcode lottery for survivors of domestic abuse.

It is why the Race Disparity Audit and gender pay reporting are shining a light on inequality, so it has nowhere to hide.

And it is why I set up the independent public inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower – to search for the truth, so nothing like it can ever happen again, and so the people who lost their lives that night are never forgotten.

Because this country is a Union.

Not just a family of four nations.

But a union of people – all of us.

Whatever our background, the colour of our skin, or who we love.

We stand together.

And together we have a great future.

Our politics may be under strain, but there is so much that is good about this country. So much to be proud of. So much to be optimistic about.

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.

I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.

Andrea Leadsom Resigns

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has resigned from the Government following the announcement of Theresa May’s new plan for Brexit, saying that she no longer believed that the Government’s Brexit approach could deliver on the referendum result.

PM statement on new Brexit deal: 22 May 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement in the House of Commons on the new Brexit deal.

Transcript:

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the Government’s work to deliver Brexit by putting forward a new deal that members of this House can stand behind. We need to see Brexit through, to honour the result of the referendum, and to deliver the change the British people so clearly demanded. I sincerely believe that most members of this House feel the same. That, for all our division and disagreement, we believe in democracy. That we want to make good on the promise we made to the British people when we asked them to decide on the future of our EU membership.

As to how we make that happen, recent votes have shown that there is no majority in this House for leaving with no deal. And this House has voted against revoking Article 50. It is clear that the only way forward is leaving with a deal – but it is equally clear that this will not happen without compromise on all sides of the debate.

That starts with the Government, which is why we have just held six weeks of detailed talks with the Opposition – talks that the Leader of the Opposition chose to end before a formal agreement was reached, but which nonetheless revealed areas of common ground. And having listened to the Opposition, to other party leaders, to the devolved administrations, to business leaders, trade unionists and others, we are now making a 10-point offer to Members across the House.

Ten changes that address the concerns raised by Hon and Rt Hon Members. Ten binding commitments that will be enshrined in legislation so they cannot simply be ignored. And 10 steps that will bring us closer to the bright future that awaits our country once we end the political impasse and get Brexit done.

First, we will protect British jobs by seeking as close to frictionless trade in goods with the EU as possible while outside the single market and ending free movement. The government will be placed under a legal duty to negotiate our future relationship on this basis.

Second, we will provide much-needed certainty for our vital manufacturing and agricultural sectors by keeping up to date with EU rules for goods and agri-food products that are relevant to checks at the border. Such a commitment – which will also be enshrined in legislation – will help protect thousands of skilled jobs that depend on just-in-time supply chains.

Third, we will empower Parliament to break the deadlock over future customs arrangements. Both the Government and Opposition agree that we must have as close as possible to frictionless trade at the UK-EU border – protecting the jobs and livelihoods that are sustained by our existing trade with the EU.

But while we agree on the ends, we disagree on the means. The Government has already put forward a proposal which delivers the benefits of a customs union but with the ability for the UK to determine its own trade and development policy. The Opposition are both sceptical of our ability to negotiate that and don’t believe an independent trade policy is in the national interest. They would prefer a comprehensive customs union – with a UK say in EU trade policy but with the EU negotiating on our behalf.

As part of the cross-party discussions the government offered a compromise option of a temporary customs union on goods only, including a UK say in relevant EU trade policy, so that the next government can decide its preferred direction. But we were not able to reach agreement – so instead we will commit in law to let Parliament decide this issue, and to reflect the outcome of this process in legislation.

PM’s speech on new Brexit deal: 21 May 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a speech about the new Brexit deal on 21 May 2019.

Transcript:

I became Prime Minister almost three years ago – immediately after the British people voted to leave the European Union. My aim was – and is – to deliver Brexit and help our country move beyond the division of the referendum and into a better future. A country that works for everyone. Where everyone has the chance to get on in life and to go as far as their own talent and hard work can take them. That is a goal that I believe can still unite our country.

I knew that delivering Brexit was not going to be simple or straightforward. The result in 2016 was decisive, but it was close. The challenge of taking Brexit from the simplicity of the choice on the ballot paper to the complexity of resetting the country’s relationship with 27 of its nearest neighbours was always going to be huge.

While it has proved even harder than I anticipated, I continue to believe that the best way to make a success of Brexit is to negotiate a good exit deal with the EU as the basis of a new deep and special partnership for the future. That was my pitch to be leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. That is what I set out in my Lancaster House speech and that was what my Party’s election manifesto said in 2017. That is in essence what the Labour Party’s election manifesto stated too. And over 80% of the electorate backed parties which stood to deliver Brexit by leaving with a deal.

Technical update to the Withdrawal Agreement 12 April 2019

An exchange of letters between the EU Commission and the UK setting out and confirming technical updates to the Withdrawal Agreement reflecting the extension of Article 50.

(…and you thought that the EU was not going to change the Withdrawal Agreement !!)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-update-to-the-withdrawal-agreement

Also included is an updated copy of the Withdrawal Agreement reflecting these updates.


Letter from the European Union to the UK concerning the Withdrawal Agreement

(Local copy pdf)


Letter from the UK to the European Union concerning the Withdrawal Agreement

(Local copy pdf)


Updated Withdrawal Agreement including Article 50 extension

(Local copy pdf)

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