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PM statement on EU Council Meeting

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Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement to the House of Commons on the EU Council meeting, held on 20-21 June 2019

Mr Speaker, before I turn to the European Council, I am sure the whole House will join me in sending our very best wishes to the former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. All our thoughts are with him and his family at this time – and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Mr Speaker, last week’s European Council focused on climate change, disinformation and hybrid threats, external relations and what are known as the EU’s “Top Jobs”. The UK has always been clear that we will participate fully and constructively in all EU discussions for as long as we are a Member State – and that we will seek to continue our co-operation on issues of mutual interest through our future relationship after we have left. And that was the spirit in which I approached this Council.

Mr Speaker, earlier this month the UK became the first major economy in the world to commit to ending its contribution to global warming by 2050. And I am pleased that the regulations to amend the 2008 Climate Change Act – which are being debated in this Chamber later today – have received widespread support from across this House. But ultimately we will only protect our planet if we are able to forge the widest possible global agreements. That means other countries need to follow our lead and increase their ambitions as well.

At this Council the UK helped to lead the way in advocating for our European partners to follow suit in committing to a net zero target by 2050. While a full EU-wide consensus was not reached, “a large majority” of Member States did agree that “climate neutrality must be achieved by 2050”. And I hope we can build on this in the months ahead.

Tory Party Leader Election

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Theresa May formally resigned as Tory leader in a private letter to the acting chairs of the Conservative Party’s backbench 1922 Committee on Friday 7 June 2019 and the contest to become leader of the Conservative Party began officially today, Monday 10 June, with nominations closing at 5pm.

There are 10 candidates. Each candidate needs to be nominated by 2 fellow MPs and have the support of an additional 6 MPs.

Candidates are:

  • Michael Gove
  • Matt Hancock
  • Mark Harper
  • Jeremy Hunt
  • Sajid Javid
  • Boris Johnson
  • Andrea Leadsom
  • Esther McVey
  • Dominic Raab
  • Rory Stewart

A series of ballots are held by Conservative MPs to reduce the number of candidates to 2.

In the first round, candidates are required to receive at least 5% of the votes (17 MPs) in order to proceed to the next round.

In the second round, candidates are required to receive at least 10% of the votes (33 MPs) in order to proceed to the next round.

For the remaining ballots, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and further ballots are held until there are 2 candidates remaining.

These 2 candidates are put forward for a postal ballot by all Conservative Party members, and the candidates receiving the most votes becomes Leader of the Conservative Party. Because the Conservative Party currently form the Government the successful candidate also becomes Prime Minister.

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.

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.

Government Talks with Labour Party Collapse

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As expected, after more than 6 weeks of talks between the Government and Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May to announce that talks have come to an end with no agreement between the parties.

I have written to Theresa May to say that talks on finding a compromise agreement for leaving the European Union have gone as far as they can. The Government’s growing weakness and instability means there cannot be confidence in its ability to deliver.

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