Friday 24 May 2019 3:00 pm

Theresa May resignation live: Sir Graham Brady and Jeremy Hunt join race to replace Theresa May

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Welcome to our live blog as we follow all the latest developments on the day that Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that she will resign.

May has served three years in Number 10 Downing Street but is set to quit as her own cabinet turned against her over her Brexit deal.

She was seeking to bring it to parliament for a fourth time in the guise of a Withdrawal Agreement Bill as early as 3 June, but support for the move has evaporated among ministers in the last few days.

  • Prime Minister Theresa May will quit as party leader on Friday 7 June
  • A leadership contest will begin in the following week commencing Monday 10 June
  • A new leader will be elected by 20 July, the Tories have confirmed
  • Boris Johnson considered one of the frontrunners to replace May
  • Other leading candidates are Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Amber Rudd and Jeremy Hunt
  • Helen Grant quits as vice-chair of Communities to throw support behind leadership candidate, thought to be Dominic Raab

2:30pm: Brady joins race to replace May

Chairman of the 1922 comittee, Sir Graham Brady, has revealed his intention to run for Tory leader just hours after Theresa May announced she would resign.

Brady met with May this morning as the pair discussed her leaving, a timetable for the leadership contest and her staying on as Prime Minister temporarily while the contest is fought.

He has now announced his resignation from his role as chair of the backbenchers committee in order to run.

"I have been urged by a number of colleagues from across the party from inside Parliament, and outside, asking me to put myself forward as a candidate," Sir Graham told the BBC.

"Therefore, I have made the decision to stand down as chair of the 1922 committee in order to ensure a fair and transparent election process.

"I am considering the approaches I have received and will make a decision in due course."

2:00pm: Hunt to run for Tory leader

Jeremy Hunt has confirmed he will run to be the next Conservative party leader at the Haslemere Festival today in his constituency of South West Surrey.

The current foreign secretary announced the news during a "political update" at the festival, saying it was “only right that my party constituency should be the first to know”, according to local newspaper Farnham Herald.

His local consitutency office has also confirmed the news, meaning he is the first member of the current cabinet to announce his intention to run. 

He is expected to officially announce his campaign for leadership next week. 

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson had already revealed his plan to run to replace May, prior to her announcing she would resign. 

He remains the overwhelming favourite.

Hunt is the first cabinet minister to announce his intention to run for Tory leader (Source: Getty)

12:05pm: New Prime Minister to be appointed by 20 July, Tories say

The Conservative party have confirmed that a new leader will be elected before the end of July. 

There had been some concern that given a typical timetable of a leadership contest it could take until after Parliament's summer break, but the Tories have quashed those fears by saying a new leader will be in place for the 20 July. 

The leadership battle will begin on 10 June, with May set to resign as leader on 7 June. Although she will remain the Prime Minister in a temporary capacity until a new leader is found, it was confirmed today.

The exact timetable for voting is likely to be confirmed by the 1922 committee next week, but a shorter battle is likely to benefit the more well-known candidates, with less time for others to campaign.

Former Mayor of London and foreign secretary Boris Johnson remains favourite, while Dominic Raab is the other current frontrunner.

British Political Figures Vote In The European Elections
Boris Johnson is favourite to replace May with Tories to elect new leader by 20 July (Source: Getty)

10.57am: Boris Johnson the favourite to succeed May as Tory party leader

Boris Johnson remains the firm favourite to replace Theresa May as Conservative party leader, according to bookmaker Paddy Power.

The former foreign secretary, who quit over May's Brexit deal, is odds-on to become the next Prime Minister at 6/4.

He has already confirmed that "of course" he would throw his hat into the ring to replace May.

A Yougov poll for the Times last weekend found 39 per cent of party members would vote for Johnson, with Raab someway behind on 13 per cent.

Dominic Raab, who quit as Brexit secretary last year, is a close second at 6/1 before May's de facto deputy, David Lidington, is in third place at 9/1.

A spokesman said: “As we anticipated, it’s the end of May, and now we face a battle to see who will replace her from 7 June.

“Boris Johnson has been our favourite for months now, and has seen the majority of bets on the market. Whoever it is will have a major to-do list – somehow sort out the country, Brexit, and avoid being hit by any milkshakes.”

Here's Paddy Power's full table of the contenders:

Contender Odds
Boris Johnson 6/4
Dominic Raab 6/1
David Lidington 9/1
Jeremy Hunt 12/1
Andrea Leadsom 12/1
Michael Gove 14/1
Penny Mordaunt 20/1
Rory Stewart 22/1
Sajid Javid 22/1
Nigel Farage 25/1
Jeremy Corbyn 33/1

10.50am: Sterling ticks up after May confirms she will quit

Sterling has gained marginally by 0.26 per cent following May's decision to quit, taking it to $1.269.

Meanwhile various plaudits have flooded in from allies and enemies alike, with Boris Johnson – one of May's erstwhile critics over the direction she was taking Brexit – thanking her for her "stoical service".

Environment secretary Michael Gove, an ally of May in her cabinet, added that she "deserves our respect and gratitude".

10.23am: May showed 'great courage' as Prime Minister, says Amber Rudd

Cabinet minister Amber Rudd said Theresa May showed 'great courage' in her failed efforts to deliver Brexit.

Reacting to her boss' decision to resign this morning, Rudd tweeted: "The Prime Minister has shown great courage.

"She is a public servant who did all she could to bring Brexit to a resolution. Her sense of duty is something everyone should admire and aspire to."

May will resign as head of the Conservative party on 7 June, before a Tory leadership contest to find a new Prime Minister candidate will begin on 10 June.

Rudd added: "As a party we must come together to make a success of the next phase of our Party’s great story.

"Brexit is a process and compromise is needed to pass a deal that works for everyone.

"We must show we can lead this great country to the strong future that I know we can deliver."

Other candidates to replace May as Conservative party leader, including Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Sajid Javid and Michael Gove, have not yet made a public comment.

10:05am: Theresa May will quit as Prime Minister on Friday 7 June

Theresa May has revealed that she will step down as Prime Minister on Friday 7 June.

The 1922 committee has opted to keep May in place until the leadership contest to launch on 10 June has concluded, but she will be replaced during the summer once the Conservative party selects a new leader.

They will become the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and face the challenge of securing a Brexit deal before 31 October, when the UK is due to leave the EU.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street this morning, May said: "It will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I was not able to deliver Brexit. My successor will have to find consensus where I have not."

She added: "I have agreed with the party chairman and chair of the 1922 committee that the process for electing the new leader should behin in the following week."

A timetable for the leadership race will be agreed by the 1922 committee next week, with a start date likely to be 10 June – the date that May will essentially become a caretaker Prime Minister.

May's resignation comes at the end of a week in which she faced increasing pressure to quit, following a backlash from cabinet ministers over her Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which included options for a customs union agreement and to give MPs a vote on holding another referendum.

It was due to be voted on during the week commencing 3 June, but May has accepted that it would have been heavily defeated.

She had already seen her Brexit deal voted down on three separate occasions since December, and talks to find a compromise with Labour over the past two months also failed.

"I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal," she added. "I tried three times. I believe it was right to persevere.

"It's now clear to me it's in the best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort."

9.55am: Lectern with crest in place outside Number 10 

Downing Street has placed a lectern with the government crest on outside Number 10.

According to Christopher Hope, chief political correspondent at the Telegraph, “this means she might resign as Prime Minister as well as party leader”.

“If she were quitting as leader the crest would not be on the lectern.”

That could open up the leadership contest to have even more significance, with Tory party members potentially picking their new Prime Minister.

9:36am: The leadership contest could get underway on 10 June

If the Prime Minister steps down as expected it will trigger a leadership contest that is likely to start on 10 June.

The 1922 committee, lead by chairman Sir Graham Brady, will decide the timetable of an election and how it is conducted in collaboration with the party.

The typical length of a leadership battle would take the Tories up until Parliament's summer recess in August, so they will have to move things along quickly to get it done by the end of July.

Read more: Tory leadership race: Who are the leading candidates?

Alternatively, it could take until September at the latest for a new leader to be appointed.

There would usually be a period of time for candidates to come forward before it is whittled down to two leading candidates with sequential votes for members of the Conservative party.

Previously these have been conducted on Tuesday's and Thursday's, twice a week, with ballot papers sent out to members and returned by post.

There are around 20 MPs who could throw their hat in the ring, according to Sky News.

Boris Johnson is among the front-runners, with Dominic Raab the other leading candidate.

Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Amber Rudd are among the other potential candidates.

Read more: Brexiter Tories stuff their war chests ahead of leadership battle

Some of the leading candidates to become Conservative party (Source: Getty)

9.11am: Tory resigns as May set to announce departure date 

Helen Grant has resigned as vice-chair for Communities this morning.

She said: "It is with regret that I have today resigned as @Conservatives Vice Chair for Communities. Now is the time for new leadership to deliver Brexit and unite our Party and our Country."

In a letter to the Conservative party chairman, she said: I wish to actively and openly support one of the new leadership candidates and would not want there to be any perception of a conflict between the candidate's campaign and my role at CCHQ.

"The PM has, of course, said she will be leaving, a decision that I respect and believe to be right."

8.50am: Prime Minister Theresa May set to confirm date she will quit 10 Downing Street

Theresa May is expected to announce her departure as Prime Minister this morning, calling time on her three-year tenure at Downing Street. 

May will also outline the timetable of a Conservative party leadership contest, which is likely to start on June 10. 

She will outline her proposal to chairman of the Tory backbenchers, Graham Brady, at 9am, with an announcement of her resignation set to follow shortly afterwards, according to Sky News.

Read more: Theresa May’s legacy? Contortions of logic and tin-eared obstinacy

In the past week she has come under increasing pressure to resign, with cabinet ministers revolting against her latest Brexit plans. 

She has already had her withdrawal agreement rejected by Parliament on three separate occasions since January, while recent talks with Labour to find a compromise also failed.

May was due to publish the Withdrawal Agreement Bill today, calling it "one last chance" to deliver Brexit, but new proposals to include a customs union and give MPs a vote on holding another referendum angered members of her party.

May was seen arriving at Downing Street earlier this morning ahead of a meeting with Sir Graham Brady (Source: Getty)

Andrea Leadsom, who had supported May's previous efforts to get a deal through Parliament, stepped down as Commons leader on Wednesday evening, claiming the government would not be able to "deliver on the referendum result" under the revised plans.

On Thursday, May discussed her latest Brexit plans with home secretary Sajid Javid and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, both of whom expressed their concerns and told her to drop the new bill. 

Read more: Gavin Williamson: I'm backing Boris to deliver Brexit and beat Labour

She would later discuss her plans to quit with husband, Philip, at their home in Berkshire, the Financial Times claim. 

A Tory leadership race would likely conclude at the end of July, giving the new prime minister just three months to agree a deal to leave the EU ahead of October 31. 

Boris Johnson is the current favourite to take control, with Dominic Raab also in contention, while May's deputy David Lidington has been tipped to stand-in until May's replacement is elected.