- Theresa May has announced she will step down as Conservative Party leader on 7 June
- She broke down in tears as she said serving as prime minister was “the honour of my life”
- Mrs May will continue to serve as prime minister while a Conservative leadership contest takes place
- The PM was under pressure to quit after a backlash from her own MPs against her Brexit plan
- Parliament has rejected Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement three times
Theresa May entered Downing Street in 2016 determined to deliver Brexit. In the end, her premiership was consumed by it.
Her decision to pursue what was seen as a hard Brexit outside the single market and customs union divided Parliament and her party and sowed the seeds of her downfall.
This was not the plan when the newly elected leader set out her priorities outside No 10.
Mrs May was supposed to be the safe pair of hands who could steady the Tory ship after David Cameron’s resignation, the Remainer who would ensure Britain left the European Union.
But when she sought a greater mandate in a general election, she lost what majority she had and was forced to seek the support of Democratic Unionist Party MPs.
Mrs May’s refusal to be open about the trade-offs between sovereignty and access to EU markets infuriated negotiators in Brussels.
And the withdrawal deal she finally agreed angered Brexiteer ministers and was repeatedly defeated in parliament.
So, amid cabinet resignations, her authority has drained away.
Mrs May was a conscientious, hardworking prime minister imbued with a sense of public duty.
But she was also seen as a dogmatic politician unfit to carry out the task before her – one more Conservative leader brought down by Europe.