LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 11 – Theresa May will on Wednesday become the prime minister who leads Britain’s into Brexit talks after her only rival in the race to succeed David Cameron pulled out unexpectedly.
May was left as the only contender standing after the withdrawal from the leadership race of Andrea Leadsom, who faced criticism for suggesting she was more qualified to be premier because she had children.
Cameron later announced she would take over from him on Wednesday, when he is expected to go and see Queen Elizabeth II to tender his resignation and recommend Home Secretary May as his successor.
“On Wednesday, I will attend the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions and then after that I expect to go to the palace and offer my resignation so we’ll have a new prime minister in that building behind me by Wednesday evening,” he said in a statement delivered outside 10 Downing Street.
Britain has faced the worst political turmoil in generations following June 23’s shock vote to leave the European Union, which prompted Cameron to step down.
His Conservatives have endured a bitter leadership race while the leader of the main opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, is also facing a challenge to his job.
While May supported Britain staying in the EU, she cut a low profile during the referendum and has insisted she will honour the vote, stressing: “Brexit means Brexit”.
“There will be no attempts to remain inside the EU, there will be no attempts to rejoin it by the back door, no second referendum,” she said at a campaign event before Leadsom pulled out.
May wants to begin formal talks to leave the EU by the end of the year at the earliest despite pressure from Brussels to speed up.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who heads the Eurogroup of his 19 eurozone counterparts, restated calls for the transfer of power to take place as soon as possible.
“The sooner we can sort out – let me say it diplomatically – this problematic situation, the better,” Dijsselbloem told reporters.