LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday she would step down on June 7, succumbing to calls in her governing Conservative Party to make way for a new leader to try to break an impasse over Britain’s departure from the European Union.
“From my perspective, I don’t see the European Union offering any new prime minister a better or very different deal to what was on offer to Theresa May.
“This idea that a new prime minister will be a tougher negotiator and will put it up to the EU and get a much better deal for Britain? That’s not how the EU works.”
“Her departure will not solve the Brexit mess that the Tories (Conservatives) have created. Only putting the matter back to the people can do that. Given current circumstances, it also feels deeply wrong for another Tory to be installed in Number 10 without a General Election.
“The prospect of an even more hardline Brexiteer now becoming PM and threatening a no deal exit is deeply concerning.”
CONSERVATIVE LAWMAKER BORIS JOHNSON, FAVOURITE TO REPLACE MAY:
“A very dignified statement from @theresa_may. Thank you for your stoical service to our country and the Conservative Party. It is now time to follow her urgings: to come together and deliver Brexit.”
“The Prime Minister is right to have resigned. She has now accepted what the country has known for months: she cannot govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.
“The Conservative Party has utterly failed the country over Brexit and is unable to improve people’s lives or deal with their most pressing needs. Parliament is deadlocked and the Conservatives offer no solutions to the other major challenges facing our country.
“The last thing the country needs is weeks of more Conservative infighting followed by yet another unelected Prime Minister. Whoever becomes the new Conservative Leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate General Election.”
BREXIT SUPPORTER AND CONSERVATIVE LAWMAKER THERESA VILLIERS:
“The new Conservative leader needs to bring the party back together and provide real leadership and direction. He or she should immediately seek improved exit terms from the EU. We need to get Brexit done and move on from the divisions it has caused in the party and the country.”
“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.”
“Yesterday’s elections will surely show that delivering Brexit is now more urgent than ever, and that will fall to a new Prime Minister. It’s time to get on with the process of appointing one.”
“The parliamentary arithmetic will be the same on June 10 as before. No majority for general election. No majority for compromise. No MP majority for leaving the EU, ignoring the reality that yesterday the public voted with their behinds, by sitting on them.”
BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE DIRECTOR GENERAL, ADAM MARSHALL:
“Businesses must be reassured that a change at the top in Downing Street does not simply usher in a longer period of posturing and gesture politics. Westminster has already squandered far too much time going around in circles on Brexit.
“The UK is already paying the price for a political system at war over Brexit. Our hard-earned reputation as a great place to do business has been tarnished.”
CAROLYN FAIRBAIN, DIRECTOR OF THE CONFEDERATION OF BRITISH INDUSTRY:
“Theresa May could not have worked harder to deliver a Brexit deal that protects the economy. She leaves office with the respect of business. But her resignation must be a catalyst for change. There can be no plan for Britain without a plan for Brexit.”
Reporting by Kate Holton, William James, David Milliken and James Davey; editing by Michael Holden