Wednesday 21 August 2019

May fires warning shot at Johnson in emotional speech outside No 10

  

British Prime Minister Theresa May takes questions in Parliament on her last day in office as Prime Minister in London, Britain July 24, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS?
British Prime Minister Theresa May takes questions in Parliament on her last day in office as Prime Minister in London, Britain July 24, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS?

Andrew Woodcock

Theresa May left 10 Downing Street for the last time as prime minister yesterday with a warning to her successor that he must deliver an "exit from the European Union in a way that works for the whole United Kingdom".

Mrs May's emotional departure speech before the famous black door of No 10 was briefly interrupted by a shout of "Stop Brexit" from a heckler outside the gates. She paused briefly before saying: "I think the answer to that is 'I think not."'

The outgoing PM was flanked by husband Philip who joined her on her final journey to Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation to Queen Elizabeth, a little over three years after her appointment.

After a private audience with the queen lasting half an hour, the couple left for their home in Mrs May's Berkshire seat of Maidenhead, where she stays on as constituency MP.

Liberal Democrats including new leader Jo Swinson joined Tories and the DUP in rising to their feet to applaud Mrs May after a marathon session of Prime Minister's Questions lasting more than an hour. But Labour MPs remained firmly in their seats and, while a few clapped quietly, leader Jeremy Corbyn did not.

Though Mr Corbyn paid tribute to the outgoing PM's "sense of public duty", he said she should feel regret for the increases in poverty, violent crime and NHS waiting times under her watch. Mrs May accused Mr Corbyn of spreading "fake news" and told him: "As a party leader who has accepted when her time is up, perhaps the time is now for him to do the same."

Speaking outside the door to No 10, Mrs May confirmed that she would advise the monarch to invite Boris Johnson - who on Tuesday won the contest to succeed her as Conservative leader - to form a new government. "I wish him and the government he will lead every good fortune in the months and years ahead," she said. "Their successes will be our country's successes, and I hope that they will be many."

Speaking as the UK's second female PM, she said: "I hope that every young girl who has seen a woman prime minister now knows for sure that there are no limits to what they can achieve."

Irish Independent

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