Theresa May says she will step down as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday 7 June.
After a meeting with Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 committee, on Friday morning, the Prime Minister emerged from Number 10 to appraise media of her plans to step down after Donald Trump’s state visit.
“It’s in the best interests of the country,” she said.
An increasingly emotional May said “it has been the honour of my life” to hold the position of Prime Minister. “The second female Prime Minister, but certainly not the last.”
And as she expressed the honour of serving “the country that I love,” her demeanour gave way, perhaps for the first time, to show the woman behind the mask. She was in tears as she turned her back and walked back into her residence.
Tributes immediately began to pour in from senior political figures.Potential successor Dominic Raab was amongst them, as was Michael Gove.
Even the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon sent a tribute. There was also a statement from the Irish Premier.
Unsurprisingly, the leader of the current opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, was far less conciliatory.
Amusingly, Downing Street released the Prime Minister’s statement this morning without attaching the speech.
May will still officially be the ‘de facto’ Prime Minister until the next Tory leader is selected.