‘It’s been the honour of my life to serve the country I love’: Theresa May breaks down as she announces she will stand down on June 7 in emotional announcement and pleads for politicians to find Brexit compromise that eluded her
- PM spent the night at home in Berkshire with her husband Philip before returning to Downing Street today
- Mrs May announce plans this morning to step aside as Tory leader on June 7 and leave No10 over the summer
- Mrs May began the day with a meeting with the Tories’ backbench 1922 shop steward Sir Graham Brady
- She then address the nation from Downing Street to explain why she has decided to leave ‘the job I love’
Theresa May broke down in tears today as she read the last rites on her troubled premiership after bowing to a massive Tory mutiny over her Brexit plans.
The Prime Minister announced her departure in an emotional statement on the steps of Downing Street after meeting Tory backbench chief Sir Graham Brady and giving the news to her staff behind closed doors.
‘I’ve done my best,’ she said. ‘I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal … sadly I have not been able to do so.
‘It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.’
Watched by husband Philip, Mrs May was almost unable to continue as she was overtaken by tears while voicing her pride at having served the country.
She declared she will resign as Conservative leader on June 7, triggering a contest that should be complete by the end of July – admitting it was time for someone else to try and deliver Brexit.
Mrs May said it had been the ‘honour of my life’ to be PM, and she hoped she would not be the last woman to lead the country. And she urged warring MPs from all parties to remember that ‘compromise is not a dirty word’.
The dramatic move comes after Mrs May’s last-ditch effort to get her EU deal through the Commons backfired spectacularly. Tories were up in arms and the Cabinet mounted an open revolt after she offered MPs a vote on holding a second referendum and joining a temporary customs union with the EU.
The PM humiliatingly pulled her Withdrawal Agreement Bill – known as WAB – yesterday after seemingly accepting the inevitable.
Sir Graham had been charged by Tory backbenchers to enforce an exit date if she refused, with MPs threatening to change party rules to allow a no-confidence vote.
But despite the brutal assault on her position, there was an outpouring of sympathy today after she finally fell on her sword.
Andrea Leadsom, whose resignation as Commons Leader put the final nail in Mrs May’s political coffin, tweeted: ‘A very dignified speech by @theresa_may. An illustration of her total commitment to country and duty. She did her utmost, and I wish her all the very best.’
Prominent Tory Brexiteer Steve Baker, who strongly opposed the PM’s Brexit deal, tweeted: ‘Very dignified statement from Theresa May, beginning to set out the many things which she has achieved in office. This is a sad but necessary day.’
Environment Secretary Michael Gove tweeted: ‘A moving speech from a Prime Minister who deserves our respect and gratitude. Thank you @theresa_may.’
The Prime Minister announced her departure in an emotional statement on the steps of Downing Street today
Mrs May was overcome by tears as she spoke of her pride at having been PM, even though she admitted to having failed to deliver Brexit
Her voice cracking, Mrs May said it had been the ‘honour of my life’ to be PM, and she hoped she would not be the last woman to lead the country
The premier walked back through the famous black door as the country digested the impending end of her premiership
Last night the PM chose to stay at her constituency home in Berkshire mulling her exit strategy with her husband Philip, who was yesterday urged by Brexiteers to tell his wife her time is up.
This morning’s bombshell development, which plunges the future of Brexit into further doubt, comes as:
- An exclusive Mail poll showed that Boris Johnson has raced into a big early lead in the battle to succeed Mrs May, and that Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party was on course for a landslide victory in yesterday’s European Parliament elections;
- Mr Farage warned MPs that his fledgling party was ready to fight ‘a general election that would cost them all their jobs’ if they failed to deliver on the 2016 EU referendum result;
- Former chancellor Ken Clarke suggested the majority of Tory MPs did not support their own party in the European election.
- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who rejected Mrs May’s compromise offer on Brexit, told supporters to ‘get ready for a general election’;
- Former defence secretary Gavin Williamson and rising Tory star Johnny Mercer both announced they would be backing Mr Johnson’s campaign for the Tory crown;
- Tory vice-chair Helen Grant quit before Mrs May confirmed her resignation, saying she wants to support a candidate in the leadership contest;
- Mrs May spent the afternoon campaigning in her Maidenhead constituency for the European elections she never wanted to take place;
- Downing Street dismissed reports that the political turbulence could lead to the cancellation of Donald Trump’s visit.
Mrs May’s decision to announce her plans to step aside came after senior Cabinet ministers warned her they were on the brink of withdrawing their support over her decision to open the door to a second Brexit referendum in a last-ditch bid to get her deal approved by MPs.
Philip May (pictured centre) looked as though he was suppressing an urge to comfort his wife as she made her speech. After her notorious coughing conference speech in 2017 he leapt on stage to embrace her at the end
Philip May could be seen watching from the shadows (far left) as his wife delivered her parting message from Downing St
Mrs May walked out into Downing Street to draw a line under her time in office after meeting Tory chief Sir Graham Brady
The moment was too much for Mrs May, who broke down in tears as she neared the end of her announcement today
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Mrs May to abandon plans to put her Withdrawal Agreement Bill to a vote by MPs next month.
Mr Hunt, one of more than a dozen Tory MPs hoping to succeed her, said it was not fair to ask loyal MPs to vote for a toxic compromise that had no chance of succeeding. Home Secretary Sajid Javid, another potential leadership candidate, warned her he could not back the legislation unless she dropped the option of a second referendum.
Their interventions followed the resignation of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who quit on Wednesday night in protest at the scale of the concessions to Labour.
Sir Graham arrived for today’s meeting armed with the results of a secret ballot of senior Tories which is thought to authorise him to call an immediate vote of no confidence in her leadership if she refuses to go.
Mrs May told MPs on Wednesday that her ‘new deal’ Brexit – which was designed to win over Labour MPs – would be published today and voted on in the week beginning June 3.
But the move was dropped after Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay, who would have to oversee the legislation, said he could not support it in its current form.
The Mail revealed yesterday that Mrs May had accepted her time was up and was ready to announce plans for a ‘dignified’ departure.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said if Mrs May refused to heed the message from her MPs and Cabinet it was up to her husband to tell her that her time was up.
He told Talk Radio: ‘The person closest to her is clearly her husband, and I think somebody has to say look, nobody likes this… Politics is a nasty, sometimes brutal, ghastly business.
‘But the reality is that she has no confidence any longer, not just in her party but in the Cabinet as well. So the best thing for her and the best thing for everybody else is to break away and say it’s time to find a new leader.’
Allies of Mrs May last night dismissed suggestions that she had been forced out by the line of ministers beating a path to her door.
Government Chief Whip Julian Smith arrives at No 10 Downing Street, where the PM has announced her resignation after just three years, and was followed in by May’s chief of staff Gavin Barwell
Mrs May’s director of communications, Robbie Gibb, managed a smile for waiting reporters as he arrived at No10 today
Prime Minister Theresa May returned to Downing Street by the back entrance earlier as she prepared to quit after an ill-fated three years in power
One said: ‘It is funny – and slightly pathetic – to see Sajid and Jeremy suddenly saying the deal is unacceptable after sitting through the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that approved it. Leadsom stole a march on them – they are scrabbling to catch up.’
It comes as a Survation poll for the Daily Mail shows Mr Farage’s Brexit Party well ahead in the European elections on 31 per cent, trailed by Labour on 23, the Conservatives on 14 and the Lib Dems on 12.
Nearly seven out of ten Tory voters said the reason they did not intend to vote for Mrs May yesterday was because of her failure to deliver Brexit. Calls for her to step down were backed by 57 per cent of Conservatives with 25 per cent against.
With the Tory leadership contest about to begin, most of the party’s supporters appear to have already decided that former Foreign Secretary Johnson is the best person to revive their dismal ratings and sort out the Brexit chaos.
A total of 36 per cent of Conservatives said he should be next leader, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid a distant second on nine per cent, followed by Environment Secretary Michael Gove on seven and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on five.
The highest placed women candidates are Andrea Leadsom, who resigned from the Cabinet on Wednesday, and fellow Brexiteer, former TV presenter Esther McVey.
Both are on three per cent. Mr Johnson has almost as big a lead over his Conservative rivals among voters as a whole. With the Tories expected to choose a new leader by the end of July, his fellow leadership contenders will have their work cut out to close the gap.
‘I did my best’: Theresa’s emotional speech on the steps of Downing Street in full
Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as Prime Minister, I have striven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for a privileged few, but for everyone.
And to honour the result of the EU referendum.
Back in 2016, we gave the British people a choice.
Against all predictions, the British people voted to leave the European Union.
I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide.
I have done my best to do that.
I negotiated the terms of our exit and a new relationship with our closest neighbours that protects jobs, our security and our Union.
I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal.
Sadly, I have not been able to do so.
I tried three times.
I believe it was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high.
But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort.
So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen.
I have agreed with the Party Chairman and with the Chairman of the 1922 Committee that the process for electing a new leader should begin in the following week.
I have kept Her Majesty the Queen fully informed of my intentions, and I will continue to serve as her Prime Minister until the process has concluded.
It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.
It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum.
To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not.
Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise.
For many years the great humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton – who saved the lives of hundreds of children by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia through the Kindertransport – was my constituent in Maidenhead.
At another time of political controversy, a few years before his death, he took me to one side at a local event and gave me a piece of advice.
He said, ‘Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise.’
He was right.
As we strive to find the compromises we need in our politics – whether to deliver Brexit, or to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland – we must remember what brought us here.
Because the referendum was not just a call to leave the EU but for profound change in our country.
A call to make the United Kingdom a country that truly works for everyone. I am proud of the progress we have made over the last three years.
We have completed the work that David Cameron and George Osborne started: the deficit is almost eliminated, our national debt is falling and we are bringing an end to austerity.
My focus has been on ensuring that the good jobs of the future will be created in communities across the whole country, not just in London and the South East, through our Modern Industrial Strategy.
We have helped more people than ever enjoy the security of a job.
We are building more homes and helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder – so young people can enjoy the opportunities their parents did.
And we are protecting the environment, eliminating plastic waste, tackling climate change and improving air quality.
This is what a decent, moderate and patriotic Conservative Government, on the common ground of British politics, can achieve – even as we tackle the biggest peacetime challenge any government has faced.
I know that the Conservative Party can renew itself in the years ahead.
That we can deliver Brexit and serve the British people with policies inspired by our values.
Security; freedom; opportunity.
Those values have guided me throughout my career.
But the unique privilege of this office is to use this platform to give a voice to the voiceless, to fight the burning injustices that still scar our society.
That is why I put proper funding for mental health at the heart of our NHS long-term plan.
It is why I am ending the postcode lottery for survivors of domestic abuse.
It is why the Race Disparity Audit and gender pay reporting are shining a light on inequality, so it has nowhere to hide.
And that is why I set up the independent public inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower – to search for the truth, so nothing like it can ever happen again, and so the people who lost their lives that night are never forgotten.
Because this country is a Union.
Not just a family of four nations.
But a union of people – all of us.
Whatever our background, the colour of our skin, or who we love.
We stand together.
And together we have a great future.
Our politics may be under strain, but there is so much that is good about this country. So much to be proud of. So much to be optimistic about.
I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold – the second female Prime Minister but certainly not the last.
I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.
Tories braced for a summer leadership campaign: who are the frontrunners to replace Theresa May?
A huge field of candidates is expected to run to replace Theresa May.
While as many as 25 could run they will swiftly be whittled down into a workable number as MPs show their allegiances and plot to get their chosen man or woman into Downing Street.
Here we look at the main runners and riders, with their odds with Ladbrokes and how they voted in the 2016 referendum:
Boris Johnson: The long-running thorn in May’s side who has recently had a ‘prime ministerial’ makeover
- Former foreign secretary and mayor of London
- Voted leave and has become an increasingly hardline Brexiteer
- As likely to make headlines over his private life
- Has recently lost a lot of weight and smartened up his appearance
- Leadership odds 6/4
The former foreign secretary, 54, who quit last July and has been tacitly campaigning for the leadership ever since. He finally went public last week to confirm he would run.
Never far from the limelight the father-of-four recently split from his wife Marina and is in a relationship with former Conservative staffer Carrie Symonds, 20 years his junior.
As an increasingly hawkish Brexiteer who says we should not be afraid of leaving without a deal he is hugely popular with the party faithful.
At the start of the year he underwent what might be deemed a ‘prime ministerial’ makeover, losing weight and taming his unruly mop of blonde hair.
Popular with the rank-and-file membership he has less fans in the parliamentary party and may face a concerted campaign to block his succession. Received the surprise backing of Johnny Mercer last night.
Dominic Raab: Brexiteer who quit rather than back Mrs May’s deal
Dominic Raab has become a cheerleader for a hard Brexit since stepping down as Brexit secretary in November
- Shortlived Brexit secretary last year, replacing David Davis in the hot seat
- But walked in November over terms agreed by PM
- Voted for Brexit in 2016
- Leadership odds 4/1
Mr Raab, 45, is another Vote Leave member who became Brexit secretary after David Davis quit alongside Mr Johnson last July over the Chequers plan.
But he lasted just a matter of months before he too jumped ship, saying he could not accept the terms of the deal done by the Prime Minister.
Like Mr Johnson and Mr Davis he has become an increasingly hardline Brexiteer, sharing a platform with the DUP’s Arlene Foster and suggesting we should not be afraid of a no-deal Brexit.
The Esher and Walton MP’s decision to quit in November, boosted his popularity with party members but he lacks the wider popular appeal of Mr Johnson.
And like Mr Johnson he might benefit from having quit the Cabinet at an earlier stage and dissociating himself with the dying days of the May administration.
His odds have shortened as he is seen as possibly a more palatable alternative Brexiteer to Boris by MPs seeking to block Mr Johnson’s run.
He recently posed for a glossy photoshoot with wife Erika at their Surrey home, seen as a sign he will run.
Andrea Leadsom: May’s former rival who finally decided she could take no more
Ms Leadsom (pictured today) quit the cabinet yesterday. She is a Brexiteer who frequently clashed with Speaker John Bercow
- The Commons’ Leader challenged May in 2016
- Voted for Brexit
- Hosted Brexiteer ‘pizza party’ plot last year
- Increasingly outspoken Brexiteer
- Leadership odds 16/1
The former Commons’ Leader piled pressure on the Prime Minister by announcing her own resignation from the Cabinet last night.
In a parting blast, the Commons Leader said she could not stomach the latest version of Mrs May’s Brexit deal, with its offer of a second referendum.
It was the final act by an MP whose departure had seemingly been on the cards for months.
Mrs Leadsom, a mother of three, stood against Mrs May for the party leadership in 2016 before conceding defeat before it was put to a vote of MPs.
As collective responsibility largely broke down among ministers she became an increasingly vocal and clear Brexiteer voice in the Cabinet along line similar lines to Mr Johnson and Mr Raab.
She was the host of a Brexiteer ‘pizza party’ in Parliament that included Michael Gove and Liz Truss as the vying wings of the Cabinet plotted to shape the Brexit deal they wanted.
In her role as Commons’ Leader she frequently clashes with Speaker John Bercow over issues including bullying in Parliament.
It is something that will do her no harm among the Tory backbenches where he is widely loathed.
Jeremy Hunt: Remainer turned Brexiteer unity candidate who wants to heal the party
Jeremy Hunt, a born-again Brexiteer after supporting Remain, toured Africa last month with wife Lucia
- The Foreign Secretary voted Remain
- But has become an increasingly vocal Brexiteer
- Former health secretary backs May’s deal
- Has approached ministers about running as a unity candidate
- Leadership odds 10/1
The Foreign Secretary who has undergone a Damascene conversion to the Brexit cause and is seen as a safe if uninspiring pair of hands.
The 52-year-old South West Surrey MP has reportedly been selling himself to colleagues as a unity candidate who can bring together the fractious Tory factions into something approaching a cohesive party.
A long-serving health secretary, the father-of three replaced Mr Johnson as the UK’s top diplomat and has won some plaudits over issues like the imprisonment of British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran.
But critics point to tub-thumpingly comparing the EU to the USSR at the party conference last year – which was very badly received in Brussels – and a gaffe in which he referred to his Chinese wife as ‘Japanese’ as a reception in China.
Last month he went on a tour of Africa in which his Chinese wife Lucia made a major appearance, after he gaffed by forgetting her nationality.
Last week he called for a ‘decisive’ hike in defence spending to see off the rising threat from Russia and China – in a speech seen as a clear signal of his leadership ambitions.
Speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet Mansion House in the City of London, he said the UK’s hard power must be strengthened, with billions more spent on new capabilities to tackle drones and cyber attacks.
Michael Gove: The boomerang cabinet minister with a Machiavellian reputation
Michael Gove has made a remarkable political comeback after being sacked by Theresa May in 2016
- Leading Vote Leave figure in 2016 who now backs PM’s Brexit deal
- Former journalist, 51, who stood for leadership in 2016
- Was sacked as education minister by Theresa May
- Later returned as Environment Minister
- Leadship odds 12/1
A Brexiteer with a Machiavellian reputation after the 2016 leadership campaign in which he first supported Boris Johnson for the leadership and then stood against him, to their mutual disadvantage.
The former education secretary – sacked by Mrs May – was rehabilitated to become a right-on environment secretary – complete with reusable coffee cups and a strong line on food standards after Brexit.
Despite being a former lead figure in the Vote Leave campaign alongside Mr Johnson the former journalist and MP for Surrey Heath has swung behind Mrs May’s Brexit deal – which might count against him.
But while he noisily supports the deal – he views the alternatives as worse – the father-of-two – married to Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine – is quieter when it comes to supporting the Prime Minister and practically mute when it comes to her future.
Seen as one of the Cabinet’s strongest political thinkers and having stood once it is unthinkable that he would not stand again.
But like many others he has yet to publicly declare his candidacy.
If he did it would again pitch him pitched against Mr Johnson in a battle for Brexiteer votes.
Penny Mordaunt: The highly regarded Brexiteer promoted to take on defence
Ms Mordaunt is an outsider for the leadership but is highly thought of in Brexiteer groups
- The MP for Portsmouth North is a Royal Navy reservist
- Highly regarded in Brexiteer circles
- She has been consistently tipped to quit over Brexit but remains in the Cabinet
- Once appeared in a swimsuit in a reality TV show
- Leadership odds 20/1
The new Defence Secretary – the first woman ever to hold the post – is highly regarded in Brexiteer circles.
The Royal Navy reservist, 46, carved out a niche at International Development with some eye-catching suggests about changing how the UK spends disperses aid cash.
She has become an increasingly serious politician after initially being seen as lighthearted when she appeared in a swimsuit in ITV reality TV show Splash!
She was promoted earlier this month to replace Gavin Williamson when he was sacked for leaking details from a confidential meeting about Huawei.
Over the preceding few months she was at the heart of persistent rumours that she would be the next Brexit-supporting minister out the door over Brexit.
She has yet to announce she is running but last month she backed a thinktank report saying the party needed to attract new voters.
She said the party needed to ‘act swiftly’ to win over the younger generations who were turning away from the centre-Right in ‘unprecedented’ numbers.
Yesterday, after other Cabinet Brexiteers including Andrea Leadsom were notable by their absence during Prime Minister’s Questions, she remained at her post. It remains to be seen whether this loyalty will count for or against her.
Sajid Javid: Remainer star who has run into trouble over knife crime and refugees
Sajid Javid has seen his stock take a hit over the knife crime crisis and migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats
- The most senior cabinet contender
- Voted Remain but wants to see Brexit delivered
- Faced criticism as Home Secretary
- But has taken a hard line on Shamima Begum case
- Leadership odds 20/1
The Home Secretary, a Remainer who wants to see Brexit delivered, was the leading candidate from inside the Cabinet to replace Mrs May.
After replacing Amber Rudd last year he consciously put clear ground between himself and the Prime Minister on issues like caps on skilled migrants after Brexit.
But his credentials have taken a hit recently. He finds himself facing ongoing criticism of his handling of the knife crime crisis affecting UK cities, which sparked a Cabinet row over funding for police.
He also lost face over his handling of the influx of migrants crossing the English Channel in January, being seen to move slowly in realising the scale of the problem.
But more recently the 49-year-old Bromsgove MP has made a serious of hardline decision designed to go down well with Tory voters.
Most notably they have included moving to deprive London teenager turned Jihadi bride Shamima Begum, 19, of her British citizenship, after she was discovered among former Islamic State members in a Syrian refugee camp.
Matt Hancock: Waffle-loving health secretary who wants Tories to choose a younger leader
Mr Hancock took stroopwafels in for Cabinet the day after he was pulled up for eating them on television
- The youngest front-runner at 40
- A Remainer who now backs Theresa May’s Brexit deal
- He wants the party to look to the future and attract younger voters
- Leadership odds 25/1
The Health Secretary is, like his predecessor Jeremy Hunt, seen as something of a unity candidate.
The 40-year-old father of three is seen as a safe pair of hands despite a few teething problems in his latest Cabinet role.
Last year he was accused of breaking ethics rules after he praised a private health firm app in a newspaper article sponsored by its maker.
But he has since make some hard-hitting interventions in ares like the impact of social media on health.
Last month he joined Ms Mordaunt in backing the Generation Why? report showing that the Tories needed to become more relevant to younger voters.
He called on the party to change its ‘tone’ towards modern Britain or face Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, in a speech widely seen as setting out his leadership credentials.
This week he showed his human side by unashamedly chomping calorific stroopwafels before a TV broadcast, saying he people should enjoy things in moderation.
Rory Stewart: Remainer rising star and friend of royals who is not short of confidence
The father of two is married to Shoshana, whom he first met when they worked together in Iraq and she was already married
- Penrith MP, 46, is a former tutor to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex
- Old Etonian ex-soldier worked for Foreign Office in Iraq and set up a charity for the Prince of Wale sin Afghanistan
- Voted for Remain and still backs a soft Brexit
- Leadership odds 25/1
The former prisons minister who once vowed to quit if they did not improve within a year declared his candidacy almost as soon as he was promoted to the Cabinet.
He stepped up to International Development Secretary earlier this month to replace Ms Mordaunt and days later declared he will run for the Tory leadership.
The Theresa May loyalist praised the PM for her ‘courageous effort’ to pass her Brexit deal but admitted he would throw his hat in the ring when she steps down.
Urging his party not to ‘try to outdo Nigel Farage’, the development secretary said the Tories should ‘stretch all the way from Ken Clarke to Jacob Rees-Mogg’.
The Old Etonian former tutor to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex previously worked for the Foreign Office in Iraq and set up a charity for the Prince of Wales in Afghanistan.
He has also written several books about walking.
The father of two is married to Shoshana, whom he first met when they worked together in Iraq and she was already married.
Seen as highly intelligent his staunch Remainer and soft Brexit credentials look likely to count against him in a race set to be dominated by the Brexiteer wing of the party.
Esther McVey: Former TV presenter and minister who quit Government over Brexit
The former television journalist, is engaged to fellow Tory backbench Brexiteer Philip Davies, 47
- The 51-year-old was Work and Pensions Secretary until quitting in November
- She was a presenter on GMTV before entering politics
- Is engaged to fellow Tory MP Philip Davies
- This week launched a ‘blue collar Conservatism’ project
- Leadership odds 50/1
The former Work and Pensions Secretary declared her leadership bid last month and has set out a stall as a right-wing blue-collar candidate from a working class Liverpudlian background.
The former television journalist, is engaged to fellow Tory backbench Brexiteer Philip Davies, 47, having previously had a romance with ex-minister Ed Vaizey. She has no children.
This week she set out her leadership pitch by calling for the party to use £7billion of foreign aid cash on buckling British police forces and schools.
Launching a ‘blue collar conservatism’ campaign the Brexiteer MP, 51, said her party had ‘lost the trust’ of working people by failing to leave the EU already and must pursue ‘radical conservative agendas’ to win it back’.
She said that keeping cash in the UK that is currently sent abroad would allow an increase of £4billion in spending on schools and £3billion for police, which are both demanding more money.
Speaking in Westminster she reiterated her call for the next party leader to be ‘someone who believes in Brexit’ – a dig at Mrs May, who supported the Remain campaign in 2016.