Theresa May breaks down in tears as she resigns as UK Prime Minister after Brexit failure
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Theresa May breaks down in tears as she resigns as UK Prime Minister after Brexit failure

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her resignation following a final failed bid to force through her Brexit deal.

In an emotional address outside 10 Downing Street, Mrs May confirmed she would quit as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday, June 7.

She said she had "done everything" to win the approval of Parliament – and indeed her own party – for her EU Withdrawal Agreement, but had accepted it was now in the "best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort".

The 62-year-old faced a mutiny in her own Cabinet after her fourth attempt to force through a deal by offering a second Brexit referendum sparked outrage throughout the Tory ranks.

Pressure intensified on the PM after Andrea Leadsom – one of Cabinet's strongest Brexit backers – resigned on Wednesday from her post as the Government's representative in Parliament.

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And the tipping point was arguably reached when Nigel Farage's Brexit Party polled as high as 40% prior to yesterday's European Parliament elections, with the Conservatives projected to come fifth behind the Green Party.

Mrs May said: "I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7th June so that a successor can be chosen.

"It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.

"I have striven to make the UK a country that works not just for a privileged few but for everyone and to honour the result of the EU referendum".

Mr May broke down as she concluded her speech, saying: "I will shortly leave the job that has been the honour of my life to hold.

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"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."

Mrs May had been handed an ultimatum by Sir Graham Brady – chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers – shortly before her address, three years after she took over from David Cameron as PM.

Her resignation triggers a leadership contest to replace her, with Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Michael Gove among the early favourites.