tv BBC News at Six BBC News May 24, 2019 6:00pm-6:31pm BST
i am today announcing that i will resign as leader of the conservative and unionist party on friday the 7th ofjune so that a successor can be chosen. after intense pressure, theresa may lays out a timetable for her departure as prime minister, saying it's with "deep regret" she didn't deliver brexit but now was the time to go. i do so with no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country i love. there were immediate tributes from rivals, with a new conservative leader and prime minister due in number 10 by the end ofjuly. the prime minister's put her heart and soul into trying to do the best for this country at a difficult
time, facing a challenging climate in parliament. a little later, mrs may left downing street, but her departure from number 10 for good changes nothing, says labour, saying it's the country that should decide who's prime minister. we need a general election. we don't need another tory leader installed by tory mps. we'll be looking at who's in the running to be the next prime minister, and how the process will work. and we'll be getting reaction from across the country and europe to today's events. and coming up on bbc news... celtic could win an unprecedented treble treble if they are victorious at hampden this weekend. they face hearts in the scottish cup final.
good evening from downing street, where — after much speculation and pressure from within her own party and the cabinet — theresa may laid out a timetable for her departure as prime minister. in an emotional speech here outside number 10, she said she'd done her best to deliver brexit, and it was a matter of "deep regret" that she hadn't been able to deliver. mrs may will step down on the 7th ofjune, resigning as conservative leader, but staying on as caretaker prime minister until her party chooses her successor. that contest to replace her will begin three days later, on 10thjune, with tory mps selecting two candidates and the winner being voted in by party members. that result is expected by the end ofjuly, with the successful candidate becoming britain's new leader. mrs may said it had been the honour of her life to serve as prime minister,
and warned her successor that he or she would need to compromise to see brexit through. our political editor, laura kuenssberg, reports now on the demise of the premiership of theresa may. it was time. time to go to work, although thejob it was time. time to go to work, although the job had slipped away. lovely weather. the confidence to choreograph the exit, rather than plan the future. time to confront the truth, a broken government, a broken leader. time to forget distractions. the men in suits walked out. then silence drops. as with every leader, it's lonely at the end. the cameras clicked just for them. 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 united kingdom a country that works notjust for a privileged few but for everyone. and to honour the result of the eu referendum. i negotiated the terms of our exit and a new relationship with our closest neighbours, which protects jobs, a new relationship with our closest neighbours, which protectsjobs, 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 the 7th ofjune.
conservative and unionist party on friday the 7th ofjune. painful for herinner friday the 7th ofjune. painful for her inner circle, after the agony of trying to get parliament on site. someone else to try now. it will be 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. but her effo rts willing to compromise. but her efforts to deal first with her own party and then labour came crashing down. with the country watching on, this inscrutable leader, human after all. this country is a union, not just a family of four nations but a union of people, all of us, whatever oui’ 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
thatis 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. it is the honour of my life to hold it. 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. for so long, theresa may fought and fought to hold onto her party at her premiership, but that struggle is now exhausted. her time in office is nearly done. there is no immediate exit. she will stay until a new leader is chosen by the tory party at the end ofjuly, but who? koi for
now. i found it moving. the prime minister put her heart and soul into trying to do the best for this country at a difficult time with a challenging parliament climate, and i know the prime minister has always struggled to do what she believes is best for the country. the first cabinet minister in a race of rivals confirmed in a meeting in his constituency he had run a few hours earlier. her passion was to deliver the brexit referendum result. that will now be someone else's responsibility, and whoever succeeds in doing that will know that she laid the foundations. no prizes for guessing who will also be one of the cast of may be more than a dozen, speaking at a conference in switzerland today. i feel that we should elaborate now on what we are going to do and how we are going to do it, but believe me, you will be hearing possibly more about that than you necessarily want to hear.
—— i don't feel that we should elaborate now. but they all know tory prime ministers often depart downing street because of europe. it's a big moment and a sad moment, because she cared passionately about thejob and because she cared passionately about the job and the country and she wa nted the job and the country and she wanted to serve the country, like i did, and when you come to that moment when you know your time is up, it's extremely hard to take. any of them would have to wrangle the same divided party, and there are sceptics willing to do almost anything to get their way politicians have to make sure their words and deeds match. who's fault is this? the buck always stops in downing street, is to harry said. it must do. someone has to answer these protesters questions. where is the government? who will lead? there has to be another opportunity for the people of this country to decide who
they want to be in the government, how they want the government to be run, what the long—term strategy of that government is. i think we need a general election. but politics's problems will not disappearjust with a new tory leader. problems will not disappearjust with a new tory leaderlj problems will not disappearjust with a new tory leader. i am not sure that her departure changes the fundamentals of brexit, which is an utter mess, and it looks to me that the only way to resolve it is to put the only way to resolve it is to put theissue the only way to resolve it is to put the issue back to the people. you cannot see power, you cannot touch power, but in the street you feel it profoundly, when it has fallen away. —— in this street. was there an inevitability about this, given her successive failures to get the deal through?|j this, given her successive failures to get the deal through? i think there was, it's been coming a long time, and when these moments of big drama finally occur in downing street, they always feel brutal, and nobody would question that theresa may hasn't given this her utmost and tried and tried, but politics isn't about how hard you try but what you
are able to do, and although theresa may did try to point to some of her achievements today, a change in the law on domestic violence, trying to change policy on housing, in the end she fell short by her own measures and sheet left behind a pretty landscape when it comes to brexit, and she hasn't been able to turn her attention to some of the other problems she wanted to try and tackle in the country was of course, now we are left where a small group, around 100,000 people around the country, will pick the next prime minister, because it's not all of us who have a say, but the tory party itself. thank you, laura kuenssberg, and you will bejoining us itself. thank you, laura kuenssberg, and you will be joining us later. theresa may rose to lead the conservative party, with the decisive backing of her mps, after six years running the home office, and a reputation for tough talking. a remainer who became a cheerleader for brexit, she won the praise of leavers but suffered disaster at the ballot box, after calling a general election and losing her majority. but ultimately it was brexit that led to her demise —
another conservative leader toppled by the debate over europe. 0ur chief political correspondent, vicki young, looks back at theresa may's career in politics. theresa may rose to the top job at one of the most turbulent periods in british political history. after the uk's vote to leave the european union, david cameron dramatically resigned and she became the country's second female prime minister. as we leave the european union, we will forge a bold new, positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for all of us. during her first months as prime minister, she was under constant pressure to lay out her approach to brexit negotiations, but refused to give much away. brexit means brexit, and we are going to make a success of it. becoming prime minister had been a long—held ambition. the daughter of a vicar, theresa brasier, as she then was, was mainly state educated in 0xfordshire before studying
geography at oxford university. in her third year, she met her future husband, philip. after graduating, mrs may went to work in the city but she saw her future in politics. she became a councillor in south london and, after standing for parliament twice, she was elected the mp for maidenhead in 1997. as party chairman, she made the case for conservative modernisation, telling her party some hard truths during their years in opposition. 0ur base is too narrow and so occasionally are our sympathies. you know what some people call us? the nasty party. under david cameron, she became the longest serving home secretary of modern times but, as prime minister, she faced an even tougher challenge, trying to steer the uk and her party through brexit. this most cautious of politicians became one of westminster‘s biggest risk takers. i have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support
for the decisions i must take. the gamble backfired. she lost the conservatives their majority, only hanging on to power through a deal with the dup. her political misjudgments left her weakened, and reasserting her authority didn't always go according to plan. a message during this important conference speech was lost amid a catalogue of interruptions, a prankster, a faulty set and persistent cough. she coughs. excuse me. after months of negotiations with brussels, mrs may agreed a withdrawal deal, but the compromise to avoid border checks on the island of ireland wasn't one that many in her party or her partners in government, the dup, could accept. the ayes to the right, 202. the noes to the left, 432. that was the first of three defeats in the commons, and mrs may was forced to ask the european union
for a delay to brexit. nigel farage's new brexit party surged in popularity and her colleagues finally moved against her. theresa may never wanted brexit to define her time in office, but it was the backdrop to everything her government did. she was praised for her tenacity and sense of duty, but critics said she lacked vision and regarded brexit as a damage limitation exercise. vicki young, bbc news, westminster. ultimately, the uk's next prime minister will be chosen by members of the conservative party, around 120,000 people, and that choice will determine the shape of brexit and the future of the country. so what's the membership's take on mrs may's departure? alex forsyth has been at reading university conservative association, to gauge the mood of younger voters there. hitting younger voters has proved elusive at times for the tories. these students are supporters and members of reading university's
conservative association. theresa may is their patron. many have campaigned alongside her. so what of her decision to step down? i think it's a really sad day. i think she's tried her best for the country, and it's always sad to see someone forced out of office. anyone pleased to see her go? yes. laughter for me, she should have gone after the election. she hasn't really listened or heeded advice from anyone else. i think we need a new leader, a new direction. hopefully someone who can get the brexit business finished once and for all so we can move on. these young tory members will vote in the upcoming leadership contest. even here, views are divided. for me, it has to be a brexiteer, because we've got to fight the brexit party. the brexit party could potentially do very well at the expense of the conservative party. is that the consensus? no, i'd rather see sort of a middle ground. and while brexit should definitely take place, it has to be done in an effective way that is going to please, you know, the most amount of people as possible. i think there needs
to be compromise. the next generation of voters says a new approach is needed to keep the party relevant. there has to be a real change of direction for the rest of the young people to come on board, otherwise we're just going to end up with the same result of, you know, the older people voting for the conservatives, and young people just being dis—aligned with the cause. we need someone that can come in and sell conservative ideology, and that is charismatic and outgoing. theresa may hasn't been that. so, for me, someone like boris would be able to do that. ijust think he's a bit of a clown. i think a lot of young people think that too. they aren't sure any leader can easily overcome the europe question. i don't think it's possible, really. i think it's going to, like, carry on until we leave. while brexit is really important, i think you then also need to look at the wider politics as a whole and actually have a plan for the future and notjust right now. are you feeling optimistic or pessimistic about the party's prospect at this point? prospects at this point? 0ptimistic.
i'm more pessimistic. i think for any leader, they're not going to be able to get anything passed parliament. the party will be fine. i mean, it's been through ups and downs through its whole history, and it's quite a long history, so i think it will be fine no matter what. that might depend on the next leader. alex forsyth, bbc news, reading. so how does this affect the political landscape in scotland, wales and northern ireland? in a moment, we'll speak to emma vardy in belfast and sian lloyd in cardiff. but first let's talk to our scotland editor, sarah smith. politicians here are of course trying to work out what a new prime minister will mean for scotland. nicola sturgeon has wasted no time in arguing that a new tory leader could strengthen the case for scottish independence. she says the prospect of a hardline brexiteer taking over, the prospect of the uk leaving the eu with no deal means it is all the more important that scotla nd is all the more important that scotland should get a choice about whether or not it wants to be an independent country. and that is exactly why scottish tories will wa nt
exactly why scottish tories will want the next leader to do the same thing theresa may did, and that is to refuse to allow any further referendums on scottish independence. the leader of the scottish conservatives, ruth davidson, says she will back a leadership candidate who is someone who shows their deep commitment to scotla nd who shows their deep commitment to scotland remaining part of the uk, and someone who is a unifier who can try to bring the whole country together. here in northern ireland, it was those issues thrown up by the irish border that caused therese made the biggest problems in the brexit negotiations that she never fully managed to overcome. and she never managed to persuade her supposed allies, the dup, to support her deal. that confidence and supply arrangement with the dup, something sinn fein have been very critical of, that arrangement is due to expire and will need renegotiating shortly after her successor takes up the role. further south, shortly after her successor takes up the role. furthersouth, in shortly after her successor takes up
the role. further south, in the republic of ireland tonight, the irish prime minister has said that theresa may's resignation could potentially be very dangerous for ireland, the country potentially most exposed to the effects of a ha rd most exposed to the effects of a hard brexit. if a eurosceptic candidate could take on the —— took on the role, they could advocate a no—deal brexit. the majority of people here voted to remain in the eu, and there is concern about who could step into theresa may's shoes. here in cardiff bay, the labour first minister, mark drake ford, has said that a conservative leadership campaign is the last thing that the country needs at this time. many welsh conservative politicians have defended theresa may's dedication, but there are calls for the party to come together to deliver the brexit that the country voted for. wales overall voted to leave the european
union, and there is a feeling that both the conservatives and labour here could feel the impact of a surge of support for the brexit party when the results of the european elections are announced. sian lloyd, emma vardy and sarah smith, thank you to you all. theresa may's departure has fired the starting gun on the race to replace her as conservative leader and the country's prime minister. initialjostling behind the scenes is now out in the open. ben wright has been looking at the leadership contenders. the job of picking the next prime minister is in the hands of tory mps and conservative party members. a contest that has already been brewing for weeks will kick off officially on friday, june the 7th, the date to reason they will stand down as tory leader. —— the date theresa may will stand down. nominations begin the following week. under the pa rty‘s rules, conservative mps will whittle down the field of candidates through a series of votes until a
final two remain. and those two candidates will then battle it out to win a vote of the tory grassroots — around 120,000 conservative party members, who are largely male, middle—class and have an average age of 57. so, who might stand? well, it's likely to be a very crowded field. around 17 tory mps are considering a crack at number ten, and five have said that they'll definitely run, including borisjohnson. the 54—year—old former foreign secretary is the likely frontrunner. the figurehead of the leave campaign is popular among the membership but less admired by a chunk of tory mps who may try and thwart his path to number ten. another leave believer, dominic raab, is also likely to run, and the former brexit secretary is popular on the right of the party. there is the environment secretary, michael gove, who backed leave but has stayed loyal to mrs may. the foreign secretary, jeremy hunt, is going for it. he campaigned for remain in the referendum but has since stressed his commitment to brexit, as has the home secretary, sajid javid.
the leave supporter and former work and pensions secretary esther mcvey says she is definitely running. and andrea leadsom, who stood against theresa may last time before pulling out, may also try again. there will be more, many more, who go for it. a new prime minister will be in place by the time parliament breaks up for the summer recess in latejuly. but whoever goes through this door in a few weeks' time will face the same challenges that mrs may will soon leave behind — a deadlocked parliament, a brexit deal the eu says is closed, and a deeply divided country. the next prime minister will face the same intractible problem as theresa may — how to resolve the divisions of brexit, and at the moment, and with no apparent majority in parliament for any course of action. today the european union said mrs may's resignation "did nothing to change its position on the withdrawal deal agreed with britain". so, what next for brexit?
0ur deputy political eeditor john pienaar has more. everyone expected this, the fourth tory premier in a row forced out over europe. the only real shock was seeing her heartbreak on show. now the same deadlock that brought theresa may down is waiting for the next one. the numbers have not changed in parliament. the challenge, the significant challenge, of seeing that we leave the eu and deliver on the brexit referendum with a deal which remains firmly in our national interest, that challenge still firmly remains. what do we want? brexit! the brexiteers are strong and getting stronger among conservative mps and their democratic unionist allies. and with nigel farage scooping up tory supporters, pressure for a tough line on brexit won't let up. until we deliver brexit, nothing else really counts. if we don't deliver brexit, there won't be a conservative party, so there's no point in talking
about other things until we deliver brexit. for months, this issue has split the country. at westminster, rival factions are dug in deep. if all we do is talk about brexit and we pivot towards no deal, we will not move in the polls and eventually we will hand the keys of number ten tojeremy corbyn. the riders and runners for leader are off. expect lots of promises to make up for lost time and get a better deal in brussels mps can get behind. but so far, summit after summit, nothing but failure. staying close to eu rules and standards rejected by mps, including those meant to avoid a hard eu border with ireland. today the european commission president told german tv... what can someone else achieve that she didn't? the irish leader, voting today, is saying britain could see a general election, a new referendum, maybe a no deal brexit. british politics is consumed by brexit and will be consumed
by brexit for a very long time. it means we now enter a new phase when it comes to brexit, and a phase that may be a very dangerous one for ireland. if leadership campaign promises to get a better deal in brussels fall flat, and leaving without a deal is all that's left, there is no clear way for mps to stop that happening. and with most mps opposed to leaving with no deal, another constitutional crisis may well be on the cards. so, if clarity about brexit is what britain needs most, the painful end of yet another premiership mayjust have achieved nothing at all. john pienaar, bbc news, westminster. after years of tough talks, draft agreements, renegotiations, parliamentary defeats, and delays to brexit, europe's leaders are now facing the prospect of a new british prime minister. is that change of leader going to
prompt a change of heart in brussels? 0ur europe editor, katya adler, is in brussels for us. will this change anything? it does and doesn't change things. it does and doesn't change things. it doesn't change that eu leaders remain as fed up as ever with this brexit process that seems to go on and on, and a changeover in prime minister just threatens to and on, and a changeover in prime ministerjust threatens to lengthen this process further. a change that brussels believes is coming is that a new prime minister will probably wa nt to a new prime minister will probably want to come here to try to renegotiate the brexit deal, particularly that controversial backstop guarantee for the irish border. eu leaders have said today absolutely not, they will not budge. they feel they have been round that block for the last two years, and theresa may signed off on the brexit deal back in november. the concern in brussels is that if the new prime minister doesn't get his or her way, they could be tempted to use what one eu diplomat described to me today as ducted tactics, trying to obstruct eu business like trying to
pass the new budget or threatening to trigger a no—deal brexit in a way that they never believed he reza may was willing to do. —— teresa. that current brexit extension lasts until the 31st of october, and the assumption is the new prime minister will want more time to try to renegotiate the brexit deal or to hold a general election, but frankly, clive, right now, their focus is on the elections to the european parliament, because the result of those could really affect important national governments in the eu, like in germany, france and italy. katya, thanks for that. katya adler, live in brussels. let's bring you some of the day's other news now.... two boys — aged 13 and 1a — have died after what police have
described as a "serious incident" in sheffield. six children were taken to hospital early this morning after officers were called to a property in the shiregreen area . danny savage is there. police were called here at 7:30am today, paramedics soon followed, and six children were taken to hospital. at lunchtime, police revealed that the two eldest, aged 13 and 1a, had died. the otherfour the two eldest, aged 13 and 1a, had died. the other four children the two eldest, aged 13 and 1a, had died. the otherfour children had much less serious injuries, and they are not expected to be in hospital for much longer. what happened we do not know. there was speculation this morning about a shooting. police said there was no weapon involved. they were asked about a possible poisoning but said they would not be drawn on details. a man and woman in their 30s have been arrested and are being questioned on suspicion of murder. clive. danny, thank you for that. ten members of staff at a specialist hospital in county durham have been arrested, following a bbc panorama investigation into the alleged mistreatment of vulnerable
people. police say they're investigating claims that patients with learning disabilities and autism were physically and psychologically abused at whorlton hall, a privately run unit, funded by the nhs. now, a look at the weather. over to chris faulkes. we have had quite dramatic skies overhead in north—west england in recent hours. most of us have seen sunshine, but it did turn cloudy through the afternoon. talking about cloud, in the mid—atlantic, we have some weather fronts developing at the moment. this lump of cloud goes on to be an area of low pressure that will ultimately push these fronts into the uk this holiday weekend, with the cold front bringing cooler air across the country during the second half of that we can. there are showers around at the moment, but for many areas, a dry night with some clear
spells. for northern ireland, cloud will thicken later in the night, and the temperatures will be 6—12dc. saturday morning starts with damp weather in northern ireland, then rain spreads into scotland, where it will turn heavy. further south, rain spreads into scotland, where it will turn heavy. furthersouth, dry weather for england and wales, bright and sunny spells, feeling warm. not the warmest of weather in scotla nd warm. not the warmest of weather in scotland with the cloud and rain, but temperatures of 13 celsius. 0n sunday, a cold front coming through. the weather turns brighter across the north and west later in the day, and the rain turns more shabbily as it transfers east across england late in the day. it is late to arrive in the east of england, so still quite warm, with temperatures up still quite warm, with temperatures up to 20 celsius. the cooler weather will work in by bank holiday monday. we will see sunshine in the next few days, but rain, particularly across north—western areas, and turning cooler as we head into bank holiday monday. that is the latest weather.