tv BBC News at Ten BBC News May 24, 2019 10:00pm-10:31pm BST
tonight at ten, we're in downing street, where theresa may has decided to call it a day after failing to deliver brexit. earlier today, she emerged to announce the date of her resignation, expressing regret that she hadn't achieved her main goal. i do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country i love. as she left to spend the weekend in her constituency, some colleagues expressed sympathy with her plight. 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. we'll be asking some young conservatives
about the next steps on brexit, and on the choice of new leader. we need someone that can come in and sell conservative ideology and that is charismatic and outgoing. i think there needs to be compromise. it has to be done in an effective way that is going to please the most amount of people as possible. we'll have reaction to today's events and we'll be asking who's likely to step into number ten as britain's new prime minister by the end ofjuly. and coming up on sportsday on bbc news, a broken finger means england captain eoin morgan faces a race against time to be fit for next week's world cup. good evening from downing street, where theresa may announced earlier today that she will resign
as conservative leader in a fortnight‘s time after nearly three turbulent years in office. there should be a new prime minister in place by the end ofjuly. mrs may said she'd done her best to deliver brexit, and it was a matter of "deep regret" that she'd failed to do so. mrs may will step down as party leader on 7th june, but will stay on as prime minister until a successor is chosen. the race for the conservative leadership will begin formally on 10thjune, with tory mps selecting two candidates, with the winner being chosen by party members. the final result is expected by the end ofjuly, with the successful candidate becoming britain's new prime minister. mrs may warned her successor that he or she would need to seek compromise to delver brexit. our political editor laura kuenssberg reports on theresa may's departure. it was time. time to go to work, although the job has slipped away. morning, lovely weather.
for confidants 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 walk out. then silence drops. as with every leader, it's lonely at the end. the cameras click 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 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 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 7thjune. painful for her inner circle after all the agony of trying to get parliament on side, for someone else to try now. 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.
but her efforts to deal first with her party, then labour, came crashing down, with a country watching on, this inscrutable leader human after all. this country is a union, notjust 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. for so long, theresa may fought and fought to hold on to her party, to hold on to her premiership, but that struggle is now exhausted, her time in office nearly done. there's no immediate exit. she'll stay until a new leader is chosen by the tory party at the end ofjuly. but who? coy for now... i found it moving. i think the prime minister has put her heart and soul into trying to do the best for this country at a difficult time, facing a challenging climate in parliament. and i know that the prime minister has always striven to do what she believes is best for this country. the first cabinet minister in a race of rivals confirmed in a meeting in his constituency that he'd run just a few hours later.
her passion was to deliver the referendum result, 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. and no prizes for guessing who will also be one of a cast of maybe more than a dozen, speaking at a conference in switzerland today. i do not wish to 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. laughter. but they all know tory prime ministers often depart downing street because of europe. it is a very big moment, a very sad moment, but she cared passionately about the job and the country and she wanted to serve the publicjust as i did. when you come to that moment, you know your time is up,
it's extremely hard to take. any of them would have to wrangle the same divided party, eurosceptics ready to do almost anything to get their way. politicians have to make sure their words and their deeds match, that's very important. so whose fault is this, then? herfault? well, wasn't it harry truman who had in his office the motto "the buck stops here"? the buck always stops in downing street, it must do. someone has to answer these climate change protesters' questions. where is the government? a question for all of us. who will lead? there has to be another opportunity for the people of this country to decide who they want to be in their government, how they want the government to run, what the long—term strategy is of that government. i think we need a general election. our politics problems won't disappear with a new tory leader. i'm not sure her departure changes the fundamentals of brexit. brexit is an utter mess and it looks to me like the only way to resolve that mess is to put the issue back to the people.
you cannot see power, you cannot touch power, but in this street, you feel it profoundly when it has fallen away. and laura's with me. having heard the prime minister here earlier, what did that statement really tell us about the kind of premiership that she has experienced? it is evidence of what her allies has had for a long time singer that she cares deeply about what she is trying to do. there is no question that she is somehow not trying. it is true that she has put enormous personal effort and sacrifice into doing this job. enormous personal effort and sacrifice into doing thisjob. it is also true that she inherited from david cameron a country looking around, wondering how to move on from the referendum, a tory party that was even at that point interactively divided. but are there things along the way that theresa may did that seem like mistakes? yes, there are. are there ways in
which she might have been able to make the situation better in parliament rather than worse? yes, there are too. people have talked for a long time about the determination she displayed, but there is a point at which determination turns to stubbornness, and stubbornness turns to an unwillingness to listen to anyone else. she leaves tonight clearly having put a huge amount of effort into thisjob, clearly having put a huge amount of effort into this job, clearly overwhelmed, at least today, by the challenges that were in front of her. but she leaves the country with the biggest political change we ever have singer that a change of prime minister within a couple of months. we will talk about that in a short while, but thanks for now. laura kuenssberg, political editor. there's been no shortage of speculation over recent months about the next likely tenant of number ten, but mrs may's announcement today encouraged a much more open discussion about the party, and the qualities and credentials of those with leadership ambitions. our correspondent ben wright has been looking
at the likely 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 theresa may will stand down as tory leader. 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's 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.
so the person who'll move into number ten in a couple of months‘ time will be chosen by members of the conservative party, around 120,000 of them, whose instincts on brexit will no doubt be a key factor in the outcome. for a view on mrs may's departure, and what lies ahead, our correspondent alex forsyth went to meet members of the conservative association at reading university. 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 disaligned 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 prospects at this point? 0ptimistic. i'm more pessimistic. i think, for any leader, they're not going to be able to get anything past 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. the views of some young conservative members in reading. but what about the view in other parts of the uk, where the perspective on brexit can also be very different?
in a moment we'll speak to emma vardy in belfast, and sian lloyd in cardiff, but first let's hear from our scotland editor sarah smith in glasgow. politicians here are trying to work out what a new prime minister could mean for scotland. nicola sturgeon has wasted no time in saying a new tory leader could strengthen the case for scottish independence. she says if a hardline brexiteer takes over, if there is a prospect of the uk leaving the eu with no deal, it makes it all the more important scotla nd makes it all the more important scotland should be given a chance to decide whether it wants to be an independent country. that is why scottish tories will be looking for a leader and refused to allow another referendum on scottish independence. the leader of the scottish conservatives, ruth davidson, said she will back a candidate who says they are deeply committed to scotland remaining in
the uk and she is looking for somebody who would be a unifier, who could bring the whole country together again. in northern ireland it was those issues thrown up by the irish border during the brexit negotiations that became the biggest problem that theresa may never fully managed to overcome and she also never managed to persuade her deposit allies, the democratic unionist party, to support her deal. that confidence and supply arrangement with the dup which sinn fein have been very critical of, that arrangement will expire and will need to be renegotiated shortly after theresa may's successor takes office. further south in the republic of ireland, the irish prime minister leo varadkar has said theresa may's resignation could be dangerous for ireland. it is a country that could be most exposed to the effects of a hard brexit. if
there were to be a eurosceptic candidate taking on the role, they could go potentially for a no—deal brexit. trepidation in ireland tonight and nervousness in northern ireland as well, a place in which the majority of people voted to remain, about who will step into theresa may's shoes. here in cardiff bay the labour first minister has said that the conservative leadership contest is the last thing that the country needs right now. welsh conservative politicians have praised theresa may's dedication, but they are calling for the party to come together to deliver on the brexit that people voted for. 0verall, wales voted to leave the european union and there is a feeling that both conservatives and labour here will feel the impact of a surge of support for the brexit party when the results of the
european elections are announced. the perspectives from wales, northern ireland and scotland. whoever steps in to number ten as prime minister, he or she will have the same basic challenge as theresa may, trying to deliver brexit, while parliament seems incapable of agreeing on a way forward. and to underline the scale of the challenge, the european union said today that mrs may's resignation did nothing to change its position on the brexit agreement which theresa may negotiated. so what lies ahead for the brexit process? 0ur deputy political editor john pienaar reports. 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's 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 simply 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 that 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. yesterday the european commission president told german tv... translation: what can someone else achieve that she didn't? and 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 that 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's 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. so european leaders are now facing the prospect of a new prime minister with a new approach to the brexit process after years of complex negotiations and delays. 0ur europe editor katya adler is in brussels. i mentioned the eu was saying this would not change anything, but do they think a new prime minister will not change anything at all? they think it changes and does not change things. first, what does not change is eu leaders remain fed up with the brexit process which has been going on and on and the change over prime minister threatens to lengthen that process eve n minister threatens to lengthen that process even more. where they do expect change is they think the new prime minister will want to come here to brussels to renegotiate the
brexit deal, particularly the backstop guarantee on the irish border. brussels was quick to say today that it will not be budging. they feel they have been going round that block for the last two years and they point out theresa may and her cabinet signed off on the brexit deal in november. but the concern is that the new, it may be more hardline, prime minister could use what somebody described to me today as dirty tactics, such as holding up eu business, may be vetoing the next eu business, may be vetoing the next eu budget. another worry is that next prime minister could trigger a costly no—deal brexit, something the eu never really believed theresa may was willing to do. however her successor deals with the eu, will affect how open eu leaders are to offering a new brexit extension to the uk. the current one runs out on the uk. the current one runs out on the 31st of october and the assumption is the next prime minister will want more time to try
to renegotiate the brexit deal and possibly hold a new general election. but tonight eu leaders' minds are focused elsewhere and thinking of the european parliamentary elections. the results will be announced on sunday night and they could have a big impact on really important eu players like germany, france and italy back at home. thank you again for those thoughts, our europe editor. thank you again for those thoughts, our europe editor. more on the political future of the uk in a moment, but let's take a brief look at some of today's other news. two teenage boys have died after what police described as a serious incident in a house in sheffield. four other children, aged between seven months and ii, are being treated in hospital. a man and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of murder. 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. an anti—terrorist investigation has been launched in the french city of lyon after a device exploded in a busy shopping street injuring eight people. eyewitnesses say the bomb contained nails. police are searching for a suspect in his 30s. president trump says the us is sending 1,500 more troops to the middle east in what he called "a protective measure". they'lljoin an american aircraft carrier group already patrolling the arabian sea. it comes at a time of growing tension between america and iran. the number of homeless individuals and families in england living in bed and breakfast accommodation increased by over 20% last year. official figures published today showed that almost 7,000 households were being accommodated in this, a third of which were families with children. it's nearly three years since theresa may walked into downing street for the first time as prime minister,
with conservative mps praising her competence as a minister and her leadership skills after six years in charge of the home office. but an ill—judged move to call a general election in 2017 and persistent claims that she was unable to listen to the views of others led to the unravelling of her leadership. and in the process, mrs may became yet another conservative leader whose career in office was ultimately destroyed by the party's divisions on europe. 0ur chief political correspondent vicki young looks back at her career. her report contains some flash photography. 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 herfirst 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. her 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. let's get a final thought with laura.
within two months there will be someone else in there. what is the path to that? this prime minister has made history for all of the wrong reasons, but still there is a long queue of people who want to replace her, whether that is boris johnson, michael gove, orthe health secretary matt hancock, there are plenty of them there. they will spend the next few weeks trying to whittle themselves down to the two who will go out to tory members in the country, and there will be a period of several weeks eventually resulting in a winner. even once there is a victor in that particular race, you can change the bass but the dilemmas of what they have to deal with will not change. a divided parliament, a divided party and lots of contradictions in how to deal with brexit. the new leader will change the political chemistry, but that could still mean many explosions ahead. for all of us