LONDON • Prime Minister Theresa May will resign on June 7, paving the way for a leadership contest to decide Britain's next leader. Below are members of the Conservative Party who are widely-expected to run.
BORIS JOHNSON, 54
The face of the official campaign to leave the European Union, Mr Johnson resigned as foreign minister last July in protest at Mrs May's handling of the exit negotiations. Mr Johnson set out his pitch to the membership in a speech at the party's annual conference in October, calling on the party to return to its traditional values of low tax and strong policing. At a conference in Switzerland yesterday, Mr Johnson said ''of course'' he will stand to be the next prime minister. He is the bookmakers' favourite to succeed Mrs May.
ESTHER MCVEY, 51
The pro-Brexit former television presenter, who resigned as work and pensions minister in November in protest over Mrs May's exit deal with the EU, has said she plans to run. Ms McVey told Talkradio: ''I have always said quite clearly that if I got enough support from my colleagues, yes I would (run). Now people have come forward and I have got that support, so I will be going forward.''
RORY STEWART, 46
A former diplomat, Mr Stewart was promoted to international development secretary this month. Educated at the exclusive Eton College, Mr Stewart was first elected to Parliament in 2010 and backed remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum. He opposes a ''no deal'' exit and has been a vocal advocate of Mrs May's deal with Brussels. ''I do want to bring this country together... I accept Brexit, I am a Brexiter, but I want to reach out to Remain voters as well,'' he told the BBC.
MICHAEL GOVE, 51
Mr Gove, one of the highest-profile Brexit campaigners during the 2016 referendum, has had to rebuild his Cabinet career after falling early to Mrs May in the contest to replace Mr David Cameron, who resigned the day after losing the referendum. Seen as one of the most effective members of the Cabinet in bringing forward new policies, the highenergy environment minister has become a surprise ally to Mrs May and has backed her Brexit strategy. Mr Gove teamed up with Mr Johnson during the 2016 Brexit campaign, only to pull his support for Mr Johnson's subsequent leadership bid at the last moment and run himself.
JEREMY HUNT, 52
Mr Hunt replaced Mr Johnson as foreign minister in July and has urged the conservative membership to set aside their differences over Brexit and unite against a common foe - the EU. Mr Hunt voted to remain in the EU in the referendum. He served six years as health minister, a role that has made him unpopular with many voters who work in or rely on the state-run National Health Service.
ANDREA LEADSOM, 56
A pro-Brexit campaigner, Mrs Leadsom made it to the last two in the 2016 contest to replace Mr Cameron. She withdrew after a backlash to an interview in which she said being a mother gave her more of a stake in the future of the country than her rival Mrs May. Mrs Leadsom quit as Leader of the House of Commons on Wednesday, saying she did not believe the government's approach would deliver on the Brexit referendum result.
DOMINIC RAAB, 45
Mr Raab quit as Mrs May's Brexit minister last year in protest at her draft of the exit agreement, saying it did not match the promises the Conservative Party made in the 2017 election. Mr Raab served only five months as head of the Brexit department. He had held junior ministerial roles since being elected in 2010. Mr Raab, a black belt in karate, campaigned for Brexit.
GRAHAM BRADY, 51
Mr Brady was until yesterday chairman of the influential 1922 Committee, a conservative group that can make or break party leaders. According to the BBC, Mr Brady resigned the chair in preparation for a potential leadership bid. He had previously told BBC Radio that ''it would take an awful lot of people to persuade me''.
Three tumultuous years at 10 Downing Street
Mrs Theresa May announced yesterday she would step down after nearly three years as British Prime Minister, defeated by her inability to deliver Brexit. Here are the highlights of her tumultuous time in office:
July 13, 2016
In her first speech as Prime Minister, Mrs May appears in Downing Street, pledging to fight the ''burning injustices'' that hold people back. She promises ''a country that works for everyone'', but will in fact find herself spending much of her time struggling with Brexit.
Jan 18, 2017
A triumphant Mrs May is portrayed on the front page of the Daily Mail next to the headline ''Steel of the New Iron Lady''. She has just given a defiant speech, telling Brussels: ''No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.''
May 22, 2017
Mrs May is forced to backtrack on an election pledge to force the elderly to pay more for care after her opinion poll lead fell by half. ''Nothing has changed,'' she says to general incredulity.
June 8, 2017
Despite an opinion poll lead, Mrs May loses her parliamentary majority in a general election. Despite repeated promises of a ''strong and stable'' government, her authority is in tatters.
Oct 3, 2017
Mrs May's big speech to the Conservative Party conference is interrupted by repeated coughing fits, a prankster, and even letters of her slogan falling off the stage scenery. As a bid to reassert herself, the speech had limited success.
Oct 3, 2018
Mrs May startles the audience at the Conservative Party conference when she appears on stage for a speech jigging to Abba's Dancing Queen. It was apparently a self-deprecating reference to her dancing during a recent visit to Africa, but she was nonetheless widely mocked.
Dec 14, 2018
A furious Mrs May is embroiled in a public row with Mr Jean-Claude Juncker at a Brussels summit after the EU chief publicly called Britain's Brexit demands ''nebulous'' and ''vague''.
Jan 19, 2019
Lawmakers vote down Mrs May's Brexit divorce deal by the crushing margin of 432 to 202, the worst such defeat in modern British history. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn calls a vote of no-confidence, which Mrs May survives.
May 21, 2019
In a last roll of the dice, Mrs May promises a ''new deal'' on Brexit. It is immediately rejected by large numbers of Conservative lawmakers and the opposition Labour Party.
May 24, 2019
Mrs May announces she will quit on June 7 REUTERS