Her decision to resign comes after months of chaos in Parliament and speculation that she was about to be forced out.
By Patrick Smith and Rachel Elbaum
LONDON — Theresa May has announced she will step down as U.K. prime minister after failing to win support for her plan to withdraw from the European Union.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street on Friday, she said it was “in the interests of the country for a new prime minister” to lead the U.K.’s Brexit process and confirmed her final day as Conservative Party leader would be June 7 — but she will continue as prime minister until a successor is chosen.
“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 honors the result of the referendum,” she said. “To succeed he or she will have to find consensus in parliament where I have not.
“The referendum was not just a call to leave the EU but for profound change in our country.”
May defended her record over her nearly three years in Downing Street, on the economy, housing and the environment. But she referred to the Brexit crisis as “the biggest peace-time challenge any government has faced.”
A tearful May concluded by saying: “I will shortly leave the job that’s been the honor 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.”
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that her departure was inevitable and repeated his call for a general election.
Her decision to resign comes after months of chaos in Parliament and speculation that she was about to be forced out amid growing discontent within her ruling Conservative Party.
The news comes as votes are being counted in the European Parliament elections in the U.K., in which the Conservatives look set for a humiliating result as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party surges.