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The Latest: Theresa May heads to Buckingham Palace to resign

Posted at 3:32 AM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 09:40:13-04

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Boris Johnson officially becoming Britain’s new prime minister (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

Theresa May has left 10 Downing St. for the final time as prime minister and is heading for Buckingham Palace to resign.

In a formal handover of power, May will ask Queen Elizabeth II to invite her successor Boris Johnson to form a government. Johnson will then visit the palace, and leave as Britain’s new prime minister.

May is stepping down after failing to secure lawmakers’ support for a Brexit deal and lead Britain out of the European Union.

In a final speech outside 10 Downing St. with husband Philip by her side, May said it had been “the greatest honor” to serve as Britain’s prime minister.

And she said “I hope that every young girl who has seen a woman prime minister now knows for sure there are no limits to what they can achieve.”


2:30 p.m.

Senior members of Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, including her Treasury chief Philip Hammond, are resigning just hours before Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson succeeds her.

The departures clear the way for Johnson to appoint a raft of fresh faces to his government.

Justice Secretary David Gauke and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart have also resigned.

The three had previously announced they would rather leave rather than serve Johnson, who wants to leave the European Union even if no agreement is in place to ease the transition to a new relationship between Britain and the bloc. He insists that the country will leave the EU by Oct. 31 — “do or die.”

Many lawmakers worry the shock of severing decades of frictionless trade would devastate the country’s economy.

David Lidington, effectively May’s deputy prime minister, also resigned, saying it was “the right moment.” to go. He had not previously pre-announced his departure.


2 p.m.

A Russian Foreign Ministry official says no immediate changes in relations with Britain are expected upon Boris Johnson becoming Britain’s new prime minister.

Andrei Kelin, head of the ministry’s European cooperation department, said Wednesday that “I don’t think that something will change in the near future, because Boris Johnson belongs to the team that has spoiled these relations for quite a long time.”

Moscow-London relations have plummeted since the nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent and his daughter in the town of Salisbury last year. Britain blames the poisoning on Russian military intelligence.


1 p.m.

Prime Minister Theresa May says she’s glad her successor, Boris Johnson, is committed to “delivering on the vote of the people in 2016” to leave the European Union.

May offered muted praise of the incoming leader in her last Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons. She said she was pleased to be handing power to another Conservative leader.

After Wednesday’s question period, May will travel to Buckingham Palace and submit her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II. Johnson, who won a contest to replace her as Conservative leader, will become prime minister later in the day.

May said she would “continue my duties in this House from the back benches” as an ordinary lawmaker.

May shook her head at a suggestion from Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn that she join opposition attempts to stop the “reckless” Johnson, who has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or without a divorce deal.


11:50 a.m.

The European Parliament is warning new Boris Johnson, who in a few hours is set to become British prime minister, not to count on any renegotiation of the Brexit deal that his predecessor Theresa May negotiated with the EU.

The legislature’s Brexit steering group said in a statement that the statements made by Johnson during his campaign to lead the Conservative Party “have greatly increased the risk of a disorderly exit of the UK.”

It adds that a no-deal exit would be “economically very damaging, even if such damage would not be inflicted equally on both parties.”

The group, including the top Brexit legislators, held talks in a conference call the day after Johnson won the race to succeed May, who is due to quit as prime minister in the next couple of hours.

Johnson has said he would take the UK out of the EU on the Brexit departure date of Oct. 31 “come what may.”


11:30 a.m.

Incoming British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is assembling his top team, with a key job set to go to a controversial figure from the country’s Brexit referendum campaign.

Johnson’s allies say Dominic Cummings, director of the “Vote Leave” campaign in the 2016 referendum, will become a senior adviser to the prime minister.

Cummings has been both praised and criticized for his work as the campaign’s lead strategist. Lawmakers and electoral officials have investigated Vote Leave’s links to the firm Cambridge Analytica, which harvested Facebook users’ data to help political campaigns.

Cummings — who was played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV drama “Brexit: The Uncivil War” — was found to be in contempt of Parliament earlier this year for refusing to give evidence to a committee of lawmakers investigating “fake news.”


8:50 a.m.

Boris Johnson is set to form a “cabinet for modern Britain” as he prepares to become prime minister following his victory in an election to lead the governing Conservatives.

The incoming leader has just over three months to make good on his promise to lead the U.K. out of the European Union by Oct. 31.

Johnson easily defeated Conservative rival Jeremy Hunt, winning two-thirds of the votes of about 160,000 party members across the U.K. He becomes prime minister once Queen Elizabeth II formally asks him to form a government.

He will replace Theresa May, who announced her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc.


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