The prime minister has finally announced her resignation, and will stand down on June 7
The day we’ve been waiting for, since 2016, has arrived – Theresa May has resigned as prime minister of the UK. May revealed that she’s not a robot after all, ending her resignation speech in tears, exclaiming her gratitude to have the opportunity “to serve the country I love.”
Addressing austerity, the Grenfell fire, Northern Ireland’s lack of government, and more, May appeared deluded about her achievements as prime minister, though expressed her “deep regret” over not being able to deliver Brexit. She also quoted British humanitarian Sir Nicolas Winton, asserting, “Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word”, appearing to take direct aim at the unsolvable conflicts within her own party. Quoting Nicolas Winton, who saved hundreds of Jewish child refugees in World War Two, is pretty rich given her and her government’s dire treatment of migrants and refugees.
With a number of terrifying Tories in the running to take over, we delve into May’s speech, and outline WTF is going to happen next. Brace yourselves.
LIFE UNDER THERESA MAY IN THE UK HAS BEEN SHIT
Apparently Theresa May has been living under a Brexit-bound rock for the past three years – in her speech, she gave herself a pat on the back for supposedly tackling austerity, helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder, and ensuring victims of Grenfell aren’t forgotten with an official inquiry. Just to refresh May’s short memory: Grenfell fire survivors are still in temporary housing almost two years on from the fire, and May herself admitted her response to the tragedy wasn’t ‘good enough’. It’s wildly presumptive to include the pitiful government action on this tragedy in a list of good things she’s supposedly done. The prime minister also claimed to be proud of pumping funding into mental health services, despite the UK being in a mental health crisis – the NHS is at an all-time low when it comes to specialised staff. Quoting humanitarian Nicolas Winton has also left a bitter taste in people’s mouths, given her callous treatment of migrants and refugees – from introducing policy that prevents recognised refugees from getting British citizenship to the Windrush scandal, citizenship stripping, the racist ‘right to rent’ policy, outrageous deportation and immigration policies.
feeling sorry for crying theresa may is disgusting tbh - think of the tears shed by the women detained in yarl's wood, those forced to travel to access abortion from northern ireland, domestic violence survivors let down by the callous criminal justice system— Anna Cafolla (@AnnaCafolla) May 24, 2019
In the last three years, May believes herself to be a helding hand for survivors of domestic abuse, giving “a voice to the voiceless”, but rather – as feminist direction action group Sisters Uncut assert – her Conservative government has subjected women and non-binary people to ‘vicious attacks on our safety, liberty and welfare’. Despite being “honoured” to serve as the second female prime minister, May has shown expansive contempt for women in the UK, welcomed misogynist Donald Trump to the country, and sidestepped bringing any relevant abortion legislation to Northern Ireland to keep her deal with the dinosaurs of the DUP. Just last year, 120 women went on hunger strike at the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre, protesting inhumane conditions under May’s Home Office, while her government’s Universal Credit overhaul has forced countless women engage in survival sex for cash, food, or shelter.
WHO’S UP FOR PRIME MINISTER NEXT?
Boris Johnson is absolutely desperate to become PM, with even a fresh haircut sparking leadership rumours. Though regarded by the ignorant and misinformed as a jovial public figure, Johnson as prime minister is actually an incredibly scary prospect – he’s made openly racist comments and upholds bigoted views. He’s been making revolting amounts of cash, £275,000 a year, for a weekly Daily Telegraph column about the Brexit crisis. A hard Brexiteer, the former foreign secretary (for a pitiful two years) is popular among Tory voters, but opposed by many MPs. Also in the running is environment secretary Michael Gove, who has famously been loyal to May during her turbulent ruling – reportedly, to shed his reputation as a backstabber during the 2016 leadership election. His legacy as education secretary is one of his worst – squeezing spending in schools and bringing in reforms rejected vehemently by critics. Given the Leave campaigner’s support of May’s deal, he might not be a popular choice among MPs. To be fair, he’s had flittings with more liberal quirks in policy out of this very, very bad bunch.
Ex-Brexit secretary Dominic Raab is also up for PM – backed by fellow former Brexit secretary David Davis – and has been a strong advocate for No Deal over May’s deal. An anonymous former cabinet minister told the London Evening Standard that Raab is “the male Margaret Thatcher”. Remain-voting foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt is also said to be putting himself forward, having changed his mind over the referendum following the EU’s ‘arrogance’ during negotiations. Hunt, a previous poll found, is the most disliked frontline British politician by some margin, mostly due to his crippling restrictions on the NHS as health secretary. He’s had plenty of cringe-inducing gaffes too – he accidentally pulled the emergency stop cord in a train loo, he posed for a photo in front of a board of confidential patient records and tweeted it, and referred to his Chinese wife as Japanese. Hunt also recently compared the EU to the Soviet Union (USSR). Your potential leaders, ladies and gentlemen!
Do not let @BorisJohnson get away with the crimes committed during the Brexit referendum by Vote Leave. He tried to cover it up, called the story ludicrous and some of his senior advisors were also fully involved in the illegal donations. If Boris becomes PM, democracy has lost.— Shahmir Sanni (@shahmiruk) May 24, 2019
HOW DOES THE LEADERSHIP ELECTION WORK?
Once hopeful Tories put their names forward, Conservative MPs will whittle down all candidates to just two, who will then be voted on by party members. Given May is leaving on June 7, the process will likely start immediately, though the time frame is for the party’s 1922 Committee executive to decide (the committee consists of Tory backbenchers, and acts as a way for them to coordinate and discuss their views independently of frontbenchers). Many MPs want the process to be completed before the summer, meaning a leadership election would last only a month.
WTF WILL HAPPEN WITH BREXIT?
The government will hope for a quick contest that will enable a new prime minister to go to Europe and negotiate a better deal before our planned leaving date of October 31. The EU has been pretty unwilling to budge, so it’s difficult to see how any PM could negotiate a different deal to May’s, which was rejected three times by parliament (who bafflingly also voted against a second referendum, and No Deal in indicative votes back in March). Until we know who will take over as leader, it’s difficult to predict what will happen – but given many of the leadership hopefuls’ stance on a no deal Brexit, things could be about to get a lot worse.
Theresa May is right to resign. She's now accepted what the country's known for months: she can't govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 24, 2019
Whoever becomes the new Tory leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate General Election.
WILL WE GET A GENERAL ELECTION?
Unsurprisingly Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed May’s resignation, calling for an immediate general election. In a statement, the Labour leader – recently interviewed by GAIKA as part of our A Future World campaign – said: “Parliament is deadlocked and the Conservatives offer no solutions to the other major challenges facing our country. The last thing the country needs is weeks of more Conservative infighting followed by yet another unelected prime minister.”
Though a general election would undoubtedly be the best thing, it’s unlikely to happen, as the Tories will do everything they can to stay in power. However if there’s enough of a backlash against Boris Johnson, several Conservative ministers may resign and lose their parliamentary numbers, meaning our election dreams might come true. But TBH, definitely don’t hold your breath.