British Prime Minister David Cameron has made a statement saying Theresa May will take over as Prime Minister on Wednesday. May became the sole candidate for the post after rival Andrea Leadsom quit the race.
Speaking at Downing Street on Monday afternoon, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Theresa May had the "overwhelming support" of the Conservative Party and would be the next prime minister.
The statement came hours after Andrea Leadsom had announced she was dropping out of the contest with May for the leadership of the party.
Cameron said he was delighted that there would not be a "prolonged leadership campaign," and that May had his "full support." He said that Leadsom had made what he called the "right decision."
The schedule for his departure is to be his last cabinet meeting on Tuesday and then attend parliament for his final Prime Minister's Questions at midday Wednesday, before going to Buckingham Palace to formally offer his resignation to the Queen.
"So we will have a new prime minister in that building behind me by Wednesday evening," Cameron said.
This means that the 59-year-old May will take over from Cameron on Wednesday, going to Buckingham Palace to inform the Queen she is to form a new government.
May will then announce her new government ministers on Thursday and Friday. She will become Britain's second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher.
Top of May's agenda will be managing Britain's exit from the European Union.
Cameron had led a campaign for the UK to remain in the EU in a June 23 referendum. In the event, 17,410,742 (51.98 percent) voted Leave while 16,141,241 (48.11 percent) voted Remain. Turnout was 72.2 per cent.
May had been part of the Remain campaign but on Monday sought to reassure those who voted Leave that she would respect their wishes. Without raising the issue of precise process, May has said of the referendum results that "Brexit means Brexit," also ruling out the chance of a repeat referendum.
A government minister said on Monday that the legal process required to trigger a departure from the EU, known as Article 50, did not legally require parliamentary approval.
More than a thousand prominent lawyers had written to Cameron saying that lawmakers in parliament should decide whether Britain leaves the EU, as the referendum on June 23 was not binding.
"Apart from observing that there are court cases that are already planned or under way on this issue, so the judges may reach a different view, I would simply remark that government lawyers believe it is a royal prerogative issue," Cabinet Office minister John Penrose said.
"But I hope that everyone else here will also agree democratic principles should outrank legal formalities. The prime minister has already said that parliament will have a role and it's clearly right that a decision as momentous as this one must be fully debated and discussed."
jm/msh (Reuters, AP)