Theresa May sets resignation date: Labour’s reaction

Theresa May has announced that she will resign as Tory leader on June 7th and step down as Prime Minister once the Conservative leadership contest has concluded.

Commenting on the news, Jeremy Corbyn said: “The Prime Minister is right to have resigned. She has now accepted what the country has known for months: she cannot govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.

“The burning injustices she promised to tackle three years ago are even starker today. The Conservative Party has utterly failed the country over Brexit and is unable to improve people’s lives or deal with their most pressing needs.

“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.

“Whoever becomes the new Conservative leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate general election.”

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson struck a more sympathetic tone in his response. He commented: “As Prime Minister Theresa May had an unenviably difficult job, and she did it badly. She tried to do what was right for her country. But she failed because by the time she realised the need for compromise it was too late.

“History will record she was honourable in her intentions. To those who have plotted her downfall to further their own ambitions, the ideological fanatics who won’t stop until they have cut off all our tired with Europe, history will not be kind.”

Tim Roache, general secretary of Labour-affiliated union GMB, said: “This government has given us more farcical scenes than The Thick Of It and more brutal be-headings than Game of Thrones.

“But no one is going to be sorry when this series ends. Working people are sick of the Tories focusing on who is going to take Theresa May’s job when thousands across the country are losing theirs.

“We cannot let Britain’s workers, industries and communities become the casualties of the next round of Tory internal wars. Let’s have a general election and let the people decide.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Theresa May’s announcement today underscores what a mess the Conservative Party is and that this party is actually now incapable of governing.

“The shambolic handling of Brexit, the yawning inequalities in this country, our fraying public services and our once-proud manufacturing industry sliding into decline are the legacy of this prime minister and her woeful Tory government. It is a grave insult to the people of this country that our fate now lies in the hands of scheming Tory MPs and a few thousand Tory members.

“This farce has to end. The challenges before our country are too great and the need to restore fairness to our society too urgent, they are ill-served by this pantomime. A general election now is the only honourable and sensible way forward.”

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Theresa May will go down in history as one of the worst prime ministers. She has done nothing to repair our broken public services, forgotten all about families struggling to get by, brutally mistreated the Windrush generation and woefully mismanaged the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

“However, working people should fear what comes next. Her replacement will be chosen by the hard right of the Tory Party, who want more austerity, increased privatisation and fewer rights for working people.

“That’s why there must now be a general election. The decision about who leads the country must be taken in every community, not by the Brexiteer boys’ club in the tea rooms and bars of Westminster.”

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Many of the underlying issues at Grenfell were due to unsafe conditions that had been allowed to fester under Tory governments and a council for which Theresa May bears ultimate responsibility.

“The inquiry she launched has kicked scrutiny of corporate and government interests into the long-grass, denying families and survivors justice, while allowing business as usual to continue for the wealthy. For the outgoing Prime Minister to suggest that her awful response to Grenfell is a proud part of her legacy is, frankly, disgraceful.”

Further updates to follow…

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