: Prime Minister-in-waiting, Theresa May waves as she arrives for a Cabinet meeting at Downing Street on July 12, 2016 in London, England.
Carl Court | Getty Images
British Prime Minister Theresa May announced she will step down as U.K. leader on June 7.
On three occasions, U.K. lawmakers have refused to vote in favor of May’s much-maligned Brexit deal, leading to open challenges to her premiership from within her own party.
With no Brexit withdrawal arrangement agreed, the prospect of the U.K. suffering a disorderly exit from the European Union now appears to be a more likely outcome. Britain and Northern Ireland’s official departure date from the European Union is October 31, 2019.
The process of selecting May’s replacement will now begin with Conservative lawmaker and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson heavily tipped as her probable successor.
May’s premiership has lasted around three years after she won the race to succeed David Cameron, becoming the U.K.’s second female leader after Margaret Thatcher.
She began the official process of withdrawing the U.K. from the European Union by triggering Article 50 in March 2017.
The following month, May announced a snap general election with the aim of strengthening her hand in Brexit negotiations. That move backfired as the number of Conservative Party MPs (members of parliament) actually fell, forcing her government to operate on a confidence and supply deal, securing votes from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland.
Her template to exit the European Union ultimately failed to satisfy lawmakers from across the political spectrum and put in place a sequence of events that has seen her step down.
The daughter of a vicar, May attended Oxford University where she read Geography.
The 62-year-old was first elected as an MP in the 1997 General Election and rose to become home secretary before taking the top job of prime minister. Previously, May had worked at the Bank of England.
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