Goldman bumps up no-deal Brexit odds after May resignation

Theresa May has announced she will be stepping down as Conservative Party leader on 7 June.

Prime Minister Theresa May's resignation looks likely to make Britain's looming departure from the European Union even more difficult, with some suggesting a hard or "no-deal" Brexit is now nearly inevitable.

Current foreign minister Jeremy Hunt also confirmed he would run for the leadership just hours after May, her voice cracking with emotion, said she would resign as Conservative Party leader on Friday, June 7, setting up a contest to succeed her.

But Mrs May could remain Prime Minister for up to six weeks while a new leader is chosen, with the process beginning on the week of June 10.

In 2016 the leadership contest came down to her and Mrs May, but despite her Brexiteer reputation she is still seen as an outsider to take over the leadership this time around.

German chancellor Angela Merkel noted May's decision "with respect", a German government spokesperson said Friday.

Several British media outlets reported that May would agree to give up the prime minister's post June 10, sparking a Conservative leadership contest.

Under the Fixed Terms Parliament Act 2011 there is not due to be another general election until June 2022, but with Parliament deadlocked on Brexit and Corbyn having been on record as having demanded a general election, it is not hard to imagine a Brexiteer-dominated Tory Party forcing through the required vote to bypass the act and call a snap election.

But it has been met with a swift backlash, with several lawmakers who have supported her in previous Brexit votes saying they could not back the new plan, particularly over her U-turn regarding a possible second referendum.

May will take on a caretaker role until a new leader has been elected.

"I thought she deserved one last roll of the dice".

The final straw of her doomed premiership came when a last-gasp effort to win support for her Withdrawal Agreement Bill backfired spectacularly and it became obvious her Brexit deal was dead in the water.

Standing in front of the prime minister's official home on Friday, May said, "I will shortly leave the job that has been the honor of my life to hold".

Spain said it now seemed nearly impossible to avoid a so-called hard Brexit, or clean break from the EU, and the bloc signalled there would be no change on the agreement despite European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker learning of May's resignation "without personal joy".

"I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. sadly I have not been able to do so", she said.

In her first speech as prime minister, Mrs May stood on the steps of Downing Street pledging to tackle the "burning injustices" in modern society.

A spokesman for May told Business Insider that the prime minister was "listening to the concerns of colleagues" over the bill and "would have further discussions today".

Meanwhile some of the contenders to replace her have talked up the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Britain is set to leave the European Union without a deal on October 31 unless an agreement can be reached with the European Union that is also acceptable to Britain's Parliament.

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is likely to be Johnson's main rival.

Like Cameron, May had campaigned to remain, but in office she became a champion of Brexit. Candidates will have to compete to show their stance is tough enough to impress the leave-leaning Conservative membership and see off the threat from Nigel Farage's Brexit party.

  • Jacqueline Ellis