Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. The Staggers
13 June 2012updated 07 Jun 2021 4:19pm

Theresa May is to resign as Prime Minister on 7 June. So what’s next?

By Stephen Bush

Theresa May will stand down as leader of the Conservative Party on 7 June, triggering a leadership election, the exact length of which has yet to be decided. She leaves behind one hell of a mess.

She bowed out with the rampant shamelessness that has typified her public statements: talking about compromise “not being a dirty word” in the exact same square foot where she tried to whip up an angry mob against parliament not two months ago. She also talked about making sure Grenfell doesn’t happen again, having taken two years to do anything to get the same cladding removed from private tower blocks.

It makes her the second Conservative prime minister to resign from office since the Brexit vote of 23 June 2016 and it feels like a big bet to think that her replacement will be any more likely to resolve the deadlock than she was.

Yes, she inherited a huge public policy challenge from David Cameron. But an In-Out referendum had been the settled will of much of the Conservative Party for decades and the first majority since 1992 was always going to yield a vote on our EU membership.

What wasn’t inevitable was that the politician who followed him would inject an industrial quality of vitriol and hatred by trying to use Brexit as a cudgel to reorient British politics and failing spectacularly. It wasn’t inevitable to create a weird half department in Dexeu that has, as predicted by almost every serious Whitehall watcher, created more confusion in government than it has solved. It wasn’t inevitable that a quarter of the country would regard any form of negotiated Brexit as a betrayal – “no deal is better than a bad deal”, the most harmful soundbite in British politics, was produced, repeated and endorsed by her.

Select and enter your email address Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A quick and essential guide to domestic politics from the New Statesman's Westminster team. A weekly newsletter helping you understand the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email. Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

She inherited a parliamentary majority with three years left to run and a comfortable opinion poll lead. She passes on a deadlocked parliament and no obvious route to an overall Conservative victory. She was bequeathed a country with a large majority for a negotiated Brexit – she passes on a nation where no outcome, be it no Brexit, no deal or a negotiated exit, can reliably command the support of more than third of the country as a desirable end state.

Content from our partners
How software will make or break sustainability
Sustainable finance can save us from the energy crisis – with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange
How trailblazers are using smart meters to make the move to net zero

Nonetheless there will be upwards of 15 candidates to inherit the disaster, which says something about human optimism if nothing else.