New British Prime Minister Theresa May says she plans to lead in the spirit of unity and build a country that “works for everyone”.
May spoke to reporters as she arrived at Downing Street to take up her new position on Wednesday afternoon.
Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II has accepted the resignation of David Cameron as British prime minister.
CCTV’s Richard Bestic reports.
UK transition of power: Cameron heads out, May comes inNew British Prime Minister Theresa May says she plans to lead in the spirit of unity and build a country that “works for everyone”. May spoke to reporters as she arrived at Downing Street to take up her new position on Wednesday afternoon. CCTV's Richard Bestic reports.
A statement from the palace says the monarch met with Cameron, who formally resigned the office before handing over to his successor.
Earlier in the day, Cameron made his final appearance in Parliament as Britain’s leader with dignity and humor, turning the usually raucous prime minister’s questions session into a time for praise, thanks, gentle ribbing, cheers — and a sprinkle of criticism.
The warmth in the House of Commons culminated in loud applause and a standing ovation from his Conservative colleagues for Cameron, 49, who is resigning after voters rejected his advice and decided to leave the European Union. He will formally tender his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II later Wednesday afternoon and hand the post over to his successor, Theresa May.
“I will miss the roar of the crowd. I will miss the barbs from the opposition,” Cameron said, promising to watch future exchanges as a regular Conservative lawmaker on the back benches.
He even poked fun at himself, reminding legislators of a barb he directed at then-Prime Minister Tony Blair more than a decade ago: “He was the future once.”
“As I once said, I was the future once,” Cameron noted, as his wife Samantha and three children watched from the public gallery.
Despite the suddenness of Cameron’s exit — less than three weeks after the June 23 referendum on Britain’s membership in the EU — he appeared relaxed and confident as he absorbed both praise and carping from opposition lawmakers.
Replying to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is facing his own leadership challenge from two Labour lawmakers, Cameron poked fun at Labour’s leadership turmoil, noting that the Tories had had “resignation, nomination, competition and coronation” while Labour is still working out the rules for its contest.
He found time to congratulate Wimbledon winner Andy Murray and other British players there, and rebuffed rumors that he does not like Downing St.’s resident cat, Larry — “I do!”
Cameron noted that he had answered 5,500 parliamentary questions in his six years in office. Amid the jokes and tributes in his farewell question period, he fielded questions about eye surgery and a health scandal, along with criticism about the rise in food banks and his part in calling the vote that ended up with Brexit — a Britain departure from the 28-nation EU.
Trying to reclaim his legacy from Brexit, Cameron said his government had cut the deficit, overseen economic growth and legalized same-sex marriage. And he offered the closest thing he has ever given to a mission statement: “I believe that politics is about public service in the national interest.”
May has been Britain’s Home Secretary in charge of immigration and law and order for the past six years. She has the tough task of calming the country and global financial markets after the upheaval that has followed Brexit vote.
Although May backed remaining in the EU, she has reassured “leave” supporters that “Brexit means Brexit, and we will make a success of it.”
She is expected to quickly unveil a new Cabinet lineup, including a minister in charge of implementing Brexit. Observers are keen to see if she appoints former London Mayor Boris Johnson or Justice Secretary Michael Gove to new jobs. The two Conservatives headed the “leave” campaign but then turned on one another in the leadership contest.
She is under pressure — both from pro-Brexit Conservatives and other EU leaders — to start formal exit talks with the bloc. But Tony Travers of the London School of Economics said May would likely not rush to trigger Article 50 of the EU constitution, which starts a two-year countdown to a final exit.
“I don’t detect Theresa May being an impulsive person,” Travers said. “I think she’s a cautious person, and the British political establishment needs to come to terms with this massive decision.”
There is also speculation that May, Britain’s second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher, will boost the number of women in top posts.
Wednesday’s newspapers offered mixed judgments of Cameron, a politician toppled by his decision to call a referendum on EU membership — which he then lost.
The Daily Telegraph said in an editorial that Cameron “leaves behind a stronger country, a thriving economy and more chances to get on in life.” But The Sun said Cameron had been “undone by his Olympian overconfidence,” while the Guardian called him a “prime minister of broken promises.”
Story from The Associated Press.
Brian Beary discusses the new cabinet
For more on what to expect from Theresa May leadership, CCTV America’s Susan Roberts spoke to Brian Beary, EU expert and contributor of European Affairs magazine.
Cameron saddled with unwelcome Brexit legacy
David Cameron helped get Britain’s economy growing again. And bringing same-sex marriage to the U.K. was praised as a landmark piece of progressive legislation. But after the turmoil of Brexit, will he be remembered for any of that?
CCTV’s business correspondent Owen Fairclough looks back at David Cameron’s legacy.
Cameron saddled with unwelcome Brexit legacyDavid Cameron helped get Britain's economy growing again. And bringing same-sex marriage to the U.K. was praised as a landmark piece of progressive legislation. But after the turmoil of Brexit, will he be remembered for any of that? CCTV's business correspondent Owen Fairclough looks back at David Cameron's legacy.
“I do believe that today our country is much stronger. Above all it was about turning around the economy. And with a deficit cut by two-thirds, two and-a-half more million people in work, and one million more businesses, there can be no doubt that our economy is immeasurably stronger,” David Cameron, Former British Prime Minister said.
David Cameron trying to forge his legacy after leaving Number 10 Downing Street door for the last time.