Theresa May fights back tears in her Commons farewell as Prime Minister
Her final Prime Minister’s Questions lasted 64 minutes.
Theresa May fought back tears in a final Prime Minister’s Questions which saw her tell Jeremy Corbyn to consider whether his time as leader is also up.
The outgoing Prime Minister’s voice cracked with emotion as she concluded her 64-minute finale by insisting her “greatest motivation” will be her duty to her Maidenhead constituents.
Mrs May, who was watched by her husband Philip, received a standing ovation from Tory MPs, the DUP and the Liberal Democrats.
Some Labour backbench MPs also applauded, but leader Mr Corbyn did not.
Opening PMQs, Mrs May told MPs she will continue with her duties from the backbenches and faced several questions about advising her successor Boris Johnson.
She said: “I am pleased to hand over to an incoming leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister who I worked with when he was in my Cabinet, and who is committed as a Conservative, who stood on a Conservative manifesto in 2017 to delivering on the vote of the British people in 2016 and to delivering a bright future for this country.”
Mr Corbyn paid tribute to Mrs May’s “sense of public duty” and asked whether she will join outgoing Chancellor Philip Hammond in helping him “oppose the reckless plans of her successor”.
As MPs laughed, Mr Corbyn noted the Tories were in “such good heart”, adding: “For tomorrow they won’t be.”
He then used his questions to highlight Government failures and asked if she has any regrets.
Before defending her record in power, Mrs May said: “It’s very good to see the Conservative Party in good heart, which is more than I can say for the Labour Party.”
Mr Corbyn called for Mr Johnson to call a general election upon entering Number 10 to “let the people decide their future”, noting: “The Prime Minister has dumped her own manifesto.
“Given her successor has no mandate from the people, no mandate in which to move into office, doesn’t she agree the best thing the right honourable member for Uxbridge could do later on today when he takes office is to call a general election and let the people decide their future?”
Mrs May disagreed with the election suggestion, adding: “Perhaps I could just finish my exchange with him by saying this: As a party leader who has accepted when her time was up, perhaps the time is now for him to do the same?”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Mr Johnson has “no mandate in Scotland” and urged Mrs May to back a cross-party motion to prevent the Commons being shut down before November to force through Brexit.
Mrs May later said she will give Mr Johnson her “full support” from the backbenches and paid tribute to her husband in the gallery.
Independent MP Ian Austin caused uproar among some of his former Labour colleagues when he said: “Can I start by associating myself completely with the final answer the Prime Minister gave to the Leader of the Opposition about his need to consider his future.
“And can I tell her this as well – it’s absolutely clear to me that the vast majority of Labour MPs agree with her too.”
As Tory MPs cheered, some Labour MPs could be heard shouting: “You don’t speak for us.”
New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson also said: “Can I ask the Prime Minister what advice she has for women across the country on how to deal with those men who think they could do a better job but are not prepared to do the actual work?”
Mrs May replied: “My advice to all women is actually be true to yourself, persevere, keep going and be true to the vision you’re working for.”
She then noted all parties sitting in the Commons have had a female leader bar Labour.
In her final remarks at the despatch box, Mrs May said she believes there will be another woman prime minister among the current cohort of MPs.
She said: “I’m sure that amongst the women in this House today there is a future prime minister, maybe more than one.
“Later today I will return to the backbenches and it will be my first time in 21 years so it’s going to be quite a change from standing here at the despatch box.
Mrs May also said that she had been told she had answered 4,500 questions over 140 hours in the House, “more than I might have expected”.
She went on: “We are living through extraordinary political times. This House of Commons is rightly at the centre of those events.
“That’s because of the vital link between every single member of this House and the communities, the Commons that we represent.
“That’s the bedrock of our parliamentary democracy and of our liberty.
“And each of us, wherever we sit and whatever we stand for, can take pride in that.”
Her voice faltered as she made her final remarks: “That duty to my constituents will remain my greatest motivation.”