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Theresa May's reign as Tory leader comes to low-key finish

Theresa May
Theresa May

By David Hughes

Theresa May, has ended her turbulent reign as Tory leader as rivals to replace her step up their campaigns.

The low-key resignation saw Mrs May write to the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee, confirming the announcement she made a fortnight ago in Downing Street. She will remain Prime Minister until Tory MPs and members finish the process of choosing a successor in late July.

Mrs May spent her last day as Tory leader in her Maidenhead constituency, with the Peterborough by-election defeat a stark illustration of the difficulties she has faced and which will now trouble her successor. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, one of 11 declared candidates in the race to replace her, warned there was "no future" for the party unless Brexit is resolved.

Boris Johnson, the bookmakers' favourite as leader, has said unless the UK's withdrawal from the European Union is completed by October 31, an election would see Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.

The Peterborough election saw the Tories slump to third place, behind victors Labour and the Brexit Party, in a seat which had traditionally been a Conservative-Labour marginal.

The nominations process for the new leader will be completed on Monday, with candidates requiring the support of eight MPs.

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