Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Cameron resigns, new PM takes office

Published:Thursday | July 14, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, his wife Samantha and their children, (from left) Nancy, Florence and Elwen leave 10 Downing Street, in London, yesterday. Cameron formally resigned during a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, then Theresa May, the Home Secretary, took over.

LONDON (AP):

In a carefully orchestrated political ballet, David Cameron left his job and his home at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, resigning as prime minister soon afterward at Buckingham Palace. Theresa May then became Britain's new leader, accepting an invitation to govern from Queen Elizabeth II.

The palace confirmed in a brief, formal statement that "the Right Honorable David Cameron MP had an Audience of The Queen this evening and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accept."

In the traditional change of government ceremony, Cameron met the queen at the palace and recommended that the monarch invite May his successor as Conservative Party leader to form a new government.

Cameron resigned after making a brief statement outside the prime minister's residence, his home for more than six years.

"It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve our country as prime minister over these last six years, and to serve as leader of my party for almost 11 years," he said, accompanied by his wife Samantha and his children 12-year-old Nancy, 10-year-old Elwen and five-year-old Florence.

"It's not been an easy journey and of course we have not got every decision right, but I do believe that today our country is much stronger," Cameron said.

 

ENDORSING MAY

He said May would provide "strong and stable leadership" and wished her luck in negotiations for Britain leave the European Union - the issue that caused his demise.

Earlier, Cameron made his final appearance as prime minister in Parliament, 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 resigned after voters rejected his advice and decided to leave the European Union.

"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 and children watched from the public gallery.

Trying to reclaim his legacy from Brexit, Cameron said his government had cut the deficit, overseen economic growth and legalised 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."