Theresa May quits as prime minister: Reaction and comment

The prime minister has announced she will resign on June 7.

The prime minister has announced she will resign on June 7.

Theresa May said today she would quit in a fortnight, triggering a fight to succeed her with Boris Johnson the current favourite.

The move is likely to have major implications for the construction industry, with the future of HS2, housebuilding and a new runway at Heathrow all set to be major policy decisions decided under the next prime minister.

In her resignation speech, the PM said the achievements of the Conservative Party under her leadership had included "building more homes", implementing "proper funding for mental health" and "protecting the environment" including tackling climate change and improving air quality.

She had set up a public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster to ensure the people who lost their lives "would never be forgotten", she said.

The current favourite to takeover (see box, below) as Conservative Party leader and PM is Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson is opposed to the two biggest planned major infrastructure programmes in the UK, Heathrow's expansion and HS2.

Second favourite for the role, Dominic Raab voted in favour of HS2 but has in recent times declined to say whether he still backs the project, saying he "was not sure" whether he would scrap the programme at a Telegraph event last week.

Among the other candidates who have been tipped to announce their candidacy is housing minister Kit Malthouse. It is believed that more than a dozen candidates may emerge in the coming weeks.

CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “The Conservative Party leadership contest offers the possibility of a new start for the infrastructure sector, so long as the winning candidate has the courage and vision to back current investment plans. We call on all candidates to unambiguously commit to the delivery of the planned major projects that will form the backbone of the post-Brexit UK economy.

“CECA’s recent research has shown that the UK infrastructure sector is on the brink of recession, which spells trouble for jobs and growth."

He added: "If the new prime minister is to deliver a successful economic future for the UK outside of the European Union, he or she must back an ambitious agenda for the UK’s infrastructure, by bringing forward work on major projects from the moment they get the keys to Number 10.”

British Property Federation chief executive Melanie Leech said: “It is regrettable for the prime minister – but also for the whole country – that she has been unable to build the political support for a Brexit deal.

"The property industry stands ready to work with whoever her successor may be and calls upon them to act urgently to unite the Conservative party and the House of Commons to avoid a No Deal Brexit.”

RIBA President Ben Derbyshire said: “The news that Theresa May will step down as prime minister leaves the country in limbo while the clock ticks down to the latest deadline of 31 October. While much is uncertain, one thing remains clear – a no deal is no option for architecture or the wider construction sector.

"Whoever becomes the next prime minister must focus on taking the country forward with policies beyond Brexit that tackle the major challenges facing the country such as the housing crisis and climate change emergency.”

Next prime minister - odds

  • Boris Johnson 5/4
  • Dominic Raab 5/1
  • Andrea Leadsom 10/1
  • Michael Gove 10/1
  • Jeremy Hunt 1