David Cameron chairs his final cabinet meeting on Tuesday after six years as Britain’s prime minister, with incoming premier Theresa May preparing to form a new government to deliver Brexit.
Cameron’s last full day as prime minister came sooner than expected after dramatic twists in the race to replace him led to his swift exit from power less than three weeks after the nation’s seismic vote to quit the European Union.
Home Secretary May, the interior minister, was declared the new leader of the governing centre-right Conservative Party on Monday after junior energy minister Andrea Leadsom, her only remaining challenger for the post, withdrew from the contest.
Cameron announced he would step down after leading the failed campaign for Britain to remain in the EU in the June 23 referendum.
May will immediately face questions on when she plans to trigger Article 50 — the formal procedure for withdrawal from the EU — which would set a two-year deadline for completing exit negotiations.
While May supported Britain staying in the bloc, she cut a low profile during the referendum campaign and insists she will honour the popular vote, stressing on Monday: “Brexit means Brexit”.
May also noted the need “to negotiate the best deal for Britain in leaving the EU” in brief comments outside parliament.
EU leaders have kept up the pressure on Britain, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying late Monday “The United Kingdom will need to quickly clarify how it wants its ties with the European Union to be in future.”
Cameron was to face MPs in parliament for a final time on Wednesday in the weekly prime minister’s questions session, before meeting Queen Elizabeth II to tender his resignation to the head of state.
The monarch will call for May, the new leader of the majority party in parliament, to form a fresh government.