British Prime Minister to resign.
“A crying shame” is the headline on the front of the Daily Mail, which is among the papers fascinated by her public show of emotion. Most of the newspapers carry the same image on their front page, showing a tearful Theresa May in the final moments of her resignation speech outside Downing Street.
The columnist Jan Moir says her tears “reflected how invested she was in trying to clear up the Brexit mess”. “One can only imagine the frustration, the anger, the regret and the utter exhaustion she has privately endured over these years,” she says.
The Daily Mirror’s associate editor Kevin Maguire is less sympathetic for “The Crying Lady”, as he calls her. He urges readers to save their tears for “the millions whose lives she made worse”. The Guardian’s sketchwriter John Crace says it was “the day the Maybot cracked” and the prime minister “finally showed us her human side”.
But for Jane Moore in the Sun it was “all a bit too late”. If she had “shown just one small flash of that passion in her dealings with the EU, she might have delivered Brexit,” she concludes. She’s not alone in pointing out the perceived personal flaws which – it’s claimed – made Mrs May unsuitable for the top job.
The Economist says she was “an introvert in a profession that demands a willingness to mingle with people and make them feel good about themselves”.
The Times columnist and Conservative peer Daniel Finkelstein offers two accounts of why she failed. The first, he suggests, is that she was “in over her head” with a “crippling lack of self belief” which meant she never had quite what it takes.
A more generous assessment, he says, is that she was a tough realist, with a sense of duty, who was undone by a country deeply split by Brexit.
Robin Harris in the Daily Telegraph offers a simpler explanation – “she failed because her heart wasn’t in it and because she was the worst negotiator yet known in the field of public diplomacy”.
There’s much speculation about the runners and riders in the race to succeed her. “And they’re off!” declares the Daily Mail which pictures the contenders – declared or otherwise – lined up astride horses.
“Who’ll be first past the post?” it asks, before providing odds on who may win the leadership race. The field includes Boris Johnson as the 5-4 favourite, with Dominic Raab on 6-1 and Steve Baker at 100-1.
The Sun lists the pros and cons of each candidate. It describes Mr Johnson as “the Godfather of Brexit”, but says he is “distrusted” and “disorganised… often not bothering to grasp the detail of issues”.
Mr Raab, it notes, is popular with Tory activists, but regarded as something of a “James Bond baddie” by his critics. Michael Gove it describes a “an ideas man” but says he is seen as “geeky and lacking the common touch”. “Teario Theresa… Hello Bojo!” declares the Sun, which says Boris Johnson is the frontrunner in what it predicts will be a “bruising” leadership contest.
The Daily Telegraph says his campaign has received a boost, with Chancellor Phillip Hammond among those who have indicated they could back him. The paper says Mr Hammond has told friends he believes Mr Johnson may be the Tories’ best chance of winning a general election, even though he has serious concerns about his views on a no-deal Brexit.
Writing in The Sun, Fraser Nelson asks whether Mr Johnson will “self-destruct again”. “Only Boris can stop a Boris win,” he says.Many papers report that the Duke of Sussex is to join the Queen at a lunch with Donald Trump next month.
The Times recalls that the Duchess of Sussex once threatened to leave the US if Mr Trump won the presidency and notes that she will not be attending the event. The Sun says the Duchess has been able to avoid a “potentially awkward” meeting because she’s on maternity leave. “Mummy Meg’s Donald Duck” reads its headline.
The Daily Mirror says there have been growing calls for MPs to launch an inquiry into the failure of British Steel, which went into liquidation on Wednesday. The paper says some MPs are demanding that the Commons Business Select Committee looks into the collapse.
Trade union Unite says Greybull Capital, which brought the company for a pound in 2016, is guilty of “short-term profiteering”. Greybull’s co-founder tells the paper its rescue plan was “blown off course” by a series of events – including Brexit.