THERESA May will resign as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday June 7.

The tearful prime minister made the announcement earlier this morning outside Downing Street. 

She said:  "Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as PM I have striven to make the UK work not just for a privileged few but for everyone and to honour the result of the referendum.

"I negotiated the terms of our exit. I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. Sadly I have not been able to do so.

"It is now clear to me that it is in the best interest of the UK for a new PM to lead that effort.

The process for electing a new leader will begin in the week following Mrs May's resignation.

The prime minister added: "It is a matter of deep regret that I have not been able to deliver Brexit. My successor will have to find a consensus. Consensus will only be possible if those on both sides of the debate compromise.

"I am proud of the progress we have made over the last few years. We have helped more people than ever secure a job.

"Our politics may be under strain but there is so much that is good about this country, so much to be proud of," she said.

"I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold. The second female prime minister but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love."