The Prime Minister put absolutely everything she could into delivering on the 2016 referendum and a Brexit that respected the result, but safeguarded our economy and jobs.
I had the honour of being her Parliamentary Private Secretary when she was Home Secretary and then Prime Minister so I saw Theresa May working at close hand. She is one of the most dedicated, honest and principled people I have ever worked with. She has been a tireless public servant who believes in doing what is right and it was quite clear from her dignified speech today that she loves her country and wants only the best for it.
To have ultimately failed in delivering Brexit – the most complex issue this country has faced for generations – is not something she should ever reproach herself for. I believe she delivered a withdrawal deal that was the absolutely best it could have been when it was obvious compromise was needed. I, like many others, have admired her tenacity in the face of great odds but it's right she has decided to relinquish her leadership today.
Moving forward, I am firmly of the view the country needs a Prime Minister who can unite the Conservative Party and foster the necessary compromise in the House of Commons to properly honour the referendum result. I voted to remain but democracy must prevail. This country has a mandate given by that referendum to leave the European Union. We must rally around a new leader to do this and get on with leaving on the very best terms possible and then turn to the other important issues this country faces.