What to make of Theresa May and her possible successor?


Theresa May shed hot tears for herself as she announced her resignation as Tory leader and prime minister on Friday. May has never had problems feeling sorry for herself and admitted in 2017 that she shed “a little tear” after hearing the exit poll results that spelled disaster for her on the night of the last general election.

May has no tears for the victims of her policies. She shed no tears for the 120,000 premature deaths caused by Tory austerity since 2010, or for the victims of her anti-immigrant “hostile environment”, or for the victims of the Windrush scandal, or for the 10,000 Yemenis dead as a result of weapons sales to the Saudi dictatorship, or for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

May will no doubt spend the rest of her life defending her rotten record in office. I shed no tears for her.
Sasha Simic

• Theresa May’s legacy, behind her tears, is a Britain in a shambles, a party in disarray, a political system torn to pieces, a world in wonder and a community of 27 friends in commotion. What are the leftovers? A Brexit party that should never have been present in the European parliament, ready to wreak havoc and trying to destroy the EU from inside. Six to nine weeks to vote in a new leader who will become, without any public vote, the next prime minister.

Who is going to be the dark horse? A country ordered to fall in line by the members of the devil-may-care 1922 Committee and the more or less 124,000 affiliates of the Conservative party. A new PM who will have to negotiate another agreement to leave the EU – hard or soft – with 27 sovereign member-states before 31 October. With a new European parliament. With a new commission. With the same council. Seriously? Have you heard about Trump, Putin, Xi, Modi, and the rest of the world? They are not waiting for you to rule the world. British citizens should remember that the rest of the citizens of this union have never wanted you to go.
Jose Eguiagaray
Brussels, Belgium

• I have the greatest admiration for Theresa May, and the announcement of her resignation has saddened me very much. In my opinion, every step and decision she has taken over Brexit has been the best anyone could possibly have taken. I am shocked at the way she has been treated by the Commons and at the shortsightedness of the members. Had Brexit not been a party issue things could now be different. I hope that she can take a well-earned rest, recharge her batteries, and that when the demeaning squabbling over Brexit is finished, she will be able to take up the post of prime minister again. This is what the country deserves.
Carol Goodwin
Knutsford, Cheshire

• Theresa May was ruthlessly hounded into announcing her resignation by an ungrateful Tory party despite her herculean efforts to secure a Brexit deal. Predictably, her latest “new offer” turned out to be too little, too late. Martin Kettle (Opinion, 23 May) was right to say: “If she had reached out to the opposition in 2016 … she would probably have come up with a package not unlike the one she is promoting at the last … that package would quite likely have won the day.” But whoever comes next as prime minister will have to be as wise, clever and lucky as they are cold-blooded to succeed where she has failed.
Joe McCarthy

• Our prime minister has finally resigned and the Conservative party is to elect our next leader. There will be acres of newsprint and debate wasted in the coming month, but none of this will be relevant because only members of the Conservative party will get a choice over our next prime minister. It’s long past time we looked at improving our political system. Power is highly concentrated within a single class. This is our challenge – to return power to the people.

We could make a start by proposing a directly elected prime minister who then appoints their ministers, with ministers barred from sitting as MPs or in the House of Lords. This would achieve a true separation of powers. This initiative is just one of six proposed by the Harrogate Agenda. Our history has been one of evolution regarding the individual’s relationship with the state. Improvements mostly follow abuses, and we’ve certainly been abused over the last couple of years.
Stuart Noyes
Andover, Hampshire

• Ukraine elected a comedian as their leader. The Tories are now in danger of doing the same (Boris Johnson’s bid for Tory leadership gathers momentum, 23 May).
Mick Beeby

• Now that the contest to succeed Theresa May has started in earnest, I hope the Guardian will set an example and continue to desist from referring to the egregious Boris Johnson as “Boris”. I don’t expect to see many references to “Dominic”, “Jeremy” or “Andrea” in the coming weeks so it would be unconscionable for Johnson to be treated any differently.

Boris Johnson, Johnson, Bullingdon buffoon, spendthrift former mayor of London or even most incompetent foreign secretary in living memory are all acceptable, but please not just Boris.
Mike Pender

• Any candidate who succeeds in becoming prime minister will be handed the biggest poisoned chalice ever, the contents full of self-serving, power-hungry candidates who do not have the wellbeing of our country at heart. We have lost the quality of character that imbued a true person who represented the needs of their constituents.
Dianne Core
Londesborough, East Yorkshire

• If Boris Johnson becomes the new prime minister and continues to advocate the closure of Heathrow in favour of “Boris island”, he will lose his Uxbridge seat, dumped by outraged Heathrow workers in his constituency. What a delicious thought.
Malcolm Rivers
Isleworth, London

• And what Blond Beast, his hour come round at last, Slouches towards Downing Street to be born?
Frank Danes
Ely, Cambridgeshire

• It cannot be right that in the middle of a constitutional crisis, the country has to wait three months for a few thousand members of a failed and divided Tory party to choose the next prime minister. In a democracy, the current circumstances demand that the choice must rest with the people in a general election.

Michael Leigh


• For the foreseeable future it is pointless trying to assess Theresa May’s effectiveness. Compared with what might follow, her tenure as PM might eventually be judged as a period of relative calm and reason.
Toby Wood
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

• Early June is a poor time for the PM to depart. The end of May would have been far more appropriate!
George Kitchin
Tirril, Cumbria

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