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Theresa May has just announced that she will resign as Prime Minister on 7th June. It has also been announced that the new Tory Leader will not be chosen until mid-July. (This is to account for all rounds of the selection process.)

Given there is over a month between these events, who will lead the country during this time?

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She will almost certainly remain as interim leader of both the Conservative Party and the Government until the new leader is appointed, as David Cameron did in 2016.

Note that the two roles are technically separate - she is Prime Minister by appointment of the Queen, and because she can command a majority in the Commons, but Party Leader because she won an election according to the Party's own rules. It is the party leadership which she will formally resign on 7th June.

There is no defined "line of succession" for either post, but theoretically the Conservative Party could immediately nominate an interim successor - there was talk of this happening if she was forced out rather than resigning. However, to become Prime Minister as well, that leader would probably need to survive a Vote of Confidence in the Commons, which would be risky because the Conservatives do not have an overall majority.

A much smoother transition can be achieved by her continuing in both roles until a permanent successor is officially announced in July. At that point, she will hand her resignation as Prime Minister to the Queen, and recommend the new leader be appointed as her successor.

I guess it's a bit like "working your notice" when you resign from a full-time job.

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She resigned as the conservative party leader effective June 7th. That will lead to a new prime minister in due course, since her successor in the party role would presumably want to become the new prime minister, but until then she is prime minister.

  • Are you suggesting "due course" is before June 7th? Or will she remain as PM after that date if there's no new Tory leader? Will there be an interim leader in such a case or is it not known? – JJJ May 24 at 13:27
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    @JJJ The expectation and tradition is that the outgoing PM continues until he or she can name a "suggested" successor to the monarch. It appears Mrs. May is continuing with this. From the BBC "Mrs May said she would continue to serve as PM while a Conservative leadership contest takes place." bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48395905 – origimbo May 24 at 13:35
  • @jjj, edited, a new party leader would likely become the new prime minister. – o.m. May 24 at 13:43

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