London: Outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May has issued a parting shot to opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, using her final weekly parliamentary question session to suggest he follow her lead and quit his job.
Mrs May, who will officially hand over to her successor Boris Johnson on Wednesday, UK time, is stepping down after just over three years in the job, having failed to deliver Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Many Labour lawmakers are unhappy with Corbyn’s leadership, particularly his handling of a long-running anti-Semitism crisis within the party and his equivocation over Labour’s position on Brexit.
But he has strong support among the party’s grassroots and in 2016 he survived an attempt to oust him.
“Perhaps I could just finish my exchange with him by saying this: As a party leader who has accepted when her time was up, perhaps the time is now for him to do the same,” Mrs May said, prompting huge cheers from her Conservative lawmakers and shouts of “more”.
Mrs May survived a confidence vote in December but after her Brexit deal was roundly rejected by parliament three times, even after she promised to go if it was passed, she bowed to pressure from her lawmakers to let someone else take over.
Mr Corbyn paid tribute to May’s “sense of public duty” and repeated his call for a general election.
Mr Corbyn said he hoped Mrs May, who will remain a member of parliament, will “oppose the reckless plans of her successor”, apparently referring to Mr Johnson’s vow to withdraw Britain from the European Union by October 31, with or without a deal.
Mrs May said she was pleased to hand over to “an incoming prime minister who I worked with when he was in my Cabinet and who is committed as a Conservative and who stood on that manifesto in 2017 to deliver on a vote in 2016 and delivering a bright future for this country”.
Appearing emotional at times, Mrs May also used her final appearance in parliament as PM to pay tribute to her husband, Philip, who was watching from the public gallery.
Earlier, Philip Hammond quit as Chancellor before Mr Johnson entered Downing Street.
Mr Hammond, a staunch opponent of a no-deal Brexit, said the new PM should be “free to choose a chancellor who is fully aligned with his policy position”.