Leadership contenders pay tribute to ‘dignified’ Theresa May

Potential contenders to replace Theresa May as Conservative leader have lined up to pay tribute to the dignified manner in which she announced her departure from No 10.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, the bookies’ favourite, tweeted: “A very dignified statement from Theresa May.

“Thank you for your stoical service to our country and the Conservative Party. It is now time to follow her urgings: to come together and deliver Brexit.”

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Delivering Brexit was always going to be a huge task, but one she met every day with courage and resolve.

“The NHS will have an extra £20 billion thanks to her support, and she leaves the country safer and more secure. A true public servant.”

Andrea Leadsom, who resigned as Commons Leader on Wednesday saying she could no longer back her Brexit policy, said: “A very dignified speech by Theresa May. An illustration of her total commitment to country and duty.

“She did her utmost, and I wish her all the very best.”

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said: “Dignified as ever, Theresa May showed her integrity. She remains a dedicated public servant, patriot and loyal Conservative.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Nobody could have worked harder or had a greater sense of public duty than the Prime Minister.

“Her dedication in taking our country forward has been monumental. She has served her country with fortitude and we are grateful to her for it.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove tweeted: “A moving speech from a Prime Minister who deserves our respect and gratitude. Thank you Theresa May.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Incredibly moving and dignified speech from the Prime Minister. She has given all in service of her country. Thank you Theresa.”

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said: “The Prime Minister has been an immensely dignified public servant – it has been a great honour to work with her and for her.

“We owe Theresa May a great debt of gratitude.”

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss said: “Very dignified statement from the Prime Minister.

“She has put her all into the job and has shown huge resilience at this difficult time.”