Theresa May's time as Conservative Party leader is over, and she has just weeks to go as prime minister until her successor is elected next month. IAN CRAIG looked at her time in Number 10 and who could succeed her in the top job.

WHILE opinions on Theresa May's tenure as prime minister are mixed, there's no denying she's been put through the wringer in her almost-three years in Number 10.

With the prime minister having stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday, the race is on to pick her successor.

Here's a look back over the three, very tumultuous years, of Mrs May's leadership:



  • June 24: The day after the Brexit referendum, David Cameron announces he will quit as prime minister.
  • June 30: Theresa May, then home secretary, announces she will run for leader of the Conservative Party.
  • July 11: She is made party leader without an election after rival Andrea Leadsom quits the race.
  • July 13: Mrs May is officially appointed as Britain's second-ever female prime minister. In her first speech she promises to fight "burning injustices".
  • July 14: Mrs May announces her new cabinet. Many members of David Cameron's former cabinet lost their jobs, while a number of prominent Brexiteers including Boris Johnson and David Davis were handed significant roles.
  • October 2: Mrs May announces her 'red lines' for negotiations with the EU, promising freedom of movement and the jurisdiction of the European courts will end.

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Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street after being appointed prime minister. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire


  • March 29: The government triggers Article 50, with the UK to leave the EU in two year's time.
  • April 18: In the wake of continued disagreements over Brexit, Mrs May announces a snap General Election will be held on June 8 in an attempt to "guarantee certainty and security for the years ahead".
  • May 22: The prime minister is forced to make a u-turn on reforms to social care which would have resulted in many elderly people paying more.
  • June 8: Mrs May's election gamble backfires, with the Conservatives losing their majority and the prime minister forced to sign an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party - including a promise of an extra £1 billion for Northern Ireland - to hold onto power. But Mrs May refuses to reign.
  • June 15: Mrs May is criticised for her response to the Grenfell Tower fire. She later conceded her initial response was "not good enough".
  • October 3: Mrs May's keynote speech to the Conservative Party conference goes disastrously wrong, with the prime minister suffering coughing fits, the stage scenery falling apart around her and a prankster interrupting her speech.

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Theresa May delivers her ill-fated keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire


  • July 6: Mrs May and her cabinet meet at her Chequers country retreat to agree a new proposal for the UK's future relationship with the EU post-Brexit.
  • July 8: David Davis quits as Brexit secretary in protest over the Chequers agreement.
  • July 9: Foreign secretary Boris Johnson follows Mr Davis out of the door.
  • November 14: The cabinet approves Mrs May's deal with the EU - but it is widely criticised by Eurosceptics, with many claiming a ‘backstop’ intended to avoid the return of a hard border in Ireland would keep the UK too closely aligned to the EU.
  • December 10: A so-called 'meaningful vote' on the deal in Parliament is put on hold after the prime minister concedes it had no chance of being approved.
  • December 12: Mrs May faces a vote of no confidence by Conservative MPs - but the bid to oust her is defeated 200 votes to 117.

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Theresa May makes a statement in 10 Downing Street, London, after she survived an attempt by Tory MPs to oust her with a vote of no confidence. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire


  • January 15: The first Parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal sees the agreement voted down by 432 votes to 202 - the biggest defeat in the House of Commons in history.
  • January 16: A vote of no confidence in the government is defeated by just 19 votes.
  • March 12: MPs vote down the Brexit deal for a second time, by a margin of 149 votes.
  • March 21: With the UK initially due to leave the EU on March 29, the EU agrees a delay until May 22 - on the condition a withdrawal agreement is approved by the end of March. The UK will be required to leave on April 12 if no such agreement is passed.
  • March 28: Mrs May promises to quit as prime minister if the withdrawal agreement is approved.
  • March 29: On the day the UK was originally due to leave the EU, the withdrawal agreement is defeated in Parliament for a third time, this time by a margin of 58.
  • April 3: Mrs May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn begin cross-party talks in an attempt to break the impasse.
  • April 10: The EU agrees to delay Article 50 until October 31 at the latest - but the UK must hold European Elections on May 23.
  • May 2: Local Government Elections in England and Northern Ireland are disastrous for the Conservatives, with the party losing 1,333 seats. Speaking at the Welsh Conservative conference the following day, Mrs May is heckled with calls to resign.
  • May 17: The Conservative-Labour talks break down without agreement.
  • May 21: Mrs May outlines a series of compromises to the Brexit deal, leading to outcry among pro-Brexit MPs. The prime minister comes under heavy pressure to resign.
  • May 24: Theresa May announces she will quit as prime minister.
  • June 7: Theresa May's final day as leader of the Conservative Party. She will remain as prime minister until her successor is appointed.

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Theresa May announcing her resignation outside 10 Downing Street. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

How will the race to pick Mrs May's successor work?

There are currently 11 Conservative MPs who have confirmed they will stand to succeed Mrs May. With such a large field of candidates, the party has changed its rules around how it conducts leadership elections to speed up the process.

Candidates now need the backing of at least eight other MPs - previously only two were required.

MPs will then carry out a series of votes during the second and third week of this month, with candidates needing an increasingly large share of the vote to stay in the contest, until the field is whittled down to two.

Meanwhile, the leadership candidates will come face-to-face in a live TV debate on Channel 4 on Sunday, June 16. Sky and the BBC are also reportedly planning live debates.

Postal ballots will then be sent to all Conservative Party members in the UK - with the winner to be announced on Monday, July 22.

Here's a look at the candidates confirmed so far:

Michael Gove

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Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

A prominent Brexiteer and former journalist, he was first elected as MP for Surrey Heath in 2005. He has served in the cabinet as education secretary, justice secretary and chief whip, and currently holds the environment, food and rural affairs portfolio. He ran to succeed David Cameron in 2016 - a move which many saw as a betrayal of Boris Johnson, who he had previously pledged to support. He ultimately came third.

Brexit stance: Leave

Odds: 5/1

Sam Gyimah

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Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

A former investment banker, he was first elected as MP for East Surrey in 2015, and worked in a number of government departments before being made universities, science, research and innovation minister in January 2018 - a position he resigned in November in protest over Mrs May's Brexit deal. He has backed a second referendum on the EU.

Brexit stance: Remain

Odds: 200/1

Matt Hancock

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Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

MP for East Suffolk since 2010, the former economist he was a junior minister in a number of departments before being made secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport in January 2018. Just seven months later he was handed the significant health and social care portfolio. He came in for criticism earlier this week after he allegedly called Jeremy Corbyn "anti-semitic".

Brexit stance: Voted Remain in 2016, but has since backed the withdrawal agreement.

Odds: 50/1

Mark Harper

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Picture: Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA Wire

A former accountant, he was elected as MP for the Forest of Dean since 2005 and served in a number of junior ministerial roles, and as chief whip. While working in the Home Office in 2013 he was responsible for a controversial campaign aimed at illegal immigrants involving vans bearing with the message "Go home or risk arrest". He has suggested he would support a further extension to Article 50.

Brexit stance: Supported Remain in 2016 - but now backs Brexit.

Odds: 100/1

Jeremy Hunt

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A former teacher and business owner, he was first elected as South West Surrey MP in 2005 and was the longest-serving health secretary in British history, having held the portfolio from 2012 until 2018. His time in office saw the introduction of contentious new junior doctors' contracts in the English NHS - which led to a series of strikes. He was also culture secretary under David Cameron - during which he oversaw the 2012 London Olympics - and was made foreign secretary last year.

Brexit stance: Previously supported Remain, but has since been a vocal advocate of Brexit.

Odds: 8/1

Sajid Javid

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Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

A former banker, he has been MP for Bromsgrove since 2010, he has held the culture, business and communities portfolios, and has been home secretary since April 2018. Seen by many as a rising star within the Conservative Party.

Brexit stance: Backed Remain, but is a known Eurosceptic.

Odds: 33/1

Boris Johnson

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Picture: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire

The bookies' favourite, the former journalist has already had a storied political career, having served as MP for Henley from 2001 until 2008, then spending eight years as Mayor of London from 2008 until 2016, and re-entering Parliament in 2015 as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. An outspoken Brexiteer, he has been long tipped as a potential future Conservative Party leader, he had been expected to run to succeed David Cameron in 2016, but ultimately did not stand. He was made foreign secretary by Theresa May when she became prime minister in July 2016, but quit in July last year in protest over her Chequers deal.

Brexit stance: Leave

Odds: 4/6

Andrea Leadsom

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Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Elected as MP for South Northamptonshire in 2010 after a career in the financial sector, she served in a number of junior ministerial roles, before taking the environment, food and rural affairs portfolio in July 2016. A vocal Brexiteer, she was made leader of the house in 2017 - a role she held until she quit in May this year over the Brexit process. She ran for the party leadership in 2016, and made it through to the final stage, but withdrew from the race after coming in for criticism about comments in which she claimed that, as a mother, she had "a very real stake" in the future, unlike Theresa May - who is unable to have children. She later claimed she had been victim of a coordinated campaign to undermine her candidacy.

Brexit stance: Leave

Odds: 10/1

Esther McVey

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A former TV presenter, she was first elected as MP for Wirral West in 2010, but lost her seat in 2015. She returned to Parliament in the 2017 snap General Election as MP for Tatton. After serving in a number of government departments, she was made work and pensions secretary in January 2018 - but resigned in November the same year in protest over Brexit.

Brexit stance: Leave

Odds: 100/1

Dominic Raab

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Picture: Peter Nicholls/PA Wire

A former lawyer, he was elected as MP for Esher and Walton in 2010. After junior roles overseeing justice and housing, communities and local government, he was made Brexit secretary following the resignation of David Davis in July 2018. But Mr Raab - a staunch Brexiteer - quit just four months later in opposition to Theresa May's withdrawal agreement.

Brexit stance: Leave

Odds: 20/1

Rory Stewart

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Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The MP for Penrith and The Border had already had a colourful career before he was elected to Parliament in 2010, having been a private tutor to Princes William and Harry, worked for the Foreign Office in Indonesia and Montenegro, and was an official in Iraq's coalition government from 2003 to 2004. He later worked restoring historic buildings in Afghanistan and as a professor at Harvard University. He served in the government as a prisons minister and was made international development secretary in May.

Brexit stance: Backed Remain, but has said he now supports Brexit.

Odds: 25/1

The final list of candidates will be finalised on Monday, June 10. Others to have indicated they may run are ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker, former chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady, defence secretary Penny Mordaunt, and former international development secretary Priti Patel.

Brexit minister James Cleverly and housing minister Kit Malthouse had also said they would run, but have since withdrawn.

All odds, supplied by Ladbrokes, were correct on Thursday, June 6.