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UK: Cameron leaves prime minister job as May takes over

Cameron, whose bid to keep Britain in the EU failed, banters with fellow politicians as he makes way for Theresa May.

David Cameron


DAVID CAMERON
  • Cameron served as UK PM from 2010 to 2016
  • Having failed to convince Britons to vote remain in the EU, he quit in June
  • The Conservative politician's exit sparked a brief leadership crisis
  • Theresa May, 49, is now set to become the country's second female leader

David Cameron has made his final appearance in parliament as Britain's leader, turning the normally raucous prime minister's questions session into a time for praise, thanks, gentle ribbing and cheers.

Cameron's appearance on Wednesday culminated in a standing ovation for the 49-year old leader, who is leaving office after voters rejected his advice and decided to leave the European Union.

He formally tenders his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II later in the day, and hands over the reins of power to his successor, Theresa May.

"I will miss the roar of the crowd. I will miss the barbs of the opposition," Cameron said, promising to watch future exchanges as a regular Conservative Party politician on the back benches.

Cameron also poked fun at the leadership turmoil going on in the Labour Party, telling opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn that the Tories have had "resignation, nomination, competition and coronation" while Labour is still working out its leadership rules.

Larry the cat

Cameron also took a moment to discuss the Downing Street cat, Larry, who is being left behind to keep working as the resident mouse-catcher. Cameron said he wanted to scotch "the rumour that somehow I don't love Larry. I do!"

After Cameron formally resigns, 59-year-old May will visit the palace, where the Queen will ask her to form a new government.

The new leader, Britain's Home Secretary - in charge of immigration and law and order - for the past six years, has the tough task of calming the country, and the financial markets, after the massive upheaval that has followed the June 23 referendum.

She is expected to quickly unveil a new cabinet line-up, including a minister in charge of implementing Brexit, a British exit from the EU.

May, who backed remaining in the EU, will also be expected to reward prominent campaigners for a "leave" vote with key jobs.

Observers are keen to see if she appoints former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Michael Gove, one-time Conservative leadership contenders who jointly headed the "leave" campaign before Gove turned on Johnson.

There is also speculation that May, Britain's second female prime minister - after Margaret Thatcher - will boost the number of women in top posts.

'A privilege'

Cameron told The Telegraph it had been "a privilege to serve the country I love".

He said he hoped he was leaving "a stronger country, a thriving economy and more chances to get on in life".

Newspapers offered harsher judgments of a politician toppled by his decision to call a referendum on EU membership - which he then lost.

The Sun said Cameron had been "undone by his Olympian overconfidence", while The Guardian called him a "prime minister of broken promises".

But Cameron drew praise from an old adversary, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker saying he would miss the British leader.

"I have experienced a man who is serious, who is a fan of no-nonsense policy and who was delivering at each and every moment when things started to become serious," Juncker said.


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