British Prime Minister, Theresa May has officially stepped down as leader of her Conservative Party on Friday.
May will remain prime minister until a new leader is chosen, but she has relinquished control over the direction of Britain’s tortuous departure from the European Union.
Brexit is still scheduled for October 31 but while her rivals thrash it out, the project remains stuck, with the only divorce plan agreed with Brussels stuck in parliament.
May took office after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU and has spent the past three years working on the plan, delaying Brexit twice to try to get it through.
Eleven Conservative MPs are currently in pole position to replace her, including former foreign minister Boris Johnson, but some are expected to drop out before Monday’s deadline for nominations.
The winner will have only a few months to decide whether to try to salvage May’s plan, delay Brexit again — or sever ties with Britain’s closest trading partner with no agreement at all.
They are under pressure from eurosceptic figurehead Nigel Farage, who has called for a “no deal” option and whose Brexit party topped European polls last month.
His party suffered a setback on Friday after narrowly missing out on winning its first parliamentary seat, losing to Labour in a by-election in the eastern city of Peterborough.
Despite winning, Labour’s vote share fell by 17 percent while the Tories plummeted by 25 percent, highlighting the task facing May’s successor.
Polling guru John Curtice told the BBC that the result showed Britain was now in a “different political world”.
“A lot of constituencies are now looking at four-party politics, and perhaps in others five-party politics,” said a disappointed Farage.