THERESA May has announced she will resign, stating June 7 as the date she will step aside as Prime Minister

In a statement outside Downing Street, the Tory leader said it is time for a new leader to take over.

May said the UK has "a great future" despite "politics being under strain".

She added: "I will shortly leave the job that has been the honour of my life to hold. The second female PM but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will but in enormous and enduring gratidude to have the opportunity to serve the country I love."

Sources believe the Tory leadership contest is likely to start on June 10 after US President Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain. It is expected to last six weeks.

She made the announcement after a meeting with Graham Brady, the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee – which was prepared to trigger a second no-confidence vote in her leadership if she refused to resign.

Nicola Sturgeon said: "I wish Theresa May well. She and I had profound disagreements - not least on her handling of Brexit and her disregard for Scotland’s interests. However, leadership is tough - especially in these times - and she deserves thanks for her service."