On Wednesday, David Cameron made his final speech in Parliament as U.K. prime minister before handing his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II hours. Following the country’s tradition, David Cameron will tender his resignation to the queen at Buckingham Palace at 5 p.m. local time, then suggest the queen replace him with Theresa May, the home secretary who was appointed the new leader of Conservative Party on Monday.
Then, Theresa May will arrive at the palace for an audience with the queen. They will be photographed in the room where the monarch and prime minister hold regular meetings, and Theresa May will formally become the second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher.
The governing Conservative Party has coalesced behind May’s leadership bid, bringing clarity at the national level, but concerns still remain, partly because the Brexit decision will impact the lives of millions in ways that are completely impossible to define at the moment. In fact, nothing has changed so far. UK has not formally started the Brexit process. However, the emotional landscape has been altered and the atmosphere feels different for many.
Theresa May has rejected to guarantee the approximately 3 million EU citizens living legally in UK that they will be allowed to remain in the country once Britain is no longer follow the EU’s “free movement of people” requirements. This means several million people cannot plan their futures in a country where they and their children may not be allowed to dwell.
The first decision of Theresa May will be when to formally trigger Britain’s exit from the bloc under Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. Once she gives official notice of the withdrawal, the UK will have two years to negotiate terms of separation, including what happens to the three million EU citizens living in the U.K. and the Britons living elsewhere in the EU under the bloc’s freedom of movement rules which may no longer apply once the U.K. exits the bloc.
Soon later, Theresa May will choose a new cabinet which would likely include prominent figures from both sides of the EU referendum debate as she ventures to unify the party. One major question is whether George Osborne, Britain’s treasury chief, will be able to hold on to his post. She will also have to choose a politician to lead the government’s Brexit unit, which will focus on the U.K.’s separation from the EU.