David Cameron faces his last full day at the top of British politics today (12 July) after Andrea Leadsom unexpectedly dropped out of the contest to become his successor, leaving Theresa May as the sole candidate for UK prime minister and Conservative leader.
"I think Andrea Leadsom has made absolutely the right decision to stand aside and it is clear that Theresa May has the overwhelming support of the Conservative Parliamentary Party," Cameron said outside Number 10 yesterday.
"I am also delighted that Theresa May will be the next Prime Minister. She is strong, she is competent, she is more than able to provide the leadership that our country is going to need in the years ahead and she will have my full support."
Cameron first entered Downing Street following the 2010 general election, a vote which created a hung parliament and forced the Tory leader to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.
Nick Clegg's party reduced to just eight MPs at the last election and the Conservatives secured a surprise majority, Cameron no longer had to share his power with a rival party. However, the Old Etonian's victory last May led to his downfall.
The Tory manifesto had committed the party to hold an in/out referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. After a re-negotiation with Brussels, Cameron set the historic ballot for 23 June and announced that he would campaign to keep Britain in the 28-nation-bloc.
The UK electorate took a different view to Cameron on the merits of the EU and voted 52% against 48% to break away, on a turnout of more than 71%. The Conservative leader, who had previously vowed to stay on regardless of the referendum result, announced his intention to resign.
David Cameron's final hours in office
- 12 July: Chairs final cabinet meeting
- 12 July: Sets out new resignation honours
- 13 July: Final PMQs against Jeremy Corbyn
- 13 July: Officially resigns by meeting The Queen
A Tory leadership contest was triggered and eventually May, who had served as Home Secretary for the past six years, came out on top. Cameron will hold his final cabinet meeting this morning around 9.30am BST, in what is expected to be an emotional gathering of top Conservatives, and The Times reports that he is sketching out a list of resignation honours.
Cameron will then take on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at tomorrow's prime minister's questions (PMQs). Their last head-to-head got heated when the Tory premier urged Corbyn, who is facing his own leadership turmoil, to resign. "For heaven's sake man, go," Cameron declared.
The Conservative leader gave Tony Blair a standing ovation at the Labour man's final PMQs in 2007, but that gesture is not expected to be repeated by Corbyn because of the hostility between them.
Cameron will head to Buckingham Palace from the Commons after PMQs to meet the Queen and make his resignation official. May will also visit the monarch and she is expected to be appointed prime minister by Wednesday evening.