THERESA MAY said in her final moments as Prime Minister that she hoped she has inspired “every young girl” that had seen her in the top role.
Standing on the steps of 10 Downing Street before she went to see the Queen to hand in her resignation, the Maidenhead MP also took time to praise her loving husband Philip, as well as thanking the British people.
And she has pledged to carry on as MP for the constituency, which includes parts of Woodley, Sonning, Twyford, Ruscombe, Wargrave and Remenham.
Mrs May also wished her successor ‘good fortune in the months and years ahead’.
She said: “To serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the greatest honour.
“The heavy responsibilities are outweighed by the huge potential to serve your country.”
She added her thanks to the civil service who had helped her, the armed forces and security services, and “public servants in our schools, our NHS, our police and the other emergency services”.
She added: “All are inspired by the noble wish to serve their country in the national interest.”
And concluding her speech, she thanked the public:
“Thank you for putting your faith in me and giving me the chance to serve.
“This is a country of aspiration and opportunity and I hope that every young girl who has seen a woman Prime Minister now knows for sure that there are no limits to what they can achieve.
“Finally and most of all, I want to thank my husband Philip – who has been my greatest supporter and my closest companion.
“I am about to leave Downing Street but I am proud to continue as the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead.”
As part of her final day as Prime Minister, she took part in her last Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament.
Normally the session lasts for around 45 minutes but this one took an hour.
She fielded tributes to her three-year leadership from all sides of the House of Commons, with Conservative MP Helen Grant praised her work on supporting victims of domestic violence, and others praising her on supporting people with mental health issues.
And the new Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, asked one of the final questions which brought much laughter from MPs.
“Can I ask the prime minister what advice she has for women across the country on how to deal with those men who think they could do a better job but are not prepared to do the actual work.”
In response, Mrs May said: “My advice to all women is: be true to yourself, persevere, keep going and be true to the vision you are working for”.
She left the Commons to a standing ovation from Conservative MPs.
Theresa May’s final Downing Street speech in full
I am about to go to Buckingham Palace to tender my resignation to Her Majesty the Queen and to advise her to ask Boris Johnson to form a new administration.
I repeat my warm congratulations to Boris on winning the Conservative leadership election.
I wish him and the Government he will lead every good fortune in the months and years ahead.
Their successes will be our country’s successes, and I hope that they will be many.
Their achievements will build on the work of nearly a decade of Conservative or Conservative-led government.
During that time our economy has been restored, our public services reformed, and our values defended on the world stage.
Of course, much remains to be done – the immediate priority being to complete our exit from the European Union in a way that works for the whole United Kingdom.
With success in that task can come a new beginning for our country – a national renewal that can move us beyond the current impasse into the bright future the British people deserve.
To serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the greatest honour.
The heavy responsibilities are outweighed by the huge potential to serve your country.
But you achieve nothing alone.
And as I leave Downing Street, my final words are of sincere thanks.
To my colleagues in Government and Parliament.
To everyone in the building behind me and across the Civil Service.
To the men and women of our armed forces and security services.
And to the public servants in our schools, our NHS, our police and the other emergency services.
All are inspired by the noble wish to serve their country in the national interest.
I also want to thank the British people.
Everyone who loves our great country, who works hard for their family and wants their children and grand-children to enjoy greater opportunity than they did.
Thank you for putting your faith in me and giving me the chance to serve.
This is a country of aspiration and opportunity and I hope that every young girl who has seen a woman Prime Minister now knows for sure that there are no limits to what they can achieve.
Finally and most of all, I want to thank my husband Philip – who has been my greatest supporter and my closest companion.
I am about to leave Downing Street but I am proud to continue as the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead.
I will continue to do all I can to serve the national interest.
And play my part in making our United Kingdom – a great country with a great future – a country that truly works for everyone.