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Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she will resign as prime minister Friday, meaning a country that was already adrift amid the current Brexit crisis now has to replace its leader as well.

The big picture: May had presented a last-ditch effort to get her Brexit deal across the line, offering up the possibility of a second referendum. That olive branch set off a schism within her own Cabinet, punctuated by the resignation of Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, as ministers signaled throughout the week that the prime minister's political situation was deteriorating.

The state of play: May's resignation announcement comes just after the U.K. voted in the European elections, where her Conservative Party is expected to take a drubbing in the polls among pro-Brexit voters at the hands of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.

What's next: The contest for who will take over the Conservatives kicks off — Boris Johnson has already declared his interest — and the winner will be tasked with taking the next steps on Brexit. May will step down as the Conservative Party leader on June 7 and remain as a caretaker prime minister throughout the party's leadership election process, which will begin the following week.

  • That could mean going back to the European Union to start from scratch and negotiate a new deal — but it could also mean drastic steps like a no-deal Brexit.
  • Should the no-deal option be pursued by a Brexiteer successor to May, it would likely face severe backlash in Parliament and lead to an early general election.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about Brexit

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.

Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, advocates of changes in police practices are launching new moves to limit or eliminate legal liability protections for officers accused of excessive force.

Why it matters: Revising or eliminating qualified immunity — the shield police officers have now — could force officers accused of excessive force to personally face civil penalties in addition to their departments. But such a change could intensify a nationwide police officer shortage, critics say. 

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