Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May announces her resignation outside 10 Downing Street in central London on Friday. Photo: AFP

In an emotional address on Friday, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation.

The Conservative leader’s departure ends a dramatic three-year tenure of near-constant crisis over Brexit and increases the likelihood of the country crashing out of the European Union later this year.

May, who became prime minister in the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum, was forced to leave after a Conservative mutiny over her ill-fated plan to end Britain’s near five-decade membership of the EU.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” said May, her voice breaking and close to tears, outside her Downing Street office.

“It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum.

“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold – the second female prime minister but certainly not the last.

“I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love,” she said, bursting into tears as she left the lectern and walked back into Number 10.

The 62-year-old leader said she would step down as head of the Conservative Party on June 7.

She will remain as prime minister in a caretaker role until a replacement is elected by the party before July 20.

The leader of the party, which won the most votes in the last election, automatically becomes prime minister.

She will be among the country’s shortest-serving post-WWII prime ministers, remembered for presiding over one of the most chaotic periods in its modern political history.

– with reporting by AFP, ITV and CNN

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