Photo Credit: HM Government
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has expressed his “admiration and gratitude” to the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, after she announced that she will step down in the coming months. Mrs May will step down as leader of the ruling Conservative Party on Thursday 7 June. Conservative MPs and members will then take part in an internal multi—stage electoral process to elect a new party leader, who will become Prime Minister. Mrs May will continue to serve as Prime Minister until the election process is complete. In his statement, Archbishop Justin called on people to pray for political leaders “in these critical times in our shared national life.”
“During the last three years of leading our nation through times of profound change and uncertainty, Theresa May has shown determination, resilience and a sense of public duty that has never wavered”, Archbishop Justin said. “That is a service to us all that deserves our admiration and gratitude.
“As Mrs May prepares to stand down from office over the coming months, this is a moment to pause and pray for her and her husband, Philip, whose support has been unwavering, and for all those around them working to ensure a smooth transition into new leadership.
“Every day in churches across the country, we pray for our political leaders. We pray that they be guided and strengthened in wise leadership that strives for the common good. We pray too for their protection, safety and wellbeing in the roles they take on for the benefit of our communities and our nation. We also pray for their families who with them carry the burden that being in public life brings.”
He continued: “In these critical times in our shared national life, people of faith should commit to pray for all those who lead, all those who are led, and work together with all of goodwill, especially for those who are vulnerable and on the margins. As Christians we pray that our society would be shaped around Christ’s hope-filled vision of abundant life for every person.”
The Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart, who convenes the Lords Spiritual – the 26 Church of England bishops with seats in the House of Lords, the upper house of the UK Parliament, said: “Theresa May has given dedicated and committed public service to the country during very difficult times. I wish her and Philip well as they prepare for life beyond Downing Street.
“I am especially grateful to the Prime Minister for the priority she has given during her time in Government to addressing the evils of modern slavery, and for a focus on global freedom of religion and belief.
“In her statement today Theresa May reminded us of the importance of compromise. Now more than ever we need political leaders and Parliament to focus on what unites us, especially when it comes to a way forward with Brexit.
“That will be the biggest task facing our next Prime Minister. My hopes and prayers are for an orderly transition and for all those who continue to give themselves to public service in national and local life.”