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Jul 13, 2016 4:46 PM

The Latest: Germany's Merkel congratulates May by phone

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on British political developments (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

The German government says Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken with new British Prime Minister Theresa May to congratulate her.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement that the German leader wished May luck in her new job in a telephone conversation Wednesday evening.

He said Merkel and May "agreed that cooperation in the spirit of the proven friendly relations between both countries should be continued, including in the forthcoming negotiations on Britain's exit from the EU."


9:05 p.m.

A U.S. State Department spokesman says the U.S. looks forward to engaging with Boris Johnson as Britain's new foreign secretary.

Mark Toner told reporters in Washington Wednesday that the bond between Britain and the U.S. "is frankly a relationship that goes beyond personalities."

He said: "We're always going to be able to work with the British no matter who is occupying the role of foreign sec because of our deep abiding special relationship with the United Kingdom."

He also congratulated Foreign Secretary Hammond on his new role as Treasury chief.

He added: "This and it is an absolutely critical moment in certainly England's history, but also in the U.S.-U.K. relationship so absolutely we're committed to working productively going forward."


8:40 p.m.

Prime Minister Theresa May has named Liam Fox Britain's new minister for international trade.

May rounded off her first handful of Cabinet appointments with the choice of Fox, a former defense secretary who ran against her to be Conservative Party leader.

Fox was the first of five Tory leadership candidates to be eliminated in the race to replace David Cameron — which May won.

He was a strong backer of the successful "leave" side in Britain's EU referendum campaign. May backed "remain" but has given several top government posts to supporters of a British exit from the EU, or Brexit.


8:25 p.m.

Veteran Conservative euroskeptic David Davis has been appointed to lead Britain's exit talks with the European Union.

Prime Minister Theresa May has named Davis to the newly created post of secretary of state for exiting the European Union.

Davis is a long-serving lawmaker who often clashed with May when she was home secretary over privacy and free-speech issues. He has criticized British spies' snooping powers for being too intrusive.

He has long advocated leaving the European Union, a plan he will now be in charge of implementing following Britain's vote to quit the bloc.


8:15 p.m.

New Prime Minister Theresa May has given her former job of home secretary to Amber Rudd, Britain's former energy secretary.

That means two of the top four jobs in the government are held by women.

May, Britain's second female prime minister, is likely to boost the number of women in top jobs.

Some ministers are remaining in post as May shakes up the Cabinet, including Defense Secretary Michael Fallon.


8:05 p.m.

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson has been appointed Britain's new foreign secretary, one of the biggest jobs in government.

Johnson was one of the leaders of the campaign to leave the European Union. He has been given the job by new Prime Minister Theresa May, who backed the losing "remain" side ahead of the referendum.

Johnson had hoped to become British prime minister but saw his dream fade amid Conservative Party plotting after last month's vote.

He will not be responsible for leading Britain's EU exit talks. That will go to a dedicated "minister for Brexit."


7:45 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked departing British Prime Minister David Cameron in a valedictory message and congratulated his successor Theresa May.

A Kremlin statement Wednesday said Putin thanked Cameron for cooperation and quoted him as saying "I hope that your rich political experience will be in demand in the future, both in the United Kingdom and in the international community."

To May, who succeeded Cameron on Wednesday, Putin "stressed the conviction that the preservation and augmentation of the significant potential of Russian-British cooperation in various fields that has been accumulated for a long time is in the fundamental interests of the two countries."


7:35 p.m.

Israel's prime minister says he has sent his congratulations to Britain's new leader Theresa May.

A statement from Benjamin Netanyahu's office Wednesday said he sent a letter to May with his well-wishes.

The statement also said Netanyahu spoke to former Prime Minister David Cameron. He thanked him for "standing beside Israel, the good relations and the strengthening of ties" during his leadership.


7:20 p.m.

Newly appointed British Prime Minister Theresa May has begun assembling her new government, appointing Philip Hammond as Treasury chief.

Hammond, the former foreign secretary, replaces George Osborne, who had held the job for six years. Osborne has resigned from the government.

May is expected to shuffle several top jobs and appoint a new "Brexit minister" in charge of negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union.

Leading anti-EU campaigner Boris Johnson was among politicians seen entering 10 Downing St. soon after May took over on Wednesday.


6:20 p.m.

European Union officials are congratulating new British Prime Minister Theresa May and saying that Britain and Brussels will have to move soon to address the consequences of the country's vote to leave the bloc.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the EU's executive Commission, wished May "every success in the task ahead."

He wrote to May Wednesday: "The outcome of the United Kingdom's referendum has created a new situation which the United Kingdom and the European Union will have to address soon. I look forward to working closely with you on this and to learn about your intentions in this regard."

Martin Schulz, the European Parliament's president, wrote on Twitter: "Leadership issue settled, now I expect we work quickly to deliver certainty."


6:10 p.m.

Prime Minister Theresa May says she plans to lead in the spirit of unity and build a country that "works for everyone."

The new leader stressed she would fight against social injustice and that she believes in the unity of all aspects of the United Kingdom. May's statement is important in that it stresses healing the many fractures that arose in Britain because of the vote to leave the European Union.

She said that Britain will forge "a bold new positive role" in the world, outside of the European Union.

After the remarks, May stopped and waved outside No. 10 Downing Street beside her husband, Philip.


5:50 p.m.

Theresa May has become Britain's prime minister after meeting with Queen Elizabeth II.

Buckingham Palace has released an image of May offering a deep curtsey before the monarch, denoting that she has accepted the queen's invitation to form a government.

May takes over from David Cameron, who resigned after Britain's vote to leave the European Union.


5:30 p.m.

Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II has accepted the resignation of David Cameron as British prime minister.

A statement from the palace says the monarch met with Cameron, who formally resigned the office before handing over to his successor, Theresa May.

May arrived at Buckingham Palace shortly afterward to be confirmed as British prime minister.


4:50 p.m.

David Cameron has left 10 Downing St. to go to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation as prime minister.

Cameron said Wednesday it was the "greatest honor" of his life to serve as prime minister. Surrounded by his wife and children, Nancy, Elwen and Florence, Cameron offered an assessment of his tenure saying he left the country stronger and better off.

He wished his successor Theresa May luck in her negotiations to have Britain leave the European Union — the matter that caused his demise.

He posed for images in front the shiny black door, waved, and embarked on the brief trip to the palace.


4:35 p.m.

Top European Union official Donald Tusk is congratulating Theresa May on her appointment as Britain's new prime minister, saying that he looks forward to "a fruitful working relationship."

Tusk is the president of the European Council, which brings together the leaders of the 28-nation bloc.

May's main task as prime minister will be to negotiate Britain's exit from the EU after Britons voted to leave in a June 23 referendum.


3:05 p.m.

Germany's interior minister says Theresa May is "the right woman for Britain" as she takes over as prime minister in the wake of the U.K.'s vote to leave the European Union.

Thomas de Maiziere has been outgoing Home Secretary May's German counterpart for several years as his country's top security official. De Maiziere said in Berlin on Wednesday: "She is a smart woman — thoughtful, disciplined, competent, strong in negotiations ... and critical too, but reliable and credible."

He added: "That's why I think she is the right woman for Britain at this time."

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the German leader hasn't personally met May yet but "will certainly have contact with her soon."


12:50 p.m.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has received a standing ovation from his Conservative colleagues at the close of his final session of prime minister's questions.

The members of the House of Commons rose as one to thank a smiling Cameron for his six years of service as a Conservative prime minister.

During the friendly session Wednesday he was praised for helping to reduce unemployment, fund the National Health Service and improve educational opportunities. His wife Samantha and their children were in the public gallery.

Cameron will formally resign later in the day during a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, then Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will take over.


12:35 p.m.

The usually boisterous House of Commons is taking a good-natured turn on the final day of Prime Minister David Cameron's final day in office. Lawmakers told jokes — and Cameron joined in with gentle ribbing back.

One of the more cheerful exchanges took place between Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Cameron poked fun at the leadership turmoil going on in the Labour Party, telling Corbyn that the Tories have had "resignation, nomination, competition and coronation" while Labour is still working out the rules.

Cameron also took a moment to discuss the Downing Street resident cat, Larry, who is being left behind. Cameron says he wanted to scotch "the rumor that somehow I don't love Larry. I do!"


12:05 p.m.

Prime Minister David Cameron has begun his final session of prime minister's questions at the House of Commons.

He joked that his afternoon schedule "will be light" after he steps down following a brief visit with Queen Elizabeth II.

Cameron will tell the queen at Buckingham Palace he is resigning and suggest that Home Secretary Theresa May has the support to become prime minister.

Cameron's wife Samantha and their children were in the front row of the public gallery for the event.


12 p.m.

Incoming British leader Theresa May has been greeted with cheers as she entered the House of Commons.

She was attending David Cameron's final session of prime minister's questions before the transfer of power begins.

Cameron plans to meet Queen Elizabeth II after the session to formally resign his leadership post.

May is expected to visit the queen shortly afterward to receive permission to form a government.

She is likely to name her Cabinet in the coming days.


10:25 a.m.

Prime Minister David Cameron will be leaving 10 Downing St. — but another resident of the famous address won't be going anywhere.

Larry, the resident Downing Street cat, will remain in place, having cemented his position at No. 10 despite widespread doubts about his vermin-hunting abilities.

The rescue tabby tomcat was brought in to catch rats and mice at the famous-but-infested residence, but his record of kills has been hotly disputed. Nonetheless, Downing Street said Wednesday that Larry's tenure will continue.

No. 10 has described Larry in the past as a cat who "brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people" and was Tuesday photographed standing guard at the front gate when incoming leader Theresa May walked past.


9:15 a.m.

The competition for the Labour Party leadership has become more intense with the emergence of a third candidate.

Former shadow minister Owen Smith said Wednesday he will challenge embattled party leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Labour business spokeswoman Angela Eagle in the contest.

He says he would be a "radical and credible" leader.

Corbyn is fighting to retain his position after a dramatic loss of support among his party's members of Parliament.

The Labour Party executive committee has ruled that his name must be on the ballot despite his lack of backing among legislators. Corbyn is banking on support from rank-and-file members.

The winner will be announced in late September.


9 a.m.

David Cameron will be appearing before Parliament as prime minister for the last time before handing over to successor Theresa May.

Cameron will step aside on Wednesday after losing the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union. He will take on his final session of prime minister's questions before traveling to Buckingham Palace to formally tender his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.

Cameron told The Daily Telegraph it had been "a privilege to serve the country I love."

May will seek to calm the country, and the financial markets, after upheaval following the unexpected result in the June 23 referendum.

She will reportedly give priority to appointing a Cabinet minister in charge of implementing Brexit, the decision to leave the EU.


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