Opposition Labour narrowly denies Brexit Party its first seat in parliament

Nigel Farage with unsuccesful candidate Mike Greene

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May formally stepped down as Conservative Party leader on Friday, a date that had been set after her defeat by the Brexit conundrum.

The letter said the Brexit Party stood on three simple messages: "Restore trust in democracy".

The Peterborough election saw the Tories slump to third place, behind victors Labour and the Brexit Party, in a seat which had traditionally been a Conservative-Labour marginal.

May will remain as acting leader and prime minister for a few weeks while the party picks a successor, who will become the next prime minister.

They are under pressure from eurosceptic figurehead Nigel Farage, who has called for a "no deal" option and whose Brexit party topped European polls last month.

Boris Johnson, former foreign secretary and leading Brexiteer, is the favourite among 11 candidates to replace May in the two-phase leadership election.

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"In effect there are only two real political parties now, Leave and Remain, and we could well be seeing a fundamental structural change in our party system as a result", he said.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage reacts as results are announced at the counting centre for the European Elections for the South East England region.

She held several ministerial posts in various shadow cabinets between 1999 and 2009 and went down in history as the country's longest-serving home secretary after having served in the position from 2010 to 2016.

Sputnik: Will Theresa May's successor as British Prime Minister be able to deliver Brexit?

Conservative lawmakers will hold a ballot June 13, with any candidates who don't get at least 5% of votes dropping out.

Her team has been eager to shape her legacy beyond the Brexit failure, but she bequeaths to her successor a nation where traditional political identities are being eroded by strong beliefs on whether Britain should leave the European Union, and how it should do so.

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With the worst performers eliminated each time, the goal is to have two candidates left by June 20. The other key contenders are foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt and environment secretary Michael Gove. How they plan to deal with Britain's exit from the European Union (EU) will be at the heart of all their bids, with many backing a no-deal exit as others warn against such an extreme step.

The final two candidates will meet in a runoff that will be decided by mail by the country's 160,000 Conservative Party members.

The Conservative leadership contest risks deepening the rift in the party over when, how or even if to leave the European Union - with a few of the almost dozen contenders ruling out serving in a future cabinet - if they are vanquished and lose out to a rival.

Hard-core Brexiteers in the British leadership contest say they would rather take Britain out of the bloc with no deal than countenance a further delay.

The Peterborough election was triggered when Labour's Fiona Onasanya became the first member of Parliament to be ousted in a recall petition, after she was jailed for lying about a speeding offense. The prospect poses a dilemma as numerous party's supporters backed Brexit. "I look forward to welcoming Lisa to parliament next week".

Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace May, said the rise of the Brexit Party could open the door to a Corbyn government.

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