Theresa May speaks of ‘pride and disappointment’ as prime minister

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Media captionMay on pride and disappointment

Theresa May has told the BBC she will feel a “mixture of pride and disappointment” when she leaves Downing Street in 12 days’ time.

In her final TV interview with political editor Laura Kuenssberg, the PM spoke of “frustration” at not seeing Brexit through and underestimating how “entrenched” MPs had become.

She said she had achieved an “enormous amount” in three years in the job.

But she was sorry having to leave when “there was more that I wanted to do”.

Mrs May and her husband Philip will depart Downing Street on 24 July, succeeded as prime minister by either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt.

She was forced to announce her exit in May, amid a revolt by Conservative MPs angry about her failure to take the UK out of the EU on 29 March and her decision to open Brexit talks with Labour.

Interviewed in 10 Downing Street, Mrs May said she “didn’t recognise” herself in criticisms that have been made of her personality and leadership.

But, despite having to go earlier than she wanted, she insisted she had been the “right person” for the job and was “immensely proud” of what she had accomplished.

Asked if she could have done more to persuade MPs to back her Brexit deal with the EU – which they rejected three times – she replied: “One could always look back and say, ‘If I’d sat down and talked to people more often’.”

Mrs May said she had wrongly assumed MPs would be “eager to get Brexit over the line”.

“I actually think there’s quite a difference between Parliament and the public,” she said. “I think the public have got a very simple view. A decision was taken – just get on with it – and they are not in that same polarised way that Parliament has been about this issue.”

Image caption Theresa May said she had relied on her husband’s support in difficult times

It had been, she said, “incredibly frustrating” that MPs on either side of the Leave-Remain divide had “got so sort of entrenched that they just were not willing to make that compromise that would enable us to get the majority to get this through”.

Mrs May would not be drawn on whether she was planning to back Mr Hunt or Mr Johnson as her replacement, saying only that “they understand the responsibility that this job brings”.

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