ESSEX’S Tory MPs praised departing Prime Minister Theresa May for her determination and sense of public duty but said it was time for her to go.

A tearful Mrs May said she would stand down as Conservative leader on June 7, paving the way for a contest to decide a new prime minister.

Brexiteer Sir Bernard Jenkin praised her sense of duty but said he wanted a leader who would ensure the EU referendum result would be honoured.

The Harwich and North Essex MP said: “Theresa May has a terrific ethic of public services and has devoted her life to the Conservative Party and it is sad it has all worked out so badly for her.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

“I am undecided on who I want to back as the next leader of the Conservative Party but I will vote for a Prime Minister who believes in Brexit as we cannot get on with anything until Brexit is finally sorted.”

Witham MP Priti Patel, who was forced to resign as International Development Secretary from Mrs May’s Cabinet, had previously said Mrs May was part of the Conservative’s problems in their poor showing in the local elections.

On Friday she said: “The Prime Minister has a strong sense of public duty and has acted with dignity in making her resignation statement.

“I pay tribute to her for her longstanding record of public service. She has shown great dedication and determination and I wish her well for the future.”

Clacton MP Giles Watling said: “She had to go there are no two ways about it.

“She had reached an impasse which she had tried to resolve, but she clearly hasn’t been able to do that.”

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

He said Mrs May had shown “enormous resilience” adding:“You can agree or disagree with her on her policies but her commitment on a personal level has to be admired.”

He said former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was a frontrunner for the new leader, a feeling supported by Maldon MP John Whittingdale.

He said: “I have felt for some time the Conservative party needed new leadership to try and find a way forward on Brexit.

“I have some sympathy for her. I was at Downing Street when Margaret Thatcher left and when she walked out to give a similar speech. She also was overcome by the situation as the Prime Minister did, and I have some human sympathy for her.”

Colchester MP Will Quince said: “This is not the end she or I had hoped for but her enormous sense of duty is something I will always respect.”

Brexit Minister Braintree MP James Cleverly has been made an outside bet in the leadership race.

He strongly hinted he would make a leadership bid at an unofficial hustings held by the Telegraph.