May to take over as PM on Wednesday after rival pulls out

11 Jul 16

Theresa May will take over as prime minister on Wednesday after her rival for the Conservative Party leadership Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the contest.

May and Leadsom emerged as the top two candidates in a ballot of Conservative Party MPs last week to replace David Cameron, who resigned following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. A vote was then to be held among Conservative members to name a new party leader, who would become prime minister. The announcement was due to be made on 9 September.

However, Leadsom today announced she would withdraw from the race, meaning May, who is currently home secretary, will automatically win. She will be formally named as prime minister on Wednesday. Cameron said he would hand his resignation to the Queen after his final Prime Minister’s Questions.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, the outgoing prime minister said: “We’re not going to have a prolonged Conservative leadership election campaign. I think Andrea Leadsom has made absolutely the right decision to stand aside and it’s clear Theresa May has the overwhelming support of the Conservative parliamentary party,” he said”

“I’m also delighted that Theresa May will be the next Prime Minister. She is strong, she is competent, she’s more than able to provide the leadership that our country is going to need in the years ahead and she will have my full support.”

Announcing her decision, Leadsom, the energy minister, said “a nine-week leadership campaign at such a critical moment for our country is highly undesirable”.

She added: “Business needs certainty – a strong and unified government must move quickly to set out what an independent United Kingdom’s framework for business looks like. It is also essential that current EU workers in the UK and businesses that employ them know where they stand.

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