Friday

30th Sep 2016

Theresa May will be next British PM

  • Theresa May is "enormously honoured" to become the next prime minister (Photo: Reuters)

[UPDATED 11 July 17.20] Theresa May will become the next British prime minister on Wednesday (13 July) after Andrea Leadsom quit the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party on Monday.

"We will have a new prime minister in that building behind me by Wednesday evening," outgoing PM David Cameron said in a short statement in front of his office on 10 Downing Street.

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"I think Andrea Leadsom made absolutely the right decision to stand aside. It is clear Theresa May has the overwhelming support of the Conservative parliamentary party," he said, adding that May would have his "full support".

Leadsom had earlier withdrawn from the Tory leadership race. In a letter to the 1922 Committee, the Tory MPs body that organises the party leadership contest, she said tha "the interests of our country are best served by the immediate appointment of a strong and well-supported prime minister."

“I am therefore withdrawing from the leadership election and I wish Theresa May the very greatest success. I assure her of my full support.”

The leader of the House of Commons and May's campaign manager Chris Grayling said she was "enormously honoured" to be the next prime minister.

May, 59, has been a MP since 1997 and home secretary since 2010. She was also chairman of the Conservative Party between 2002 and 2003.


She supported the Remain camp before the EU referendum but did not take an active part in the campaign. Since the vote she has repeated that "Brexit means Brexit".

She has ruled out holding a second referendum or an early election.

'Authority and the leadership'

She also said she would not trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty, which organises the exit from the bloc, this year.

"We need to establish our own negotiating position," she told the BBC on 3 July.

"What’s important for us though is that we get the right deal, and that’s a deal that is about controlling free movement, but it’s also about ensuring that we’ve got the best deal possible in trade, in goods and services."

After Leadsom's withdrawal, May received support from two of the main Brexit leaders, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.

Johnson said that May would "provide the authority and the leadership necessary to unite the Conservative party and take the country forward" and that he was "encouraged that she’s made it clear that Brexit means Brexit".

Gove said May had his "full support as our next prime minister'' and that the handover should take place "as quickly as possible".

Another Brexit leader, UKIP former leader Nigel Farage, said on Twitter he was "disappointed that [Leadsom] has decided to withdraw".

Markets rebound

Leadsom decided to quit amid strong criticism over remarks she made on motherhood and leadership.

In an interview with the Times on Saturday, she said "being a mum means you have a real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake", adding that she was sure Theresa May would be “really sad she doesn’t have children”.


She later apologised but denied suggesting that she was directly attacking May over motherhood and leadership qualities.

On Monday, Leadsom's campaign manager lashed out against "spin and underhand tactics against decent people" that had undermined public confidence in politics.

The pound and the FTSE 250 stock exchange index made a rebound after news of Leadsom's withdrawal.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Brexit: preparing for a bitter divorce

Conservatives Brexiteers and Labour leadership are increasingly leaning away from the Norwegian-style deal with the EU, towards a UK-specific arrangement.

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