Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom are to battle it out for the job of Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, as Michael Gove is knocked out of the Tory leadership race.
The second MPs’ ballot saw May receive 199 votes, while Leadsom received 84 votes. Coming in last, Gove received just 46 votes. May is currently the bookie’s favourite to win the overall contest and both Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey having switched support from Gove to May.
The results mean that Britain will have its first female Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher; only the second woman ever to have held the job.
Speaking outside Parliament following the leadership vote, Theresa May has vowed to “make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us.”
She also promised to provide, “strong leadership to negotiate the best deal for Britain as we leave the European Union, to unite our Party and our country.”
She continued, “I have said all along that this election needs to be a proper contest. And now it is time for me – and my team – to put my case to the Conservative Party membership.”
Leadsom said she was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the outcome of the vote. She said, “The great news is we have an all-female shortlist with no positive discrimination or anything, isn’t that fantastic?”
The result of the Conservative leadership race will be announced later this year on 9 September 2016. The current Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation triggered the leadership race after the European referendum vote was announced.
May is currently appointed as the Home Secretary and has been a Conservative MP since 1997. She has held a variety of different roles within the party including Shadow Secretary of State for the Family from 2004 to 2005; and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women and Equalities from 2010 to 2012. Before embarking on her career in politics, May began her working life at the Bank of England.
Leadsom is currently the Minister of State for Energy. She was first elected as a Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire in 2010 and previously held the post of Economic Secretary to the Treasury. During the EU referendum debate, she backed the Leave campaign and has been upfront about her desire to enable Article 50 to get Britain out of the EU.