The path has cleared for Theresa May to take the realms of the Conservative Party leadership as fellow contender Andrea Leadsom pulls out of the race.
David Cameron’s departure is currently the focus of debate, but insiders seem to indicate that this may be sooner rather than later.
Theresa May opposed Britain leaving the EU during the Brexit referendum and has served as the British home secretary since 2010.
Mrs. Leadsom, a pro-Brexiteer expressed the need for the UK to have a “strong and stable government” and Theresa May seemed to be “ideally placed” to negotiate UK’s exit from the European Union.
In a recent speech, Mrs. May outright rejected the suggestion that the next leader and Prime Minister must be from the winning side of the recent referendum stating “Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a success of it.”
Mrs. Leadsom said in a brief statement that it would be undesirable and detrimental to trigger a highly competitive leadership campaign during such a critical time.
According to an insider, Mrs. Leadsom felt she said a few too many unreasonable things about Mrs. May when she suggested that a mother might make a better leader. Notably, Mrs. May doesn’t have any children. Mrs. Leadsom subsequently apologized for the unsavory remarks.
Mrs. Leadsom was almost mobbed by supporters when she made her speech confirming her withdrawal from the leadership race. She said she was deeply honored that 84 of her colleagues backed her for the top job but this was still less than the 25% required to be considered for the position.
The leadership contest is typically overseen by the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs. The committee is chaired by Graham Brady, who confirmed that Mrs. May will be formally confirmed as the new leader once the Conservative Party board has been consulted.
Initially the contest was scheduled to finish on 9 September, but things have progressed much quicker.
The last time the leadership baton was passed from one party leader to the next uncontested was when Gordon Brown look over from Tony Blair. That process took 38 days.
Chris Grayling, Mrs. May’s campaign chief noted how “principled and decent politician” Mrs. Leadsom really is by withdrawing from the race at such a delicate time. Speaking outside the British Houses of Parliament, Mr. Grayling confirmed that Mrs. May was on her way back from Birmingham after wrapping up her campaign speech. He noted how honored she was by being entrusted in leading the country in dealing with the mammoth task ahead.
Former London mayor Boris Johnson was also gleaming at the news. He feels that Mrs. May will be an excellent leader and a very capable prime minster.