11, July 2016
The race to lead the UK’s ruling Conservative Party has just become narrower, with Minister of State for Energy Andrea Leadsom and Home Secretary Theresa May now battling each other to become the country’s second-ever female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher. In the second round of the voting by MPs on Thursday, May won the support of 199 lawmakers, topping Leedsom with 84 votes.
The third contestant, Justice Secretary Michael Gove was knocked out from the race after only managing to gain 46 votes. May and Leadsom will now battle to take a position that Thatcher handed to fellow Tories in 1990. As the home secretary, May is known for her high experience and is viewed as the favorite candidate among the 150,000 Conservative voters who will decide the winner. She won the first round by 165 votes, more than all of her four rivals combined.
Leedsome, however, is no easy target according to her record as a former banker. She is also endorsed by former London mayor Boris Johnson who had to drop out of the race after being “backstabbed” by Gove. Johnson’s support for Leedsom is guaranteed to win her a firm standing among the candidate among his admirers. The race to succeed current UK PM David Cameron into office is expected to be heavily shadowed by the country’s departure from the European Union (EU), something that forced Cameron to resign from the job in the first place.
On June 23, nearly 52 percent of Britons who voted in an EU referendum opted to leave the union. Cameron, who was a firm pro-EU campaigner, stepped down the next day. May, who opposed the move, has called for a candidate that can reunite the nation in the wake of the decision. However, Leedsom says that only a pro-Brexit candidate can be trusted to seize the opportunities made available after the vote. The winner will be declared on September 9.