Published: Wed, July 13, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

May, Leadsom in contest to be Britain's second-ever woman PM

May, Leadsom in contest to be Britain's second-ever woman PM

Home Secretary Mrs May collected 199 votes from Tory MPs, junior energy minister Mrs Leadsom picked up 84 and Justice Secretary Mr Gove ended on 46. The victor will become the country's second female prime minister. Conservative Margaret Thatcher led the country between 1979 and 1990.

Gove said that he was "naturally disappointed" by the result.

He added: "Today we have two strong women candidates going to the country, we will have a woman prime minister. And I know whichever one of the two wins, they will lead this country well".

Nigel Farage, who has announced he is standing down as leader of the anti-EU Ukip party, said on Twitter he was backing her.

Cameron announced his resignation on June 24 after Britain's referendum decision to leave the European Union. He will officially step down in October. Gove, who entered the contest last Thursday, had effectively stopped his fellow Vote Leave campaigner Boris Johnson from entering the race.

Mrs May will face Andrea Leadsom in a head-to-head ballot of about 150,000 Conservative members, with the result due on 9 September.

David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister, campaigned to stay in the EU.

One of the MPs who is backing Mrs May, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, told Sky News: "I think at a time like this you need somebody with the experience and the track record to help stabilise the economy, to deal with threats from overseas and to reassure our allies". She has never held a Cabinet position before, but is staunchly in favor of Brexit-something that could draw party support.

But Ms Davidson called for Mrs May to guarantee that European Union migrants in the United Kingdom should be allowed to remain after Brexit.

Fifty-five per cent of those surveyed by Sky Data said the new Prime Minister should not necessarily be someone who campaigned to leave the bloc. She defended that stance, saying that she had been on a "journey" since and had changed her mind. She campaigned for the "remain" vote in the referendum.

"Brexit means Brexit", May said.

She has faced allegations from rivals that she exaggerated her experience in the financial sector. Leadsom has rejected the criticisms.

Leadsom, 53, argues that the prime minister should be someone who truly believes in a British exit, or Brexit.

Following the announcements, May said she was "delighted" to receive support from members of the Tory party.

Mrs Leadsom waves to supporters before delivering a leadership rally speech in central London on 7 July.

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