Home Secretary, Theresa May, will become UK Prime Minister on Wednesday, current Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed, following Andrea Leadsom’s withdrawal from the Tory leadership race, leaving May as the only candidate.
David Cameron announced he would step down after the UK voted to leave the European Union last month. He will now hand his resignation to the Queen on Wednesday after his final Prime Minister’s Questions.
The Graham Brady, Chair of the Conservative Party 1922 Committee, has said the contest will not be re-opened, leaving May as the only candidate from the original five.
Andrea Leadsom’s unexpected withdrawal from the contest means that the 150,000 Conservative Party members will now no longer vote in the ballot round of the leadership contest, which would have meant David Cameron remaining in office until the results were declared around the 9th September.
Leadsom had been a fairly unknown member of the Conservative Party until becoming a prominent voice in the Leave campaign. However, her comments in the Times over the weekend where she appeared to imply that being a mother gave her a greater interest in the future of the country than May, who has no children, drew harsh criticism with some saying it showed a lack of judgement. Leadsom later apologised for the comments publicly and to Theresa May privately.
Theresa May will now be Prime Minister until May 2020, unless an early general election is called which, under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, would require approval by 434 MPs. This would mean the Labour Party, who are currently facing turmoil as Angela Eagle launches a leadership challenge against Jeremy Corbyn, as well as Conservatives voting in favour of an early general election. Alternatively, there would have to be a vote of no confidence in the Theresa May as Prime Minister.
Theresa May has already said she is not in favour of an early general election as it would only create further uncertainty at a time when the country needs solid leadership.
This means the UK will now leave the EU under the leadership of May who was a supporter of the remain campaign. Some have argued this could be beneficial for the UK, with negotiations led by a remain campaigner possibly received more positively by EU leaders.
The pound and the FTSE 100 both picked up following the news with traders confidence increasing now there is more certainty around the future of the UK leadership. However, the pound is still trading well below the $1.50 mark it was at before the exit vote.