Home Secretary set to become Prime Minister as challenger leaves campaign
Andrea Leadsom has withdrawn her bid for Tory leader and Prime Minister, clearing the road to Number 10 for Home Secretary Theresa May.
Leadsom’s shock announcement follows a row over the weekend about her saying that as a mother she had ‘more of a stake’ the country’s future than her rival.
Leadsom accused the Times of misrepresenting her – but the transcript of the interview bears out the story.
Calls were raised for a quick transition from David Cameron to Theresa May by Justice Minister Michael Gove, former Tory leader and Leadsom backer Iain Duncan Smith and Leadsom supporter Boris Johnson.
Leadsom used her statement to declare her ‘full support’ for Theresa May as new Prime Minister.
However, she repeated her difference with May about whether EU citizens living in the UK should have their right to stay guaranteed, or up for negotiation, after Brexit.
Here is Leadsom’s statement in full:
Andrea Leadsom quits Conservative leadership race, saying “Theresa May is ideally placed to implement Brexit” //t.co/7fn49SVxlU
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 11, 2016
‘The best interests of our country inspired me to stand for the leadership, I believe that in leaving the EU a bright future awaits where all our people can share in a new prosperity, freedom and democracy.
The referendum result demonstrated a clear desire for change, strong leadership is needed urgently to begin the work of withdrawing from the EU
A nine week leadership campaign art such a critical moment for our country is highly undesirable – business needs certainty. A strong and unified government must move quickly to set out what an independent UK’s framework for business looks like.
It is also essential that current EU workers in the UK and businesses that employ them know where they stand.
The Conservative party was elected only last year with a strong manifesto, we now need a new prime minister in place as soon as possible, committed to fulfilling that manifesto as well as implementing the clear instruction from the referendum.
Theresa May carries over 60 per cent of support from the parliamentary party, she is ideally placed to implement Brexit on the best possible terms for the British people and she has promised she will do so.
For me personally to have won the support of 84 of my colleagues last Thursday was a great expression of confidence for which I am incredibly grateful.
Nevertheless this is less than 25 per cent of the parliamentary party and after careful consideration I do not believe this is sufficient support to win a strong and stable government should I win the leadership election
I have however concluded that the interests of our country are best served by the immediate appointment of a strong and well-supported Prime Minister – I am therefore withdrawing from the leadership election and I wish Theresa May the very greatest of success. I assure her of my full support.’
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