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Britain’s Next Prime Minister Set to be Woman | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Theresa May, U.K. home secretary. AFP

London-Two weeks after the UK referendum which resulted in Brexit, the last figure of the campaign announced his withdrawal from the conservative party leadership race to succeed David Cameron in becoming UK Prime minister.

At the time when the leader of UK Independence Party Nigel Farage decided to resign from his post, and London’s former Mayor Boris Johnson withdrew from the conservative presidential race, lawmakers and conservatives excluded Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove, who only received 46 of the total votes.

The race was limited between Home Secretary Theresa May and Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change Andrea Leadsom, the two candidates who are competing to succeed PM David Cameron in leading the government, in a decision that will be taken by the party’s 150,000 members.

May, who backed Remain during the referendum campaign, won the support of six in 10 of all MPs in the party whereas Leadsom, who supported Leave, was backed by only a quarter.

May remains in pole position with 199 votes – well over half of the 330 Conservative MPs – with Leadsom on 84.

However, the final decision on which of them will become the UK’s second female prime minister, after Margaret Thatcher, will be made by Conservative Party members in a postal ballot due to end on September 9.

May said that Britain needs “strong, proven” leadership to handle Brexit negotiations and unite the country as she spoke of her “delight” to have won so much support from her colleagues.

In a statement outside the House of Commons, May said that the scale of her support showed that the Conservative party can “come together” under her leadership.

She said: “I have said all along that this election needs to be a proper contest. Now, it is time for me – and my team – to put my case to the Conservative Party membership.”