It’s official: Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom will battle it out to become the next prime minister of the United Kingdom.
The pair came first and second in the final round of internal voting for the Conservative leadership contest, while Michael Gove was eliminated.
The results mean that the UK will soon have a female prime minister for just the second time in its history.
May, who is the strong favourite to become the UK’s next prime minister, received support from 199 Conservative MPs out of a possible 329. Leadsom, who began the contest as an outsider but has grown into a serious contender, received 84 votes.
Once again, the current Prime Minister David Cameron did NOT cast a vote.
The results were announced in Westminster on Thursday afternoon by Conservative MP Graham Brady, who chairs the party’s 1922 Committee, which is responsible for overseeing leadership elections.
Here is a breakdown of how votes were cast:
THERESA MAY: 199
ANDREA LEADSOM: 84
MICHAEL GOVE: 46
Now the final ballot paper has been decided, Tory party members of at least three months will elect David Cameron’s replacement by postal vote. The winner will be announced on September 9.
May boasts plenty of governmental experience having served as Home Secretary since 2010. She identifies as a liberal conservative and is well-respected among Conservative MPs.
Speaking at Westminster immediately after the announcement, May said:
“I am delighted to have won so much support from my colleagues. I’ve won support from across the party, left and right, leavers and remainers.
“This vote shows that the Conservative Party can come together and under my leadership, it will. We need proven leadership to negotiate the best deals for leaving the European Union, to unite our party and our country, and to make Britain a place that works not for the privileged few, but for everyone.
“Those are the things that my colleagues have voted for in such numbers today and I am confident that those are things that will win the support of members across the country, and indeed the whole country.”
Leadsom lacks cabinet experience but played an impressive role in campaigning for a Brexit prior to the public voting for it on June 23. She began the contest as an unrealistic contender but saw her popularity surge.
Gove, who finished third and was subsequently eliminated, is a Tory heavyweight but has had to deal with accusations of backstabbing on two separate occasions.
Firstly, for his last-minute decision to withdraw support for Boris Johnson and enter the race himself, and secondly for the text his campaign manager sent to May supporters urging them to vote tactically to keep Leadsom off the ballot.
The Justice Secretary posted a tweet wishing May and Leadsom luck shortly after the announcement.
— Michael Gove MP (@Gove2016) July 7, 2016
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