We found out on Thursday afternoon that the next prime minister of the United Kingdom will be a woman for
just the second time in the country’s history.
Theresa May stormed to a commanding victory in the last round of internal voting in the Conservative Party leadership contest, receiving 199 votes from Tory MPs, while outsider Andrea Leadsom came second with 84.
The pair will spend the next few months trying to persuade the party membership that they should replace the outgoing David Cameron, until September 9 when members will elect the winner by postal voting.
Scroll down to find out who May and Leadsom are, and what they stand for.
- Current Home Secretary and former minister for women and equalities
- Campaigned for the UK to REMAIN in the EU but has promised to carry out the will of the public to leave. She said, however, that she wouldn’t trigger Article 50 this year.
- May describes herself as a “One Nation Conservative” and is widely regarded as one of the party’s more liberal senior members.
- May voted in favour of same-sex marriage in 2013.
- She has supported the UK taking military action overseas. She voted for interventions in Iraq in 2003 and in Syria in 2015.
- In 2010, May pledged to bring net immigration down to less than 100,000. In 2015, net migration was 330,000.
- She has successfully enforced tough immigration policies, though. In 2012, she brought in a law that made it harder for spouses and children of British citizens to live in the UK.
- She has consistently voted for reductions in welfare spending and supported measures like the ‘Bedroom Tax’ — a contentious policy that means that households will receive less benefits if they are deemed to have a spare room.
- Andrea Leadsom is the current energy minister and has only been an MP for five years.
- She is further to the right of the party than May and holds more hardline views on a number of issues.
- For example, she abstained from voting in the same-sex marriage vote in 2013 and this week said she “didn’t like” the legislation.
- In a speech to her fellow MPs this week, she also called for the return of fox hunting as a legal activity.
- She was a vocal campaigner for a Brexit and played an impressive part in TV debates in the run-up to the June 23 referendum.
- In 2012, she told parliament that businesses with workforces of 3 employees or fewer should NOT have to comply with regulations like the minimum wage, maternity leave, and unfair dismissal rights.
- She has consistently in voted in favour of military action overseas.
- Like May, Leadsom has usually voted in favour of reducing welfare spending and voted for the Bedroom Tax.
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