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Theresa May will become Prime Minister of the UK on Wednesday evening

David Cameron will tender his resignation on Wednesday after parliament.

Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated 5.36pm

IT NOW LOOKS certain that Theresa May will become the new Prime Minister of the UK on Wednesday evening. 

Earlier today, Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the Conservative party leadership race, leaving the Home Secretary as the only candidate in the contest. 

This afternoon, David Cameron announced that he will travel to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to tender his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.

He confirmed that there will be a new Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street by Wednesday night.

He noted his delight that there was no longer a need for a “prolonged period of transition” and said Leadsom “absolutely [made] the right decision” in dropping out.

Describing May as “strong, competent and more than able”, he said she was the best choice to lead the UK.

Making a success of Brexit

Making her own statement as Prime Minister-elect outside Westminster this evening, May said she was “honoured and humbled” to lead the Conservative party.

She also added that she will make a success of Brexit with a “vision of a country that works not just for the privileged few” by giving people “more control over their lives”.

She also praised Cameron and Leadsom for their dignity.

One woman race

Leadsom announced her decision this afternoon, pledging support for Home Secretary May.

Andrea Leadsom arrives at BBC Studios - London Source: EMPICS Entertainment

Standing down from the campaign, Leadsom said she had concluded that it was in the best interests of the country to have a strong and stable leadership in place sooner rather than later.

She said a nine-week Conservative party leadership contest at a critical time is “highly undesirable”.

Speaking about May’s 60% support within the parliamentary party, Leadsom said that she was “ideally placed to implement Brexit on the best possible terms… [and] she has promised she will do so”.

Controversy

The candidate had a bruising weekend, culminating in her apology for remarks linking motherhood to the Prime Minister role. She was widely criticised for indicating to The London Times that she was more qualified to lead the country because she has children. May, her rival, has previously spoken about how she cannot have children.

The politician, who was a lead voice in the Brexit campaign, said she has felt under “intense, shattering pressure”. However, in her statement this afternoon, Leadsom did not mention the weekend’s controversy, her political inexperience or the stress of the campaign. She, instead, framed her decision as one made because of support levels and what she felt was best for the UK.

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Leadership contest

The Conservative party all but confirmed May as its next leader immediately after Leadsom’s address, with chairman of the Conservative Backbench 1922 committee saying there was no possibility whatsoever that the contest would be re-opened.

Graham Brady told reporters that there was “no need” to re-run the election.

Certain formalities need to play out in the next day or so, with that committee first having to consult the party’s board, he explained. Brady noted that the process had to be respected and that certain “constitutional things” also need to be followed.

May is now the Prime Minister-elect, with the formality of Cameron’s resignation due to happen on Wednesday after he takes leaders’ questions in parliament.

‘Incredibly grateful’

Noting the support she received for her last-minute campaign from 84 colleagues, Leadsom said she was “incredibly grateful” during her bowing-out speech.

“Nevertheless, this is less than 25%,” she added, claiming that was not sufficient to support a strong and stable government.

“There is no greater privilege than to lead the Conservative party in government. I would have been deeply honoured to do it.

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 success. I assure her of my full support.”

UK latest: Leadsom apologises for ‘motherhood’ remarks, says she’s “been under enormous pressure”

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