This announcement from outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron comes four days into what would have been a nine-week leadership campaign between Secretary of Home Affairs, Theresa May, and Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom had the latter not pulled out of the contest to become Conservative party Leader.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Mr. Cameron expressed delight that Mrs. May will be Prime Minister of the UK, adding that she was “strong, competent and more than capable of taking on the role of Prime Minister.”
Mrs. Leadsom stated that she would have been “deeply honored” to do the job. Speaking on her decision to step out of the race, she said, "A nine-week leadership campaign at such a critical moment for our country is highly undesirable.”
In her recent interview with The Times, Mrs. Leadsom said that she has children “who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next,” which meant that she has “a very real stake” in the future of Britain.
She received a lot of criticism for her comment, as many interpreted it as a slight against Mrs. May, who does not have children.
Mrs. Leadsom went on to apologize to Mrs. May, she told the Daily Telegraph. She explained, "I was pressed to say how my children had formed my views. I didn't want it to be used as an issue," she said.
According to the BBC, Mrs. Leadsom sent Mrs. May a text message apologizing and Mrs. May accepted her apology. Mrs. May’s aides added that she always believed Mrs. Leadsom had not meant to cause any offense.
Today, Mrs. Leadsom tweeted, “So grateful for all the support - I do believe my decision is in the best interests of the country and our economy & I wish Theresa success!”
Mrs. May will be the first female Prime Minister of the UK since Margaret Thatcher stepped down in 1990. The 59-year old has been Home Secretary since 2010 and has been repeatedly hailed by UK politicians including former London mayor Boris Johnson, who initially backed Mrs. Leadsom, but stated that Mrs. May would be an “excellent leader and Prime Minister.”
On Monday afternoon, Mrs. May delivered an acceptance speech at the House of Commons. She said, “I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by the Conservative Party to become its leader.”
Speaking on Andrea Leadsom’s decision to step down, she said, “I would like to pay tribute to the other candidates during the election campaign and I would like to pay tribute to Andrea Leadsom for the dignity that she has shown today.
“We are going to unite our country and, third, we need a strong, new positive vision for the future of our country, a vision of a country that works not for the privileged few but that works for everyone one of us.”
According to the Telegraph, Mr. Cameron will chair his last Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and will take his final Prime Minister's Questions at noon on Wednesday. He plans to tender his resignation before Wednesday. Mrs. May will begin her first day as Prime Minister this Thursday.