Theresa May will become Prime Minister by tomorrow evening after being confirmed as the new leader of the Conservative Party yesterday.
May, who will become the country's second ever female Prime Minister, was named as David Cameron's successor after leadership rival Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the contest yesterday morning.
May declared herself “honoured and humbled” last night and reiterated her commitment to honouring last month's vote to leave the EU.
“Brexit means Brexit, and we are going to make a success of it,” she said.
Her victory speech outside the Palace of Westminster capped a momentous day which began with a major policy speech in Birmingham, at the start of what was expected to be a 9 week campaign.
However, just hours later energy minister Leadsom withdrew from the race.
In the shock announcement, Leadsom said she would withdraw after concluding that May would be better placed to lead a government as a “strong and well supported” Prime Minister. She had been subject to intense scrutiny since a weekend interview in which she implied that being a mother made her better qualified for the top job than May.
Cameron paid tribute to both women as he confirmed he would be stepping down weeks earlier than previously thought.
Speaking outside No 10 Cameron said: "I think Andrea Leadsom has made absolutely the right decision to stand aside, and its clear Theresa May has the overwhelming support of the Conservative Parliamentary Party,” adding "I'm also delighted that Theresa May will be the next prime minister. She is strong, she is competent, she is more than able to provide the leadership that our country is going to need in the years ahead, and she will have my full support.”
Chancellor George Osborne tweeted yesterday: “Welcome news: we have one candidate with overwhelming support to be next PM. Theresa May has strength, integrity and determination to do the job. The economy and businesses in UK and around the world need certainty so it is in everyone’s interest Theresa takes over as PM in coming days.”
May ran for the leadership on a platform aimed at showcasing her experience after six years as home secretary, as well as her commitment to social justice and economic reform.
Yesterday morning she pledged to build a country committed to all of its people, and warned she would bring big businesses into line by demanding worker representation on boards and making shareholder votes on executive pay binding. She also criticised the record of her own government, blasting rising energy and VAT bills.
Leadsom and May were confirmed as the final contenders after a poll of MPs last week eliminated justice secretary Michael Gove. The ballot also revealed that almost two-thirds of Conservative MPs supported May.