Theresa May set to become UK PM after rival quits

Home Secretary, Theresa May, is set to become the UK’s next prime minister after Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest to become Conservative Party leader.

The timing of the handover of power from David Cameron is currently being discussed, but could be within days.

Mrs May, 59, who backed staying in the EU, has been home secretary since 2010.

Mrs Leadsom, who campaigned to leave the EU, said the UK needed “strong and stable government” and that May was “ideally placed” to implement Brexit.

In a speech earlier on Monday setting out her leadership campaign platform, May – who rejected the argument that the next leader and prime minister had to have been someone on the winning side of the EU referendum – said: “Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a success of it.”

In her brief statement in Westminster, Leadsom – who was a leading light of the Brexit campaign – said a nine-week leadership campaign at such a “critical time” for the UK would be “highly undesirable”.

A source close to the energy minister told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg “the abuse has been too great” for Leadsom during the contest.

Leadsom had apologised to her rival on Monday after suggesting in a weekend newspaper interview that being a mother made her a better candidate for the job.

May’s appointment will make her the second female prime minister in UK history.

The other was Margaret Thatcher who was at 10 Downing Street from May 4, 1979 to November 28, 1990.