So that leaves Theresa May vs.... Theresa May
Andrea Leadsom has pulled out of the race to become leader of the Tory party, putting Theresa May on track to be Prime Minister when David Cameron steps down in September.
Leadsom has had an extraordinary two months, seeing her rise to political fame at a meteoric rate during the EU Referendum campaign, when she made herself a prominent voice for the Leave campaign by appearing on two high profile TV debates. The Minister of State for Energy had been a relatively unknown figure in politics up until that point.
Leadsom officially launched her leadership bid on 4th July, pitting herself in the race against Theresa May, Michael Gove, Stephen Crabb and Dr Liam Fox. By the end of the week the race had dropped from six to two, with Leadsom and Theresa May the two remaining contenders, making a female Prime Minister an inevitability for the first time in over thirty years.
Theresa May is going to be our next Prime Minister: here’s what you need to know about her
But Leadsom’s campaign attracted a huge amount of criticism when an interview in The Times was published in which Leadsom suggested she was better qualified for the role of Prime Minister because she has children and May does not.
‘I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children Theresa hasn’t’ because I think that would be really horrible, but genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.’ Leadsom told The Times. ‘She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people. But I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next.’
Leadsom later apologised for her comments, claiming they had been taken out of context, but today announced she would be ending her bid to be Prime Minister, telling reporters that Britain needed a ‘strong and stable government’ and that Mrs May was ‘ideally placed’ to negotiate the Brexit agreement.