Updated on July 11 | Andrea Leadsom dropped out of the race for prime minister on Monday, clearing the way for her competitor Theresa May. Current British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters he would offer his resignation on Wednesday.
The Conservative Party has whittled its selection of prime minister down to two women, guaranteeing Britain’s first female leader since “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher.
After the party’s round of voting on Thursday, two women rose to the top of the selection process: Home Secretary Theresa May and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom. A third candidate, Justice Secretary Michael Gove received the fewest votes and is now out of contention.
The vote Thursday follows last month’s UK-wide referendum to dump its membership in the European Union, known as “Brexit”. After the surprising result, current Prime Minister David Cameron, who wanted Britain to stay in the EU, said he would step down to allow his replacement to complete the EU separation process.
The government, under the new prime minister, must trigger Article 50 — the formal mechanism for leaving the EU — for the withdrawal to take place. Although May had backed the “remain” campaign, both candidates have promised to lead the “leave” process.
May, who received the most votes, said, “We need strong, proven leadership to negotiate the best deal for Britain as we leave the European Union, to unite our party and our country, and to make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us.”
The next prime minister will take the helm on Sept. 9.