Andrea Leadsom withdraws Tory leadership bid
Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom has today (11 July) announced that she is pulling out of the Conservative Party leadership contest, paving the way for Home Secretary Theresa May to become the UK's next Prime Minister.
The Minister of State for Energy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had only last month announced her intentions to become the next leader of the Conservatives, but has since withdrawn from the two-way contest with a source close to the Minister revealing “the abuse had been too great”.
She received intense media scrutiny over the past two weeks and was yesterday forced to apologise to Theresa May over comments which suggested being a mother made her a better candidate for the role.
In a statement to supporters, Leadsom said: “A nine week campaign is clearly not in the interests of jobs, growth and certainty at this momentous time for the UK. Theresa May has the support of more than 60% of our parliamentary colleagues, and will be able to provide the strong and unifying Government that we urgently need.
“I have therefore decided to withdraw from the leadership campaign, and have assured Theresa of my full support. I am confident that she will fulfil her promise to withdraw from the EU in line with the clear instructions of the referendum.”
Leadsom became one of the early frontrunners for the role of Prime Minister and received 84 votes in the second Conservative leadership ballot, the second-highest total behind Theresa May. The Home Secretary is now likely to win the contest unopposed unless a new challenger steps forward.
One of the leading campaigners for Brexit during the European Union (EU) referendum debate, Leadsom insisted she would trigger Article 50 immediately upon becoming Prime Minister, and conduct swift negotiations with the EU.
Leadsom took to the plinth in her capacity as Energy Minister at the Utility Week Energy Summit last week, insisting that the UK "remains committed to dealing with climate change", no matter the outcome of Brexit.
Leadsom’s ministerial department provided a much-needed confidence boost for the green economy at the end of last month by approving the Fifth Carbon Budget, taking heed of ambitious proposals from MPs to limit the annual emissions to 57% below 1990 levels by the year 2032.