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Theresa May vs Andrea Leadsom: The two women who hold England’s post-brexit future

The results of the vote is sure to make history in terms of setting stage for Britain's second female Prime Minister.

Written by Adrija Roychowdhury | New Delhi |
July 10, 2016 12:21:19 pm
Brexit, Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom, David Cameron, Britain's Prime Minister, Britain Prime Minister contestants, Britain new Prime Minister, world news Theresa May (AP Photo) and Andrea Leadsom (Reuters)

After Britain’s shocking decision to exit from the EU, the country is all set to vote for its second woman Prime Minister since ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher stepped down in 1990. The governing Conservative Party, on Thursday, narrowed down the contest to replace PM David Cameron, to Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom. The winner, to be announced in September, would go on to lead the country’s exit from the EU.

Theresa May
When Conservative party members voted from among five contenders for the Prime Ministerial post on Thursday, Theresa May emerged winner, securing 199 votes. At 59, May is the current Home Secretary of the country.

At the time when Britain was deciding between the choice to remain in or leave the EU, May was quietly supporting the ‘remain’ campaign. However, after the startling result of the majority exit vote, she decided to respect the outcome and announced her efforts to negotiate the best possible deal for the country as it withdraws from the EU.

Also Read: UK to get second female PM: Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom in Conservative runoff

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Like the current Prime Minister, David Cameron, May is also a product of the Oxford University. In 1997, she won a seat in the Parliament for the first time. Since then, she managed her way up the ranks in the Conservative party with much speed. When the Conservatives returned to power in 2010, she was elected the Home Secretary of the country.

Reputed for her steely tenacity and hard work, her colleagues often draw parallels between her and Margaret Thatcher and the current chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Her swift ascend through party politics happened at a time when British politics was solidly male-dominated.

As the UK grapples with the decision to exit from the EU, May has resolutely reassured hard-liners that there would be no attempt on her part to help Britain remain within the EU.

Andrea Leadsom

Leadsom (53) is the second favourite of the Conservative party and managed to secure 84 votes in the ballot held on Thursday. Having entered the Parliament in 2010, her experience in the British political scenario is much shorter than that of May. She currently holds the office of Energy Minister in the parliament.

Unlike May, Leadsom was strongly opposed to Britain’s membership in the EU. Her forceful campaign for Brexit has won her the support of the grassroots members of the Conservative party who are older and more Euroskeptic than the average British citizen.

Before joining politics, Leadsom had 25 years of working experience in the financial services. In her speech on Thursday, she announced that the progress of the UK economy would be her prime focus. She added that trade would be top priority and that she would ensure continued free trade with the EU, without explaining how that would be possible once Britain leaves EU.

Also read: Would be British Prime Minister sparks row with remarks on rival’s childlessness

While Leadsom has laid out the claim that UK’s Prime Minister should be one who truly believes in Brexit, May believes that she would be the best person to unite the country that is currently divided over the referendum result.

In September, when the next round of voting will be held, the final decision would be taken by registered party members, many of whom were vehement supporters of the ‘leave EU’ campaign. No matter who the 150000 members choose as winner, the results of September 9 is sure to make history in terms of setting stage for Britain’s second female Prime Minister.

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