May set to be PM after Leadsom quits race

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Theresa May’s path to Number 10 has been cleared after Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest to be the next leader of the Conservatives.

The Home Secretary is the only candidate left to replace David Cameron, who announced he would step down in October following the vote to leave the EU.

It is unclear whether the timetable to put in place his successor will now be sped up.

Leadsom, who was a leading figure in the Leave campaign, secured the backing of 84 MPs.

But in a statement earlier today she said: “Nevertheless, this is less than 25 per cent of the parliamentary party and after careful consideration I do no believe this is sufficient support to lead a strong and stable government should I win the leadership election.”

Leadsom added a nine-week campaign at such a “critical time” for the UK would be “highly undesirable”.