Conservative lawmaker Andrea Leadsom told reporters that she was ''delighted'' to have made ''an-female shortlist'' in the Tory leadership race. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Conservative lawmaker Andrea Leadsom returned to her South Northamptonshire constituency in the Midlands region of England on Thursday (July 7) after going through to the final stage of the Tory leadership race. Interior minister Theresa May and eurosceptic rival Leadsom emerged as the two candidates who will battle to become Britain's next prime minister and lead the country out of the European Union. May won 199 votes and Leadsom 84 in a second ballot of lawmakers of the governing Conservative party. Justice Secretary Michael Gove took just 46 votes and was eliminated from the race. Leadsom told reporters that she was "delighted" to have made "an-female shortlist." Around 150,000 grassroots Conservatives across the country will now vote to decide whether May or Leadsom becomes Britain's first woman prime minister since Margaret Thatcher was forced from office in 1990. The result of the contest is expected by Sept. 9, meaning businesses and investors must endure two more months of uncertainty over who will lead the huge task of disentangling Britain's economy from the EU while trying to safeguard trade and investment. Until a couple of weeks ago Leadsom, a junior energy minister, was barely known to most Britons, but as one of the leading voices in the successful Leave campaign she has dramatically emerged as a serious challenger as better-known rivals have been felled by political intrigue. Former Brexit campaigner and London mayor Boris Johnson told reporters that Leadsom would "provide exactly the right kind of positive and optimistic and confident leadership this country needs." Johnson stunned Westminster last month after he abruptly pulled out of the race to become Britain's prime minister that he was once favored to win. Johnson, whose backing for the Leave cause was seen as essential to its victory, saw his leadership bid suddenly crumble after his Brexit campaign ally, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, withdrew support and announced a bid of his own. Prime Minister David Cameron said last month he was stepping down after voters, many of them swayed by concerns over high immigration and a desire to reclaim 'independence' from Brussels, rejected his entreaties to keep Britain in the EU and his warnings that leaving would spell economic disaster. Bookmakers William Hill made May the 1/5 favorite to win, implying an 83 percent chance, while Leadsom was quoted at 7/2, or 22 percent.