Thursday 8 December 2016

May will begin her premiership facing a deep and dangerous split in the Conservative party

James Kirkup

Published 12/07/2016 | 02:30

Theresa May officially launches her campaign to become prime minister at Austin Court in Birmingham yesterday morning. May is to be the UK’s second female prime minister, after her only remaining rival, Andrea Leadsom, dropped out of the race. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire
Theresa May officially launches her campaign to become prime minister at Austin Court in Birmingham yesterday morning. May is to be the UK’s second female prime minister, after her only remaining rival, Andrea Leadsom, dropped out of the race. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

There is no bad way to become prime minister, but this not how Theresa May wanted to win. Andrea Leadsom's remarkable self-immolation will add just one more major problem to the huge and heavy in-tray that awaits her in Downing Street.

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That problem is how to deal with the significant number of Conservative MPs and Conservative members who actually wanted Ms Leadsom to become PM, or who at least wanted a proper contest to decide who got to be leader.

The real risk for Ms May is that some of Ms Leadsom's backers believe that they have been cheated, their candidate unfairly shunted out of the race by political opponents and a hostile media.

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