Andrea Leadsom quits Tory leadership race and vows 'full support' to Theresa May
Conservative leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom has sensationally dropped out of the race to replace David Cameron, apparently clearing the way for Theresa May to become the UK's second female prime minister.
Mrs Leadsom - who had admitted she was "shattered" by the experience of intense media scrutiny since securing the second place on the ballot paper in the leadership contest - said she had decided she did not have sufficient support among MPs "to lead a strong and stable government".
Speaking on the steps of her campaign HQ in Westminster, the Energy Minister wished Mrs May "the very greatest success" and promised her "my full support".
She said the country needed a new PM as soon as possible and Mrs May was ideally placed to deliver Britain's withdrawal from the EU following last month's referendum.
- Read more: 'Leadsom facing 'black-ops' attacks by May supporters'
- Read more: Leadsom self-destructs with 'vile' childlessness comments
The chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee was due to make a swift statement following Mrs Leadsom's departure, amid speculation that he will confirm that, as the only candidate remaining on the ballot paper, Mrs May can become leader without facing a vote of the party's 150,000 members.