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The irresistible rise of Theresa May

14 July 2016
The irresistible rise of Theresa May

The new Conservative prime minister faces huge challenges on Brexit and the economy. What will help her most is the turmoil in opposition parties... On July 13th Theresa May, the home secretary, became Conservative Party leader and prime minister after her only remaining rival, Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister, pulled out of the race. Mrs Leadsom’s ostensible reason was that she had the backing of only 84 Tory MPs, against Mrs May’s 199. But what counted more was that, under pressure, she had shown her unfitness for the job in several gaffes, embroidering her financial career and hinting that, as a mother, she was better qualified than the childless Mrs May... Her best asset, however, will be the chaos of the opposition. The Tories precipitated the Brexit vote for internal reasons and in doing so split their members and decapitated their leadership. It is extraordinary that they now appear the more united of the two main parties.