British Home Secretary Theresa May became the last person standing in the Conservative party this morning when her only remaining challenger dropped out. So instead of waiting for the party conference in September to formally step down, PM David Cameron is buggering off this week:
May had been competing with Andrea Leadsom to replace David Cameron as party leader after he announced he would quit after losing last month's Brexit referendum.
However, Leadsom announced Monday she was dropping out, leaving May unopposed and forcing the Conservatives to abandon their plans for a ballot of members.
Cameron said he would offer his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II Wednesday — a necessary formal step when changing leaders — meaning May would become leader the same day.
May will be the country's second female PM and the first since Margaret Thatcher stood down in 1990.
There is, however, a wrinkle:
[H]er premiership will be dominated by one subject, and one alone: Brexit. The new prime minister has said she will not rush to invoke Article 50, beginning formal exit talks, and in her public pronouncements has emphasised the importance of retaining single-market access to a greater degree than some of her more die-hard Eurosceptic colleagues, some of whom question whether she will drive a hard enough bargain with the 26 other EU states.
Given the coming storms—from the renegotiation to the economic fallout from Britain’s decision on June 23rd—Mrs May will surely be tempted to call an early election. She has previously ruled this out. But those around her obsess about avoiding the mistakes of Gordon Brown, another introverted master of detail who inherited the premiership rather than winning it at the polls. Mr Brown contemplated a vote in 2007 when he took over from Tony Blair, chickened out and lived to regret it. So as the home secretary prepares her move to that storied, terraced house in SW1 and contemplates a Labour Party tearing itself apart, the thought must cross her mind: time to go to the country and secure a five-year lease?
Fun times in the UK.