Theresa May says she will make success of Brexit as prime minister – as it happened

Last modified: 08: 56 PM GMT+0

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Andrea Leadsom’s exit from the Tory leadership race and Angela Eagle’s bid to lead Labour

The first of Tuesday’s front pages are coming in – with an extremely happy looking Theresa May dominating the coverage.

That was quick
Tomorrow's Guardian

— Paul johnson (@paul__johnson) July 11, 2016

Tuesday's FT:
May to 'make Brexit a success' as UK's first female PM in 26 years#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) July 11, 2016

Tuesday's Independent digital front page:
Yes, Prime Minister#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) July 11, 2016

Tuesday's Daily Express front page:
Make sure you get us out of the EU#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) July 11, 2016

Tuesday's Daily Mirror:
An early election?
Bring it on… #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) July 11, 2016

The Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, who has backed May from the outset, has offered the new leader her support “and the support of the entire Scottish party” as she takes on the role of prime minister. Davidson said: “The country needs certainty and stability going forward, and that’s exactly what a Theresa May premiership can provide.”

“In Mrs May, we have a prime minister who has the experience, the judgment and the leadership to start that job from day one. The dignified manner of Andrea Leadsom’s withdrawal today allows for that transition to be as smooth and as swift as possible.”


Evening Summary

Theresa May has declared herself “honoured and humbled” to be chosen as the new Conservative leader and promised to make a success of Brexit once she becomes prime minister.

The home secretary, who is due to move into No 10 on Wednesday, said her priorities were to provide leadership through Brexit negotiations, to unite the country, and to create a positive vision of the future that gives people more control over their lives.

She set out her plans in front of Tory MPs hours after Andrea Leadsom’s withdrawal meant May had won the Conservative leadership race. To cheers, May paid tribute to Leadsom’s dignity in pulling out of the contest and praised David Cameron’s leadership of the party since 2005.

Andrea Leadsom has pulled out of the race to become the next Conservative leader, saying it is in the “best interests of the country”, paving the way for Theresa May to become prime minister.

Warning that a nine-week leadership contest would destabilise the country at a critical time following the Brexit vote, Leadsom said: “Business needs certainty; a strong and unified government must move quickly to set out what an independent UK’s framework for business looks like.”

Angela Eagle has formally launched her bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, describing herself as “a strong Labour woman” who could heal divisions in the party and lead it to election victory.

Finally beginning her campaign after weeks of speculation that she would take on Corbyn amid a revolt against him by Labour MPs, Eagle said the party needed to move beyond the factionalism and divisions of the current era.

The FTSE 100 index burst into bull market territory after May emerged as successor to Cameron, providing a further boost to surging stocks on both sides of the Atlantic.

Within minutes of Leadsom’s announcement, the index of Britain’s biggest listed companies rose to the point where it had gained more than 20% since February’s low – the technical definition of a bull market.


The Ukip MEP Jonathan Arnott has announced his candidacy for his party’s leadership, amid furore over new rules for the contest, which will block many of the party’s best-known figures from standing. The party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) has said all candidates to replace Nigel Farage must have been a member for at least five years.

It means that Ukip’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, ex-MP Mark Reckless and prominent former spokeswoman Suzanne Evans, who is temporarily suspended from the party, will not be able to enter the contest.


The most intriguing political comparison between Theresa May and another major figure is arguably not with Thatcher, but with Gordon Brown, writes Gaby Hinsliff, in this meaty piece on what makes Britain’s next prime minister tick.

Brown was the last political figure dominant enough to become prime minister basically by acclamation, she notes, adding:

Two serious-minded children of religious ministers, steeped in moral purpose, both possessed of an iron need to control. May is a famously reluctant delegator, needing to know exactly what her juniors are doing and to chew over every detail of decisions – a micromanagement style she cannot hope to apply to an entire government – and like Brown, she demands unswerving loyalty. (Although unlike him, she generally won’t say behind your back what she wouldn’t say to your face.)

Yet for all her apparent stubbornness, in private, May is surprisingly open to a well-sourced argument. A former junior minister who observed her playing hardball in negotiations says she will usually do a deal in the end: “It’s not just ‘because I say so’ – if you make a good argument to Theresa, she can be willing to change her position.”

She may not be adored, but she commands admiration, a wary respect, and deep gratitude from many Tory women for what the business minister Anna Soubry calls the “proper sisterhood” that she has built inside the party. There is something fitting about the fact that over a decade after May overhauled the candidate selection system to bring more women and minority ethnic MPs up the ladder behind her, her party briefly volunteered an all-female shortlist for the top job.


We’ve been hearing from some new Labour members who signed up in anticipation of a leadership election. Here are some snippets from two of them:

Richard Moore, 45, Buckinghamshire

I joined again to stop what was increasingly feeling like a hijack of the party I’d grown up with.

I want Corbyn to go. I genuinely feel that getting elected saves lives, and lives are worth compromise. I don’t dislike Corbyn, but the business of politics is the winning of elections, and Corbyn is a bad businessman.

Kester Leek, 21, London

I officially joined the Labour party half an hour before Angela Eagle took the stage to formally announce her leadership bid, though have been a proactive Labour supporter since Jeremy Corbyn stood for the same position.

Mr Corbyn is that rarest of things in politics: an honest man – and that matters more than anything. For too long, behind-the-scenes plotting and backroom deals have been taken for granted in politics. To achieve social reform, we need to change that, and Jeremy is the man I believe is willing to do so.


Dexit? Or should that be Caxit? With the removal van expected to roll up at the back entrance of No 10 on Wednesday, the Guardian’s Rowena Mason has been told that David Cameron’s exit plan is still being worked out.

If he follows the pattern of his predecessors, he would leave No 10 alongside his family before heading to see the Queen in order to tender his resignation formally.

The most likely plan would be for him to then return to his constituency home in West Oxfordshire, as the official residence in Chequers will no longer be his to enjoy, and his pre-2010 home in Notting Hill has been rented out since then.

Larry the cat, the official Downing Street moggy, will not be moving out with him because he is the pet of the staff who work there.

Larry, the 10 Downing Street cat, is staying behind.
Larry, the 10 Downing Street cat, is staying behind. Photograph: Steve Back / Barcroft Images


Here’s a rather different business reaction to the Theresa May news. The FTSE 100 index burst into bull market territory after she emerged as successor to David Cameron, providing a further boost to surging stocks on both sides of the Atlantic, reports the Guardian’s Larry Elliott.

Within minutes of Andrea Leadsom announcing that she was leaving the field clear for May to become leader, the index of Britain’s biggest listed companies rose to the point where it had gained more than 20% since February’s low – the technical definition of a bull market.

The FTSE 100 has now risen by 1,145 points since it hit a 2016 nadir of 5,537 on 11 February, when investors were anxious about the low oil price and threat of global recession.

Share prices had already been supported by growing speculation that the Bank of England is ready to cut interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25% on Thursday as a confidence-building measure at the first meeting of its nine-strong monetary policy committee since the Brexit result.


Theresa May’s proposals to crack down on boardroom excess and rebuild trust between corporate Britain and voters have received a mixed reaction from business leaders, the Guardian’s business team reports.

The moves, announced by the incoming prime minister just minutes before her rival, Andrea Leadsom, pulled out of the leadership contest, include allowing employee and consumer representatives to sit on company boards, and making shareholder votes on executive pay legally binding. “It is not anti-business to suggest that big business needs to change,” she said.

However, a leading figure in the retail and consumer industry, who did not want to be named, told the Guardian:

On what basis can a prime minister, who has no popular acclamation either through party members or a general election, pursue policies unconnected to the manifesto on which her party was elected?

How, contractually, will binding votes on pay work? Look at what happened with employee representatives at the Co-op.

Rainclouds pass over Canary Wharf
Rainclouds pass over the Canary Wharf financial district on July 1. Photograph: Reinhard Krause/Reuters


Farewell then (for now), Andrea Leadsom. This piece by the Guardian’s Rob Booth on how her leadership challenge eventually went pear-shaped is well worth a read.

Her withdrawal ended an unlikely tilt at Downing Street that chilled some parliamentary colleagues as it thrilled others.

Leadsom had risen to prominence alongside Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage as a figurehead of the victorious Leave campaign in last month’s EU referendum.

But last week her fellow minister Nick Boles had reflected alarm in parts of the parliamentary party at the speed of her rise when he told Tory MPs he was “seriously frightened about the risk of allowing Andrea Leadsom on to the membership ballot”. Her run delighted supporters such as Lord Tebbit, who voiced approval when the former City banker allowed herself to be cast as the next Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister, whose portrait adorns her office wall.

Read on here.

Andrea Leadsom quits Conservative leadership race


Jeremy Corbyn has been attending a parliamentary reception for the “Miami Five”, a group of Cuban men who were jailed in the US after being charged with espionage.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign tweeted this picture of the Labour leader earlier:

Cuban heroes Gerardo and Rene with @jeremycorbyn at a Parliamentary Reception for the Miami Five

— CubaSolidarity (@CubaSolidarity) July 11, 2016


Diane Abbott followed Eagle on Channel 4 news and immediately went on the attack over Eagle’s support for the Iraq war, as well as other controversial policies associated with the Blair era, including ID cards.

She also said that she was confident that Labour’s National Executive Committee would state that Jeremy Corbyn should be on the ballot in an upcoming leadership election. “It would make no sense [for him not to be]. It would be contrary to all the rules of natural justice, contrary to fairness, and I am sure the NEC will see that,” she said.

The NEC is due to meet at 2pm tomorrow to decide the terms of the contest, including whether the party’s current leader appears on the ballot paper automatically.

The shadow health secretary also insisted that Labour was prepared to fight a snap general election, although she sidestepped the question of whether she would vote to initiate such a poll in parliament. She’ll do whatever the shadow cabinet, as a whole, agrees.

She also insisted that the party is not split: “The people who actually fight an election at the grassroots are the people who go out and knock on doors, and they are not split.”


Angela Eagle has said that it’s “about time” that the Labour party had its first female leader as she suggested that Owen Smith should allow her to have a clear run in her bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn. Eagle was interviewed in the last few minutes on Channel 4 News, where she was asked about Smith’s widely reported interest in challenging for the leadership.

“The Conservatives have their second woman prime minister. The Labour party is the part of equality, who pioneered anti-discrimination legislation. It’s about time that they had their first women leader,” said Eagle, who added that she did not know what Smith was going to do.

She went on the offensive against Corbyn over his suggestion on the morning of the referendum result that article 50 – the formal mechanism for leaving the European Union – should be triggered swiftly. “I was shocked when Jeremy came out and said that we should trigger article 50 straight away,” said Eagle.

Asked whether she would try to reverse the result of the referendum, she replied: “I think we have to accept that the country has voted to leave, but that does not mean we should trigger it before we have done all the work [of negotiating].”

The UK should not be rushing towards the exit, said Eagle, who was also pressed on her support for the Iraq war. “I do regret the vote on the Iraq war, and if I had known then what we do now, I would not have voted for it,” she said.


This clip of a microphone picking up David Cameron humming a little tune to himself after announcing that he would be tendering his resignation this week has gone rather viral.

Some have interpreted it as the outgoing prime minister keeping his spirits up. Of course, another is that it’s the sound of a man who is a little demob-happy.

Stay with it to the end, where the microphone picks him up as saying, “Right.” Presumably it was just before he got down to the serious business of packing.

David Cameron sings tune after statement on Theresa May


As Angela Eagle mounts her bid to become leader of the Labour Party, reaction in her constituency ranges from total apathy to abject fury.

The Guardian’s Frances Perraudin has been visiting Wallasey, where Eagle doubled her majority in the last election, but where she is now facing a vote of no-confidence from local members.

“I don’t think she’s very highly thought of around here,” says Anthony Zausmer (pictured below), owner of the Coasters cafe in the seaside town of New Brighton. “I think people vote for her simply because they vote Labour and that’s it. If they put up a stuffed monkey, they’d vote for them.” He isn’t a fan of Jeremy Corbyn, but says he doesn’t think Eagle would make an effective leader of the Labour party.

Asked what the reaction was locally to the news that Eagle would stand against the Labour leader, Zausmer says: “I think there’s apathy, to be honest. I don’t think many people will care one way or the other, but I would imagine that my feeling about her not being an effective leader will be shared. She’s showed no leadership skills as a local MP.”

Read on here.

Cafe owner Anthony Zausmer in Wallasey, the constituency of Labour MP Angela Eagle.
Cafe owner Anthony Zausmer in Wallasey, the constituency of Labour MP Angela Eagle. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian


She’s been described as Britain’s answer to Angela Merkel (the jury’s out on that one for now) and “a bloody difficult woman” (© Ken Clarke).

The Guardian has put together this video profile of Theresa May as she prepares to become to become the 76th British prime minister.

The rise of Theresa May


Away from the action around Theresa May, there has been a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) this evening.

The party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has been addressing MPs. The Guardian’s Peter Walker and the New Statesman’s George Eaton pass on these snippets:

Tom Watson told Labour MPs he had long been known as a fixer: "I have tried to fix this but I failed," he said of Corbyn leadership.

— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) July 11, 2016

Watson also told PLP: "I've got my own mandate but if I lost your confidence I would resign, and Jeremy should have done."

— George Eaton (@georgeeaton) July 11, 2016


Nicola Sturgeon has said that she expects “early engagement” with the new prime minister over the Scottish government’s attempt to to maintain Scotland’s EU status.

Congratulating Theresa May, Sturgeon said: “As part of her pitch to her Conservative colleagues earlier today, Ms May made clear that she would be pressing ahead with plans to leave the EU – as such, it is vital that Scotland is involved and consulted at every step of the way.”

“But that involvement does not mean we accept that Scotland should leave the EU. On the contrary, I have made clear that I intend to pursue every possible avenue to secure Scotland’s continued place in Europe and in the world’s biggest single market, and that all options must be on the table in order to achieve that.

That is something I reiterate today to the incoming Prime Minister.”

For all the talk of how May’s thoughts earlier today sound not unlike an Ed Miliband stump speech from 2015, there’s still no shortage of commentators insisting that she’s certainly not to the left of David Cameron.

Victoria Honeyman, a lecturer in British Politics at the University of Leeds, writes in this profile: “For May, there will be no “third way” or “Liberal Conservatism”. She is seen as being to the right of Cameron, who represents the more centre-right element of the party.

The likely names in Theresa May’s first cabinet range from existing big hitters to fresh faces. The Guardian’s Rowena Mason has drawn up a list of those who might be expected to take up key roles.

One Tory MP familiar with May’s thinking told Rowena that trust matters to her hugely to Britain’s next PM, so those who have worked with her in the past are likely to be rewarded.

The ‘newbies’ who might be in line make for particularly interesting reading I think:

Karen Bradley, James Brokenshire, Mark Harper and Damian GreenAll worked for May in the Home Office and could be in line for cabinet promotions or senior minister of state jobs, if some room is cleared at the top.

Margot James – Was an early supporter of May and is widely regarded as a talented figure in the party who was overlooked by Cameron. She would be suited to a role as development secretary or a ministerial job in the Foreign Office.

Harriett Baldwin – Has impressed as City minister and could be in line for a promotion in that department. Alok Sharma is another tipped for the Treasury.

Alan Duncan – Was also one of May’s first cheerleaders and could make a return to the ministerial ranks or a party job such as chairman. Michael Ellis, Gavin Williamson, Sam Gyimah, Richard Harrington and Gavin Williamson have been key in her campaign and are all likely to get key promotions.

Margot James, Conservative MP for Stourbridge, Birmingham at her home in London.
Margot James, Conservative MP for Stourbridge, Birmingham at her home in London. Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Observer

Chris Grayling, tipped for a senior post in the incoming May cabinet, has rejected calls for a snap election.

The cabinet minister told the Press Association: “It’s 15 months since the Conservative Party got a mandate with her as one of its key leading members - I think the last thing this country needs right now is a general election.”

More than a few others reading the political runes earlier also believe that Britain’s won’t be going to the polls any time soon:

Theresa May to 1922 cttee: “We are going to have more colleagues joining us on the green benches in 2020”. Strong hint no snap election.

— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) July 11, 2016

She probably won’t lose too much sleep over it, but here’s a record which Theresa May misses out on as a result of securing the keys to Downing Street:

Theresa May misses out on becoming longest-serving Home Secretary ever, by just 3 weeks and 1 day

— Julian Druker (@Julian5News) July 11, 2016

So what does the UK’s next prime minister really believe? The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot has been looking at where Theresa May stands on a range of issues.

May’s views on general elections in particular are going to come under particular scrutiny.

In 2007, after Gordon Brown took over in Downing Street from Tony Blair, May was on the Conservative frontbench pushing for a general election. “The prime minister is running scared of a general election,” she said.

But when May officially launched her Conservative leadership bid, she ruled out an early general election. “There should be no general election until 2020,” she said.

Here is the Independent’s John Rentoul’s speculation about what Theresa May’s cabinet will look like.

Updated post on Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle, due later this week

— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) July 11, 2016

That’s all from me. My colleague Ben Quinn is now taking over.


In her speech this morning Theresa May said three times that Britain should not be a country that works just for the privileged few. She said it again in her statement just now. (See 5.45pm.)

Tom Baldwin, Ed Miliband’s former communications director, says she’s nicked the phrase from his old boss.

@AndrewSparrow "A country that works for everyone/working people not just a privileged few." I must have written it 1k times 2012-15

— Tom Baldwin (@TomBaldwin66) July 11, 2016

Theresa May's statement in full

Here is Theresa May’s statement in full.

I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen by the Conservative party to become its leader.

I would like to pay tribute to the other candidates during the election campaign and I would like to pay tribute to Andrea Leadsom for the dignity that she has shown today.

I would also like to pay tribute to David Cameron for the leadership that he has shown our party and our country.

During this campaign my case has been based on three things. First, the need for strong, proven leadership to steer us through what will be difficult and uncertain economic and political times, the need, of course, to negotiate the best deal for Britain in leaving the EU, and to forge a new role for ourselves in the world. Brexit means Brexit, and we are going to make a success of it.

Second, we are going to unite our country and, third, we need a strong, new positive vision for the future of our country, a vision of a country that works not for the privileged few but that works for everyone one of us. Because we are going to give people more control over their lives. And that’s how, together, we will build a better Britain.

Her case is based on three things, she says: the need for strong leadership, and to make a success of Brexit; the need for unity; and the need for a vision for the future, and for a Britain that works for everyone.

And that’s it. It was a cursory statement that basically just restated her “three priorities” summary. (See 11.08am.)

Theresa May's statement

Theresa May is outside St Stephen’s entrance at the Commons.

She says she is honoured and humbled to be chosen by the Tories as their leader.

She pays tribute to the other candidates, and to Andrea Leadsom for the dignity she has shown.

And she pays tribute to David Cameron for his leadership.

Commons staff get a good view of Theresa May's upcoming address to the nation #ToryLeadership

— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) July 11, 2016

And here is another picture from the meeting posted on Twitter by a Tory MP.

@Conservatives MPs give standing ovation united behind our new Leader and from Wed new PM @TheresaMay2016

— David Burrowes (@davidburrowesmp) July 11, 2016

Here is a picture from inside the meeting with Tory MPs. It is from the Tory MP Sarah Wollaston.

Terrific welcome from MPs for our next PM Theresa May. She has unified the Party & determined to unify the country

— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) July 11, 2016


1922 presented the PM on waiting with bunch of flowers and she told MPs she was "deeply humbled". Public statement shortly.

— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) July 11, 2016

This is from Channel 4 News’s Michael Crick.

At the age of 59 (she'll be 60 in October), Theresa May will be the oldest incoming Prime Minister since Jim Callaghan in 1976 (he was 64)

— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) July 11, 2016

Stewart Jackson, a Conservative MP who backed Andrea Leadsom, tells Sky News that Theresa May’s speech was upbeat and positive.

Sir Alan Duncan, May's campaign manager taking phone pix ahead of arrival of new Tory leader + PM-in-waiting.

— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) July 11, 2016

This is from the Labour peer Jack McConnell.

Out the window. Think the new PM might be about to speak......

— Jack McConnell (@LordMcConnell) July 11, 2016

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, tells BBC that Theresa May told MPs that Brexit would mean Brexit and that her priority would be bringing the country together.

This is from Reuters.

The floor is vibrating as Tory MPs clap and cheer Theresa May, who is addressing them behind closed doors in parliament #ToryLeadership

— Reuters UK Politics (@ReutersLobby) July 11, 2016

Vigorous and prolonged desk banging for Theresa May as she enters the room to address Tory MPs

— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) July 11, 2016

Theresa May's statement outside parliament

Theresa May is due to make a statement outside the Commons soon.

According to Sky, she is currently addressing Tory MPs in the Boothroyd room in Portcullis House.

MPs waiting for Theresa May to speak outside parliament.
MPs waiting for Theresa May to speak outside parliament. Photograph: Sky News

In the Commons the Labour MP Helen Goodman tabled an urgent questions about the government using article 50 of the Lisbon treaty to trigger the EU withdrawal process.

Goodman said that parliament should be consulted first. She told MPs:

If the royal prerogative is used to trigger Article 50, wouldn’t this be a clear breach of the promises made to the public during the referendum campaign by the Brexiters - that they would take back control and restore parliamentary sovereignty?

How could it be right to initiate negotiations with important and far-reaching significance for citizenship rights, immigration rules, employment and social rights, agriculture, trading relations with the EU and third countries, Scotland and Northern Ireland, without seeking Parliament’s approach for the aims, objectives and red lines?

John Penrose, the Cabinet Office minister, told MPs that it would be up to Theresa May to set out her approach to this.

Louise Haigh, his Labour shadow, said the government should not trigger article 50 until there is a “clear plan” about what the UK will be negotiating and how it will be achieved.

Theresa May becomes Conservative leader 'with immediate effect'

Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee, is addressing Tory MPs now.

He says he can now declare Theresa May as the new leader of the Conservative party “with immediate effect”.

  • Theresa May becomes Conservative leader “with immediate effect”, Brady says.


One of the first tasks to confront a new prime minister, after an audience with the Queen, is to write the “letter of last resort”.

If past practice is observed, Theresa May will be asked to write to (unnamed) commanders of a Trident missile submarine on patrol somewhere near the bottom of the Atlantic. She will tell them whether or not she (presumably dead at the time) would be willing to retaliate by firing a nuclear missile after a devastating attack on Britain.

May will be asked to write the letter as soon as she takes office after being “indoctrinated” by the chief of the defence staff, Sir Nicholas Houghton, who should explain precisely what damage a Trident missile could cause. David Cameron’s letter will have already been destroyed.

As prime minister, with ultimate responsibility for Britain’s nuclear deterrent, May has to write the letter, in her own hand, giving quite detailed instructions about what the UK’s response should be in the event of a pre-emptive nuclear attack.

The letter would then be opened by the commander of the Trident submarine, who would have to assume that the prime minister was no longer in a position to take “live” command of the situation. The options are said to include the orders: “Put yourself under the command of the US, if it is still there”; “go to Australia”; “retaliate”; “or use your own judgment”.

The historian and now peer, Lord Hennessy, has observed: “The nuclear bit shakes them all. Then you realise you are prime minister, at a deeper level”.

Tony Blair, when asked to write and sign the letter, immediately went white, said onlookers. James Callaghan is said to have authorised retaliation. When John Major had to make the decision, he cancelled a weekend at Chequers and went home to Huntingdon.

Theresa’s May’s orders would be sent by special low frequency or satellite communications to the Trident submarine commander. They would first be verified by two officials in the Cabinet Office, and then two at the armed forces’ permanent joint headquarters in Northwood, northwest London.

May would be asked to sign the letter less than a week before the Commons is asked to give the go-ahead for the construction of four new Trident submarines officially estimated to cost between £31bn and £41bn. Jeremy Corbyn has said he would never sanction the use of Trident nuclear missiles.

In David Greig’s play, Letter of Last Resort, first performed at London’s Tricycle Theatre in 2012, - a Whitehall official tells a new prime minister - a woman - that “inside each Trident submarine is a safe, and inside that safe is another safe and inside that safe is an unopened letter.”

He continues: “That letter contains your orders in the event that the captain of the submarine believes that the United Kingdom has suffered a
devastating and decapitating nuclear attack .... The letter is the means by which we ensure that, even in the very last resort, the correct democratically elected hand remains on our nuclear trigger.”

A submarine carrying Trident nuclear missiles.
A submarine carrying Trident nuclear missiles. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images


This, from the BBC’s Daniel Sandford, is a delight. David Cameron had his mic on as he returned to Number 10 and was recorded humming loudly, before coming out with a purposeful “right” as the door closed behind him.

David Cameron: "Thank you very much........................doo, doo, doo, doo. Right...Good." (The End)

— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) July 11, 2016

ITV’s Vincent McAviney thinks Cameron was humming the opening notes of the West Wing theme tune.

To those asking yes it does sound a little like the end of the West Wing theme:

— Vincent McAviney (@VinnyITV) July 11, 2016

The Conservatives and Labour are not the only parties to announce significant leadership contest developments today. Ukip is also looking for a new leader and, as Huffington Post’s Owen Bennett reports, it has announced that only people who have been members for five years will be able to stand. Bennett says this rules out some key figures.

Clacton MP Douglas Carswell, party donor Arron Banks and Welsh Assembly member Mark Reckless are all unable to stand for Ukip leader under the rules, as is the currently suspended former deputy chairman Suzanne Evans.

MEPs Steven Woolfe and Diane James are eligible to take part in a leadership bid, as is former Tory MP Neil Hamilton - although he has already ruled himself out.

David Cameron's statement

Here is the full text of what David Cameron said.

We are not going to have a prolonged leadership election campaign. I think Andrea Leadsom made absolutely the right decision to stand aside. It is clear Theresa May has the overwhelming support of the Conservative parliamentary party.

I’m also delighted that Theresa May will be the next prime minister. She is strong, she is competent, she’s more than able to provide the leadership the country is going to need in the years ahead and she will have my full support.

Obviously with these changes we now don’t need to have a prolonged period of transition. And so tomorrow I will chair my last cabinet meeting. On Wednesday I will attend the House of Commons for prime minister’s questions. And then after that I expect to go to the Palace and offer my resignation, so we will have a new prime minister in that building behind me by Wednesday evening.

Cameron says May will become PM on Wednesday afternoon

David Cameron says he will chair his last cabinet tomorrow.

He will take PMQs on Wednesday.

And by Wednesday evening there will be a new PM, he says.

Theresa May's economy speech - Analysis

One consequence of the fact that Theresa May has been home secretary for the last six years is that, although we know a great deal about what she thinks about policing and national security and home affairs matters, we know relatively little about what she thinks about anything else. She has given the odd-wide ranging speech - like this one to a ConservativeHome conference in 2013, which was seen as a leadership bid - but anyone trying to write the definite guide to Mayism would have difficulty.

After today it would be a lot easier. May’s speech this morning focused mainly on the economy and it was packed with ideas.

The key news line this morning was probably what she had to say about Brexit.

  • May categorically ruled out a second referendum, and insisted that the UK would leave the EU under her premiership.

Many of our political and business leaders have responded by showing that they still don’t get it. There are politicians - democratically-elected politicians - who seriously suggest that the government should find a way of ignoring the referendum result and keeping Britain inside the European Union. And there are business leaders whose response has not been to plan for Britain’s departure or to think of the opportunities withdrawal presents - but to complain about the result and criticise the electorate.

Well, I couldn’t be clearer. Brexit means Brexit. And we’re going to make a success of it. There will be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it by the back door, and no second referendum. The country voted to leave the European Union, and as prime minister I will make sure that we leave the European Union.

But the real interest in the speech lay in what it revealed about her thinking. Based on this text, it would be reasonable to assume that the May has lifted many of her ideas from four prominent leftwingers.

1 - The ‘Gordon Brown’ Theresa May

When Gordon Brown was chancellor he talked endlessly about the need to improve productivity. George Osborne says much less about this, but this passage sounded as if it could have been delivered by New Labour’s iron chancellor.

Yet we have long had a problem with productivity in Britain. So I want to make its improvement an important objective for the Treasury. I want to see an energy policy that emphasises the reliability of supply and lower costs for users. A better research and development policy that helps firms to make the right investment decisions. More Treasury-backed project bonds for new infrastructure projects. More house building. A proper industrial strategy to get the whole economy firing. And a plan to help not one or even two of our great regional cities but every single one of them.

The sentence about Treasury-backed project bonds for infrastructure could have been drafted by Ken Livingstone, who has backed similar ideas for years. (It is also worth noting that this paragraph contains a minor swipe at George Osborne and his Northern Powerhouse plan; the government should be helping all big cities, not just Manchester, she is saying.)

2 - The ‘Will Hutton’ Theresa May

Younger readers may not remember “stakeholder capitalism”, a notion championed by the journalist and writer Will Hutton, but for about five minutes it was Tony Blair’s favourite philosophy, and May revived it in her speech. She said:

If we are going to have an economy that works for everyone, we are going to need to give people more control of their lives. And that means cutting out all the political platitudes about “stakeholder societies” - and doing something radical.

Because as we saw when Cadbury’s - that great Birmingham company - was bought by Kraft, or when AstraZeneca was almost sold to Pfizer, transient shareholders - who are mostly companies investing other people’s money - are not the only people with an interest when firms are sold or close. Workers have a stake, local communities have a stake, and often the whole country has a stake. It is hard to think of an industry of greater strategic importance to Britain than its pharmaceutical industry, and AstraZeneca is one of the jewels in its crown. Yet two years ago the Government almost allowed AstraZeneca to be sold to Pfizer, the US company with a track record of asset stripping and whose self-confessed attraction to the deal was to avoid tax. A proper industrial strategy wouldn’t automatically stop the sale of British firms to foreign ones, but it should be capable of stepping in to defend a sector that is as important as pharmaceuticals is to Britain.

3 - The ‘Ed Miliband’ Theresa May

As Labour leader Ed Miliband promised to take on “vested interests”. May made a very similar promise today - while claiming that in doing so she was acting in accordance with Tory tradition.

From Robert Peel to Lady Thatcher, from Joseph Chamberlain to Winston Churchill, throughout history it has been the Conservative party’s role to rise to the occasion and to take on the vested interests before us, to break up power when it is concentrated among the few, to lead on behalf of the people.

More significantly, May announced several policy proposals that were pure Miliband. As reported overnight, she called for workers to be represented on company boards (going slightly further than Labour did in its 2015 manifesto). She also called for action on excessive executive pay and on cartels.

As part of the changes I want to make to corporate governance, I want to make shareholder votes on corporate pay not just advisory but binding. I want to see more transparency, including the full disclosure of bonus targets and the publication of “pay multiple” data: that is, the ratio between the CEO’s pay and the average company worker’s pay. And I want to simplify the way bonuses are paid so that the bosses’ incentives are better aligned with the long-term interests of the company and its shareholders.

I also want us to be prepared to use - and reform - competition law so that markets work better for people. If there is evidence that the big utility firms and the retail banks are abusing their roles in highly-consolidated markets, we shouldn’t just complain about it, we shouldn’t say it’s too difficult, we should do something about it.

Miliband also draw up plans to stop banks and energy companies exploiting consumers. Two of his most senior advisers - the Labour peer Stewart Wood, who advised Miliband on policy, and Tom Baldwin, Miliband’s communications chief - have accused May of plagiarism.

Good to see Theresa May reaffirming her commitment to the 2015 election manifesto. Especially as it's Labour's one.

— Stewart Wood (@StewartWood) July 11, 2016

Brexiteers go into hiding, brittle Tory PM-elect steals Ed Miliband's slogan, Labour - under Corbyn - not even on the pitch. #savinglabour

— Tom Baldwin (@TomBaldwin66) July 11, 2016

UPDATE: A spokesman for John McDonnell has been in touch to point out that McDonnell has called for workers to have a say in determining executive pay too.

4 - The ‘Elizabeth Warren’ Theresa May

May also seems to have taken inspiration from Elizabeth Warren, the US Democratic senator, who delivered this much-quoted speech five years ago.

And here is May’s version.

And tax. We need to talk about tax. Because we’re Conservatives, and of course we believe in a low-tax economy, in which British businesses are more competitive and families get to keep more of what they earn - but we also understand that tax is the price we pay for living in a civilised society. No individual and no business, however rich, has succeeded all on their own. Their goods are transported by road, their workers are educated in schools, their customers are part of sophisticated networks taking in the private sector, the public sector and charities. It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re Amazon, Google or Starbucks, you have a duty to put something back, you have a debt to your fellow citizens, you have a responsibility to pay your taxes. So as Prime Minister, I will crack down on individual and corporate tax avoidance and evasion.


Theresa May’s almost-certain early arrival in Number 10 is bound to trigger calls for the UK to speed up its EU departure.

During the campaign, the home secretary said the formal process for leaving the EU should not begin until the British negotiating strategy was agreed. This meant, she said, the UK would not trigger article 50 before the end of this year.

Even before Andrea Leadsom dropped out of the race, that timetable was already too slow for the rest of Europe. European leaders are looking for the UK to trigger article 50 in the autumn, although the EU has no good legal way to force the issue.

But other EU leaders are likely to welcome the fact that May is a known quantity. As home secretary, she has been a regular and active attendee at EU justice and home affairs councils. Observers who have seen her in action say she is respected and well-informed. “She did not read from her papers,” said one source. “You could see she knows the dossier and is well-briefed.”

The British home secretary is known for taking tough positions on security issues and was a champion of the long-disputed passenger-name records database.

In contrast, Leadsom was unknown in Brussels, until she made her ill-fated bid to become prime minister. But some EU leaders would have approved of the fact she wanted to trigger article 50 immediately, giving away the UK’s strongest negotiating card at a stroke.

European politicians promised to work with whoever is the next British prime minister. “We look forward to working with whomever comes out of this democratic process,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, who chairs the eurogroup.

Behind the scenes, EU leaders may be glad they are dealing with a more experienced politician. Britain’s next prime minister is seen by some European papers as more in the mould of the German chancellor, rather than the populist American presidential candidate that her Tory rivals are seen as emulating. “If there is Donald Trump in Boris Johnson, there is Angela Merkel in Theresa May,” was Le Monde’s verdict.

But May will be under pressure to come up with a Brexit plan fast, not least as the rest of the EU will evolve without the UK.

Hours before Leadsom dropped out of the race, François Hollande announced a mini-tour of Europe next week, to give “new impetus to a Europe of 27”, i.e. the remaining member states excluding the UK. The French president will meet leaders in Portugal, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ireland on 19-21 July, following earlier meetings with the Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi.

The sudden end to the leadership campaign means Britain’s next prime minister is likely to be under more pressure from the rest of the EU to act soon.


Tim Farron calls for general election

The Lib Dems are also calling for an early election. This is from Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader.

Just 13 months after the last election the Conservatives have plunged the UK into chaos. It is simply inconceivable that Theresa May should be crowned prime minister without even having won an election in her own party, let alone the country.

There must be an election. The Conservatives must not be allowed to ignore the electorate, their mandate is shattered and lies in ruins.

Britain deserves better than this Tory stitch up.

May has not set out an agenda, and has no right to govern. She has not won an election and the public must have their say.

From her time as home secretary we know she is divisive, illiberal and calculating.

The Liberal Democrats will set out an optimistic, positive plan for Britain. We will stabilise the economy, improve education, deliver a new deal for our NHS, restore the green agenda and secure Britain’s place at the heart of Europe.

Tim Farron.
Tim Farron. Photograph: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

George Osborne, the chancellor, is in America. Speaking to MSNBC, he said that he expected May to become prime minister in the next few days.

She is now the overwhelming choice to be our country’s prime minister.

I have worked with her for six years. She’s got the steel, the determination, to do the job.

The economy doesn’t need uncertainty, it needs certainty.

So I think now, in the next few days, we should move to put her in the position of prime minister so she can lead the country, provide unity, and provide that direction, so that Britain is open to business, open to the world, free trading, out there taking our rightful place in the planet.

There is much speculation about what post, if any, Osborne will have in a May government. Osborne shows no sign of wanting to give up government and it is not inconceivable that he could stay as chancellor, although a move to the Foreign Office seems more likely, provided a leave Tory takes charge of the Brexit negotiations.

George Osborne.
George Osborne. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Here is the full text of the speech Theresa May gave this morning.

I will be posting a full analysis of it soon. For obvious reasons it has not had much attention today, but it was fascinating. I will explain why soon.

Here is an extract from Gary Gibbons’ blog about Andrea Leadsom’s announcement for Channel 4 News.

Allies say Theresa May would’ve hated a series of hustings round the country. She’d have had to play to the gallery a bit and maybe make promises to the Tory Right which she wouldn’t naturally make.

Moments before Andrea Leadsom’s announcement, one of her most ardent MP supporters was telling me that Mrs Leadsom would clear out the top echelon of Whitehall if she came to power: Mark Carney, the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, the top EU-focused officials, “the lot,” he said.

When I asked Andrea Leadsom on Thursday about Mr Carney’s future she criticised him as lacking in impartiality, someone who’d made mistakes, someone who should be investigated by the Treasury Committee but (somewhat hard to believe) someone she would keep in post.

All those jobs look a bit more secure now.


Theresa May has just arrived back at the House of Commons.

Theresa May arrives at the House of Commons from Birmingham.
Theresa May arrives at the House of Commons from Birmingham. Photograph: BBC/BBC News


The Fawcett Society, which campaigns on gender politics, has expressed concern about the press coverage of Andrea Leadsom. This is from Sam Smethers, its chief executive.

Andrea Leadsom was strongly criticised for her comments on motherhood and rightly so. But there is something about the way in which women in politics are judged, vilified and threatened that tells us that we are getting it badly wrong.

They are much more likely to be asked about their home life and scrutinised for what they wear. We highlighted this with our #viewsnotshoes campaign. It is a sign that some of our media still don’t treat them seriously as politicians but rather as imposters on the political scene.

Here is the text of the statement Angela Eagle read out as she launched her leadership bid (pdf).

And here is some footage from the end of her speech. Many of the journalists had rushed off to listen to Andrea Leadsom, leaving Eagle short of people to ask questions.

Angela Eagle abandoned by media as reporters focus on Tories


Theresa May’s team had invited lobby journalists to a drinks reception this evening. But, unsurprisingly, they’ve just cancelled. She has rather more important things to do - like planning a reshuffle, for starters.


The Evening Standard’s Joe Murphy thinks Theresa May could be prime minister by tomorrow.

A minister tells me the Queen returns to London tomorrow. So it sounds like Mrs May will go to the Palace and become Prime Minister by tea.

— Joe Murphy (@JoeMurphyLondon) July 11, 2016


Osborne says May should be PM 'in next few days'

This is from Huffington Post’s Ned Simons.

George Osborne says Theresa May should be PM ‘in the next few days’

— Ned Simons (@nedsimons) July 11, 2016

Angela Eagle did not have much luck with the timing of her leadership challenge. But here is some video from the launch.

Angela Eagle launches Labour leadership bid

Labour calls for a general election

Labour is calling for an election. This is from Jon Trickett, Labour’s election coordinator and a member of the shadow cabinet.

It now looks likely that we are about to have the coronation of a new Conservative prime minister.

It is crucial, given the instability caused by the Brexit vote, that the country has a democratically elected prime minister. I am now putting the whole of the party on a general election footing. It is time for the Labour party to unite and ensure the millions of people in the country left behind by the Tories’ failed economic policies, have the opportunity to elect a Labour government.

It might not be the best time for Trickett to call upon the party to unite. Six minutes after Trickett’s statement arrived in my inbox, another email arrived from Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, confirming that there would be a leadership contest. He said:

I have now received sufficient nominations to trigger a contest for the position of Leader of the Labour party.

I will now ask the chair of the national executive committee to convene a meeting to confirm arrangements for an election.

We have not heard yet when Theresa May will become prime minister, but there is speculation in the lobby that David Cameron will want to do one final PMQs. That could lead to May becoming PM on Thursday, and a reshuffle on Friday. But this is just speculation.


My colleague Roy Greenslade’s blog today about how the Tory press were covering Andrea Leadsom is worth reading in the light of Leadsom’s decision to withdraw from the leadership contest.

Writing before Leadsom’s announcement, Greenslade said the negative coverage Leadsom was getting was likely to get worse.

Aside from her faux pas over the motherhood matter, relevant questions have been raised about her “embellished” CV and about her apparent flip-flops over European Union membership. Then there is the important issue of her lack of political experience.

All in all, Leadsom should be a dead duck. But the editors of the blue quartet will leave nothing to chance. If Leadsom and her supporters think she can make a comeback from the negative press coverage, they should think again. They haven’t seen anything yet.


Leadsom's campaigner manager Tim Loughton accuses journalists of undermining trust in politics

Tim Loughton, Andrea Leadsom’s campaign manager, has released a lengthy statement about Leadsom’s decision. He claims she was the victim of dirty tricks.

  • Loughton accuses some Tory opponents of smearing Leadsom.

Throughout our short campaign we have made it clear that we should be relentlessly focused on the positive case for electing Andrea as leader without the need to undermine the qualities of her opponents. Despite an onslaught of often very personal attacks from colleagues and journalists we have never deviated from that goal. Colleagues who have chosen to further their own ends by putting smear above respect will no doubt account for their motivations but it is genuinely puzzling to understand who they think they are helping. It is certainly not our party or our constituents.

  • He accuses journalists of undermining trust in politics.

It is absolutely not the job of media commentators to ‘big up’ politicians, whether in this leadership contest or elsewhere in politics. But neither should it be their compulsion constantly to try to trip them up. Using spin and underhand tactics against decent people whose prime motivation is to serve has for too long undermined the confidence of the public in our politics. This need not be inevitable. It is this much needed fresh start to how we do our politics that was to be the centrepiece of Andrea’s campaign and which we must together progress whatever her role in the future.

This seems primarily aimed at Rachel Sylvester, the Times journalist whose interview with Leadsom quoting her saying that being a mother gave her an advantage in the leadership contest triggered an anti-Leadsom backlash that seems to have contributed to her decision to pull out.

Tim Loughton (front) leading the march of Andrea Leadsom supporters in Westminster last Thursday
Tim Loughton (front) leading the march of Andrea Leadsom supporters in Westminster last Thursday. Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters


This is what Chris Grayling said about Andrea Leadsom.

Her actions this morning have shown what a principled and decent politician she is and how willing she is to put the interests of the country before her own. She is a true public servant.

He also said that Theresa May was “enormously honoured” to be entrusted with the task of being next prime minister. It was time for the party to unite, he said. May would “do everything she can to equip the country for the challenges ahead”.

Grayling's statement on behalf of May

Chris Grayling, Theresa May’s campaign manager, is making a statement now. He thanks Andrea Leadsom, saying her statement showed what a decent person she is. She is a true public servant.

May is coming back from Birmingham and will make a statement later.

She says May will do everything she can to equip the country for the challenges ahead.

Grayling delivers statement on May’s behalf after Leadsom quits Tory race


Here is video of Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, making his earlier statement.

Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee, says Theresa May will be formally confirmed as the new Tory leader

— Sam Lister (@sam_lister_) July 11, 2016


Boris Johnson has backed Theresa May for leader. In a statement he said:

Theresa May will provide the authority and the leadership necessary to unite the Conservative party and take the country forward in the coming weeks and months. Andrea’s decision, which is both brave and principled, allows that process to begin immediately. I have no doubt Theresa will make an excellent party leader and prime minister and I’m encouraged that she’s made it clear that Brexit means Brexit - that we will leave the EU. It is vital that we respect the will of the people and get on with exploiting new opportunities for this country.

Nigel Farage, the outgoing Ukip leader, has said he is disappointed by Andrea Leadsom’s withdrawal.

Disappointed that @andrealeadsom has decided to withdraw from the Conservative leadership contest.

— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) July 11, 2016

Andrea Leadsom's withdrawal statement in full

Here is the Andrea Leadsom statement in full.

This morning I have written a letter to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, and I would like to read it out to you.

The best interests of our country inspired me to stand for the leadership. I believe that in leaving the EU a bright future awaits, where all our people can share in a new prosperity, freedom and democracy.

The referendum result demonstrated a clear desire for change - strong leadership is needed urgently to begin the work of withdrawing from the European Union.

A nine-week leadership campaign at such a critical moment for our country is highly undesirable.

Business needs certainty – a strong and unified government must move quickly to set out what an independent United Kingdom’s framework for business looks like.

It is also essential that current EU workers in the UK and businesses that employ them know where they stand.

The Conservative party was elected only last year with a strong manifesto. We now need a new prime minister in place as soon as possible, committed to fulfilling that manifesto as well as implementing the clear instructions from the referendum.

Theresa May carries over 60% of support from the parliamentary party. She is ideally placed to implement Brexit on the best possible terms for the British people and she has promised that she will do so.

For me personally, to have won the support of 84 of my colleagues last Thursday was a great expression of confidence for which I am incredibly grateful. Nevertheless, this is less than 25% of the parliamentary party and after careful consideration I do not believe this is sufficient support to lead a strong and stable government should I win the leadership election.

There is no greater privilege than to lead the Conservative party in government and I would have been deeply honoured to do it. I have, however, concluded that the interests of our country are best served by the immediate appointment of a strong and well-supported prime minister.

I am therefore withdrawing from the leadership election and I wish Theresa May the very greatest success. I assure her of my full support. Thank you very much.

Andrea Leadsom quits Conservative leadership race


The Conservative MP John Redwood is on BBC News. He has just congratulated Theresa May, although he said it was a shame that the party would not have the chance to have a democratic debate.

Asked if he thought Brexiters would unite behind May, he said he thought they would.


Graham Brady told journalists explicitly, in response to questions, that he would not be reopening the leadership contest.

Gove says May should become prime minister 'as quickly as possible'

Michael Gove has said Theresa May should be the next prime minister. In a statement he said:

Andrea Leadsom spoke with great dignity and courage today. I wish her every success in the future. We should now move as quickly as possible to ensure Theresa May can take over as leader. She has my full support as our next prime minister.

  • Gove says he does not want to reopen leadership contest.
  • He says May should become prime minister ‘as quickly as possible’.

Brady says May is the only remaining candidate

Graham Brady says Theresa May is the only remaining candidate to become Tory leader.

He says he and the board must confirm that she is the next leader of the party. The board will have to be consulted, he says.

  • Brady rules out re-opening the contest.

He says there were two candidates left. Now there is only one.


The Conservative MP Steve Baker, another Leadsom backer, has told BBC News that he too thinks May should be PM.

Leadsom's statement – snap summary

Theresa May looks set to be PM by the end of the week - possibly even sooner.

What was significant about Leadsom’s statement was not just that she said she was withdrawing, but that she said that as a candidate with so little support amongst Tory MP she would not have been able to run a strong government.

As I write, Iain Duncan Smith, a Leadsom supporter and former Tory leader, is saying he agrees. He says he wants to see May become PM as soon as possible.

After this is it hard to see how the 1922 Committee could reopen the contest. Leadsom had the backing of 84 Tory MPs - 25% of the total. Michael Gove, who was in third place, got just 46 - or 14%.

For the ultra-Eurosceptic leave Tories, this has been a disaster. A majority of Tory members backed leave; three of the five original candidates were Brexiters, but their champion has now backed out after just three days on the final shortlist.

Leadsom’s statement did not say anything about the pressure she has been under, which is partly a consequence of mistakes that a more experienced candidate would have avoided. But it did not need to; it is clear that what she said about the importance of support amongst the parliamentary party, and about a nine-week campaign being too long (on Friday her team were saying nine weeks was just right) is at least in part just cover for the fact she did not want to go on.


Leadsom says she has the support of less than 25% of the parliamentary party.

That is not enough to run a strong, stable government, she says.

She says she would have been privileged to be PM.

But the interests of our country are best served by having a strong PM now. She backs May, and offers her full support.

  • Leadsom withdraws from the contest.
  • She says that, with the support of fewer than 25% of Tory MPs, she would not have been able to run a strong government.

Leadsom backs Theresa May for PM

Andrea Leadsom
Andrea Leadsom Photograph: BBC

Andrea Leadsom is here.

Good morning, she says. She reads a letter she has sent to Graham Brady, the 1922 Committee chair, this morning.

The best interests of my country inspired me to stand, she says. After leaving the EU, a bright future waits.

She says strong leadership is needed urgently. A nine-week leadership campaign is undesirable.

A strong government must move quickly, she says. It is essential that current EU workers in the UK know where they stand.

We need a new PM as soon as possible, she says. She says May has the support of 60% of the parliamentary party.

  • Leadsom backs Theresa May for PM


Andrea Leadsom's team emerge ahead of her statement - Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson last out

— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) July 11, 2016

Leadsom campaign team out awaiting statement

— Simon Mares (@SimonMaresITV) July 11, 2016

Andrea Leadsom's statement

Andrea Leadsom’s supporters are coming out from the house at Cowley Street where she has been preparing her statement.

This is from the BBC’s Sima Kotecha.

Up to 1922 committee whether Gove brought back into contest or May becomes new PM after Leadsom quits race

— Sima Kotecha (@sima_kotecha) July 11, 2016

Chair of 1922 Committee to make statement at 12.30pm

Graham Brady, chair of the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee, will make a statement at 12.30pm.


No 10 say will have to hold talks with Theresa May, party officials, Cabinet Office and Buckingham Palace

— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) July 11, 2016

No 10 indicates that Cameron could hand over to May soon

This is from the BBC’s Norman Smith.

No 10 say PM will "not get in the way" of hand over to Theresa May

— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) July 11, 2016

Here is the scene outside the house in Cowley Street where Andrea Leadsom is about to make her announcement.

Scene at Cowley Street, where Andrea Leadsom is about to make a statement.
Scene at Cowley Street, where Andrea Leadsom is about to make a statement. Photograph: Sky News

Angela Eagle says she is standing because she thinks she could be prime minister.

The country needs a strong Labour party, she says. Jeremy Corbyn cannot give the party the leadership it needs. “I believe I can.”


Angela Eagle is launching her challenge for the Labour leadership. But, as the Daily Mail’s Jason Groves points out, her audience has been shrinking.

Journalists fleeing the Angela Eagle launch event to get to Leadsom statement - a brutal metaphor for how far they've got to go

— Jason Groves (@JasonGroves1) July 11, 2016

My colleague Graeme Wearden says that the pound has risen on the news that Andrea Leadsom might be pulling out - but just a bit.

Rumours of Andrea Leadsom quitting send pound jumping to a <cough> three hour high.....

— Graeme Wearden (@graemewearden) July 11, 2016

This is from the Labour blogger and lawyer Jolyon Maugham. He says the Conservative party rules suggest that the party would need to find an alternative to Andrea Leadsom to allow party members a choice.

Should Leadsom withdraw, appears "it is the duty" of 1922 Committee to find a second candidate to put to membership.

— Jo Maugham QC (@JolyonMaugham) July 11, 2016


Leadsom says the pressure on her has been 'shattering'

And here is another extract from Andrea Leadsom’s interview with the Telegraph.

When I ask if she would like to apologise to Mrs May, she says: “I’ve already said to Theresa how very sorry I am for any hurt I have caused and how that article said completely the opposite of what I said and believe.”

She refuses to say how the message was conveyed to the home secretary, but she admits she has felt “under attack, under enormous pressure. It has been shattering.”

How the motherhood row reduced Leadsom to tears

The Telegraph interview is worth reading if you want to know why Andrea Leadsom has got to the point where her leaving the contest seems credible.

Here is how it starts.

When Andrea Leadsom came on the phone yesterday afternoon I could tell from her voice that she’d been crying. After what had happened, the last thing she wanted was to talk to another journalist, but she agreed, with great trepidation, to speak to me as we’d planned.

And here is an extract from later in the interview.

It’s been a brutally hard week which makes you wonder why anyone would go into politics. On the phone, I asked Andrea Leadsom when she last cried. There is a pause. “Twenty minutes ago,” she admits with a wobble. But, don’t worry, it’s not a sob story. She doesn’t believe in those. Meanwhile, she’s off to make a roast chicken stretch for the children’s friends who just turned up unexpectedly. “Lots of roast potatoes.”

Putting on a brave face, making the best of things, and soldiering on, she is much like swathes of Tory voters up and down the land. Will they really ignore her, as all the pundits predict, when it comes to the ballot in September? Not everything has to end in tears.

It is worth noting that Leadsom’s team have now had time to deny that she is standing down - and have not done so.

Leadsom statement due at 12.15pm

Andrea Leadsom will make a statement at 12.15pm, her team confirm.

If Andrea Leadsom does pull out, three things could happen.

1 - Theresa May could become prime minister very soon, perhaps even later today.

2 - May could be confirmed as party leader, but with David Cameron staying on for perhaps a few more weeks.

3 - The Conservative party board could decide to allow another candidate to enter. It would almost certainly be Michael Gove, who came third. The board could take the view that members are entitled to a choice between a leave candidate and a remain candidate.


Andrea Leadsom 'to pull out of Tory leadership contest'

Source tells me Leadsom to pull out at 12 - not confirmed

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) July 11, 2016

If Andrea Leadsom does drop out of the Tory leadership contest, my understanding of the rules is that Theresa May becomes prime minister. Michael Gove came third in the ballot of MPs, but it is thought that he is definitely out of the contest.

But we are in unprecedented territory, and so it would be unwise to assume anything is definite at this point.

Guido Fawkes says Andrea Leadsom is pulling out of the contest.

Sources: Leadsom quitting at noon.

— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) July 11, 2016

Obviously we’re trying to get that confirmed ...

Q: If during the course of the negotiations the public mood changed, and people demanded a second referendum, would you grant one?

May says the people voted on this. Turnout was larger than in elections. So the people have given their instructions.

  • May rules out a second EU referendum, even if the public mood changes.

And that’s it. The Q&A is over.

Leadsom due to make statement at 12pm

This is intriguing.

@andrealeadsom making a statement at 12

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) July 11, 2016

May signals that stopping free movement takes priority over retaining single market membership

Q: What would you on tax avoidance and evasion that would be different from what George Osborne has done?

May say she would go futher than Obsorne.

Q: Would you stay in the single market?

May says she wants to get the best deal for trade in goods and services. But free movement of labour cannot continue. The Brexit vote was very clear on that, she says.

  • May signals that stopping free movement takes priority over retaining single market membership.

May Q&A

May has finished her speech. She is now taking questions.

Q: You offer yourself as a one nation prime minister. How would you better able to do that than Andrea Leadsom.

May says people should look at her track record. Look at what she has done on stop and search. That shows she can deliver on reducing inequality.

Q: What is you response to Leadsom’s apology?

May says she accepts the apology. She wants to talk about her programme.

May is now talking about tax.

Conservatives believe in low tax, she says. But, she says, businesses do not succeed on their own. They are dependent on services paid for by the taxpayer.

(Some of this sounds like a straight lift from a famous speech by the leftwing US senator Elizabeth Warren.)

She says she wants to crack down on corporate tax avoidance and evasion.


May says she would give shareholders a binding vote on executive pay

And she says she would give shareholders a binding vote on pay.

We’re the Conservative party, and yes we’re the party of enterprise, but that does not mean we should be prepared to accept that “anything goes”.

As part of the changes I want to make to corporate governance, I will make shareholder votes on corporate pay not just advisory but binding.

May says she wants workers represented on company boards

She turns to corporate governance, and the plans she unveiled overnight.

I want to see changes in the way that big business is governed. The people who run big businesses are supposed to be accountable to outsiders, to non-executive directors, who are supposed to ask the difficult questions, think about the long-term and defend the interests of shareholders. In practice, they are drawn from the same, narrow social and professional circles as the executive team and - as we have seen time and time again - the scrutiny they provide is just not good enough.

So if I’m prime minister, we’re going to change that system - and we’re going to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but workers as well.


May says workers and communities have a stake in big companies.

Two years ago AstraZeneca was almost sold to Pfizer.

She says she wants to the UK to have an industrial strategy that would stop takeovers like this happening.

May says she wants to make improving productivity a Treasury priority.

She wants more Treasury-backed infrastructure bonds.

And she wants plans to help not just Manchester, but all our great industrial cities.

May says UK will definitely leave the EU if she is prime minister

May says the referendum was a vote to leave the EU. But it was also a vote for serious change.

Yet the response of some politicians and business leaders show they do not get it.

Some politicians are trying to overturn the result.

And some business leaders are complaining about the result, not preparing to deal with it.

  • May insists Brexit means Brexit. The UK will leave the EU under her as prime minister, she says.

May says today she will be talking mostly about the economy.

She says people feel frustrated with how little control they have over what happens.

Some taxes have gone down, but others have gone up.

There is little job security out there, she says.

It is harder than ever for young people to buy their first house.

And there is a chasm between London and the rest of the country, she says.

May stresses her desire to address inequality.

Right now, if you’re born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working-class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you still earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s too often not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.

But, as I have said before, fighting these injustices is not enough. If you’re from a working-class family, life is just much harder than many people in politics realise. You have a job, but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home, but you worry about mortgage rates going up. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and the quality of the local school, because there’s no other choice for you.

She says she wants a society that works for everyone.

Theresa May launches her national campaign

Theresa May is giving a speech launching her national campaign.

She says her case for the leadership depends on three things.

First, we need a bold, new, positive vision for the future of our country - a vision of a country that works for everyone - not just the privileged few.

Second, we need to unite our Party and our country.

And third, our country needs strong, proven leadership - to steer us through this time of economic and political uncertainty - and to negotiate the best deal for Britain as we leave the European Union and forge a new role for ourselves in the world . Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a success of it.

(This quote is from the preview of the speech sent out in advance. This morning May used the same language, but she put the points in a different order.)

Leadsom rules out giving Farage a job

Allison Pearson has a long interview with the Tory leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom in today’s Telegraph. As well as revealing that she has apologised to Theresa May for her comments about May’s childlessness being a disadvantage in the contest, and that the media coverage of this over the weekend reduced her to tears, Leadsom uses the interview to distance herself from Ukip.

Here are the two key lines.

  • She says she wants to make Ukip “a thing of the past”.

My biggest hope is that by delivering a good exit for us from the EU, Ukip will become a thing of the past.

Saving Labour, the group trying to recruit people into the Labour party to vote against Jeremy Corbyn, has put out a statement this morning saying it hopes to get the Labour membership up to 1m. Here’s an extract.

Labour party membership is less than 1% of the population, and Tory Party members – 0.2% of the population – will decide our next prime minister. A generation ago 3.5m Britons were members of a political party. Today the figure is nearer one million.

We want people from all walks of life to join our campaign and help us save Labour by joining as a registered supporter or a member.

Cameron says Brexit will require 'radical thinking'

David Cameron is speaking at the Farnborough air show.

He says that the Brexit vote has already caused some turbulence for the economy.

It was not the result he wanted, he says.

But he says we are in a “new reality” and we must make it work.

This will require “radical thinking”, he says. Making a success of Brexit will be the biggest challenge the UK has faced for years.

David Cameron
David Cameron Photograph: Sky News

Here is some Twitter comment on Diane Abbott’s Star Wars simile.

From the Guardian’s Rafael Behr

Plainly unaware that, to Star Wars fans, there is no higher praise.

— Rafael Behr (@rafaelbehr) July 11, 2016

From the Guardian’s Marina Hyde

I simply do not want to live in a world where Diane Abbott casts herself as Han Solo.

— Marina Hyde (@MarinaHyde) July 11, 2016

From the Telegraph’s Asa Bennett

This from Private Eye feels rather timely given @HackneyAbbott's Empire Strikes Back swipe

— Asa Bennett (@asabenn) July 11, 2016

Angela Eagle has submitted her leadership challenge papers with Labour’s general secretary, she told reporters outside her home this morning.


Ellie Reeves, a member of Labour’s national executive committee, is consulting party members on Facebook on what they think about whether Jeremy Corbyn automatically being included in the leadership ballot.

I'm consulting on the procedures for a Labour leadership contest. Please let me have your views at

— ellie reeves (@elliereeves) July 11, 2016

It is worth noting that the phrase “keeping Corbyn off the ballot” has now become contentious. (See 9.41am.) This is from the Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who is not Corbynista.

NB to the media : Requiring Corbyn to collect nominations just like any other candidate is not "keeping him off the ballot".

— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) July 11, 2016

(Actually, interpreting the rules in that way does have the result of “keeping him off the ballot”, but you can see the point Bradshaw is making.)

Harriet Harman, Labour’s former deputy leader, told the Today programme this morning that she thought Jeremy Corbyn should have to obtain the backing of 51 MPs or MEPs (20% of the total) to stand again in the leadership contest. She told the programme:

The reason is because the leader needs to lead an alternative Labour government so that people in the country who are suffering what the Tories are doing in this country can look and see that there is an alternative Labour government. And nobody is saying, you know, that Jeremy Corbyn can’t enter the contest but he can’t say ‘I’ve got the right, once having got elected with the support of Labour MPs, now that I’ve failed and I’ve lost the confidence of those Labour MPs, I’ve got the right to carry on, come what may’.

The rules are clear about anyone challenging for the leadership needing the 51 signatures. But there is a dispute about whether they mean that a serving leader, if challenged, also needs the support of 20% of MPs or MEPs to be on the ballot.

Harman said it would be ridiculous if Corbyn were to go to court to challenge any decision to keep him off the ballot.

The idea that the leader of the party, having lost the confidence of Labour MPs, then takes the national executive of the party to court is just more dysfunction upon more dysfunction and the party is suffering.

She also rejected the suggestion that Labour MPs, who passed a motion of no confidence in Corbyn two weeks ago, did not give Corbyn a fair chance.

I think there are some Labour MPs who never supported Jeremy and expected him to fail and might now be saying ‘I told you so’; there are actually the overwhelming majority who, having not supported him, would still have wanted him to succeed and there are also those who voted for him and strongly supported him who have now lost confidence in him.

It is difficult to lead and he’s shown that, whilst nobody is saying he’s a bad man, he is not a leader.

Harriet Harman.
Harriet Harman. Photograph: REX Shutterstock

It has emerged that Andrea Leadsom apologised to Theresa May by text. “Theresa was very grateful for the message and thanked Andrea for it,” a spokesperson for May said.

Here is the Guardian’s Chilcot report podcast. It’s a recording of a Guardian live discussion of the report featuring Paul Johnson, the Guardian’s deputy editor, Major General Tim Cross, Emma Sky who served in Iraq as a political adviser to the US army, Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s diplomatic editor from 1999 to 2006, and Sir William Patey, UK ambassador in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Christine Shawcross, a leftwinger who is on Labour’s NEC, told the Today programme that she thought the Labour rules were clear and that, as a serving leader, Jeremy Corbyn would not have to get 51 nominations to enter the leadership contest. She said:

The only reason we are having this argument is Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents want to keep him off the ballot paper because that’s their only hope of winning. When he’s on the ballot paper he will win.

The surge in membership was down to many of the £3 members who voted in the last leadership election converting to full membership, Shawcross said.

A lot of the membership increase we’ve seen in the last few weeks is those registered supporters signing up as full members, which is what the intention always was, we want full members of the Labour party.

Shawcross said if Corbyn were to win again, that would have to be respected, but dismissed the idea that the party could split, saying she still believed he could lead Labour to a general election victory.

I don’t think it’s about Jeremy’s leadership qualities, people are politically opposed to him. He’s brave, he’s honest, he’s principled, he doesn’t back down under pressure, they sound like good leadership qualities to us. I just hope everyone comes together.

When Tony Blair was leader I had to put up with it despite there being things I didn’t like, the invasion of Iraq being chief amongst them. You just have to accept a democratic decision.

Diane Abbott is obviously pleased with her simile, because she has been tweeting it.

"Angela Eagle is the Empire Strikes Back Candidate" Today Programme @BBCRadio4 11/07/2016

— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) July 11, 2016

Abbott brands Eagle the 'Empire Strikes Back' candidate

Diane Abbott, the shadow health secretary and one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies, was on the Today programme this morning talking about the Labour leadership contest. She had an unusual description of Angela Eagle, the former shadow business secretary who is challenging Corbyn.

I think she’s the Empire Strikes Back candidate - she voted for Iraq, she voted for tuition fees. And someone who came fourth out of five to be deputy, it’s not clear to me that she can win the leadership.

Abbott also said it would be “a travesty in terms of natural justice and fairness” if the party tried to keep Corbyn off the ballot.

Darth Vader in the Empire Strikes Back.
Darth Vader in the Empire Strikes Back.
Photograph: Allstar/LUCASFILM/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar
Diane Abbott: Angela Eagle is the Empire Strikes Back candidate – audio


Morning briefing

Good morning and welcome to our daily politics live blog, where today’s coverage will be dominated by the leadership contests engulfing the UK’s two biggest parties that were triggered by the Brexit vote.

The big picture

We’ve got two leadership launches today.

The first is at 11am in Birmingham when Theresa May launches her national campaign for the leadership of the Conservative party.

Theresa May At the Henley festival on Friday
Theresa May At the Henley festival on Friday Photograph: Greg Blatchford/Barcroft Images

May will promise to ensure that workers are represented on company boards and that shareholders get a binding vote on corporate pay.

Meanwhile, Andrea Leadsom, her Tory rival, told the Telegraph she had apologised to May for an interview with the Times published on Saturday in which she suggested that having children gave her the edge in the leadership stakes.

“I’ve already said to Theresa how very sorry I am for any hurt I have caused and how that article said completely the opposite of what I said and believe,” Leadsom said.

Andrea Leadsom outside her home in Northamptonshire on Saturday.
Andrea Leadsom outside her home in Northamptonshire on Saturday. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

Leadsom has also published details of her tax affairs and declared an income of nearly £85,000 for last year.

Angela Eagle, the former shadow business secretary, will formally launch her challenge for the Labour leadership at midday in a move expected to anger many members of her constituency party in Wallasey.

She told the Mirror: “The Labour Party needs to be saved. I’m stepping up to the plate to say it’s about time we did this so we can make the Labour Party relevant again and so we can contend for government.

Ben Jennings’ take on the Labour leadership row
Ben Jennings’ take on the Labour leadership row Illustration: Ben Jennings

You should also know:


  • David Cameron makes a speech at the Farnborough air show on the economy and the aerospace industry.
  • HS2 chief executive Simon Kirby gives evidence to the Commons public accounts committee at 3pm.

Read these

Andrea Leadsom delights the Tory right, but she may cost them power, writes Matthew d’Ancona.

It is easy to despair of our leaders, but Brexit has exposed Britain’s rotten core, writes Linda Colley.

As usual, I will also be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I will post a summary at lunchtime and another in the afternoon.

If you want to follow me or contact me on Twitter, I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

I try to monitor the comments BTL but normally I find it impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer direct questions, although sometimes I miss them or don’t have time. Alternatively you could post a question to me on Twitter.



Andrew Sparrow and Ben Quinn

The GuardianTramp

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