Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May will battle it out to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
In the final round of voting by Conservative MPs on Thursday, May came first with the 199 votes and Leadsom came second with 84.
Michael Gove finished third with 46 votes and has been eliminated from the race, marking a dramatic turn around in fortunes for one the country’s most high-profile Brexit campaigners.
Conservative Party members will now choose whether they want May or Leadsom to succeed David Cameron.
It means the UK is guaranteed to have its second ever female Prime Minister. The result will be announced on September 9.
Following the result, May, the Home Secretary, said Britain needed “strong, proven” leadership to handle Brexit negotiations and unite the country.
“I have said all along that this election needs to be a proper contest. And now it is time for me - and my team - to put my case to the Conservative Party membership,” she said.
“That case comes down to three things. Because we need strong, proven leadership to negotiate the best deal for Britain as we leave the European Union, to unite our Party and our country, and to make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us.
“Those are the things my colleagues have voted for in overwhelming numbers today, and I am confident they will win the support of our members - and the support of the country as a whole.”
Speaking after the result, defeated candidate Michael Gove - who betrayed fellow Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson in order to stand - congratulated the two MPs.
He said: “I’m naturally disappointed that I haven’t been able to make it through to the final round of this leadership contest. But let me first of all congratulate both of the candidates who have made it through.”
The Justice Secretary then called for a “civilised, inclusive, positive and optimistic” debate about the party’s future in the following weeks.
Leadsom backer Steve Baker - a fellow Brexit campaigner - described the upcoming contest as a “David vs Goliath” battle.
He insisted that despite Leadsom having significantly fewer votes than May, the whole Tory Party would back whoever emerged victorious.
Baker said” “I expect that whoever wins this contest, I will expect to row in behind the winner and I would expect every colleague in Parliament to reciprocate. Whoever wins this contest every Conservative MP should provide their wholehearted support.
“I pledge that I will support whoever wins, and I would expect all my colleagues to support whoever is the next leader of the Conservative Party.”
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