LONDON (AP) – Theresa May stands alone in the race to become Britain’s next Prime Minister.
May is the last candidate standing after her competition in the upcoming election, Andrea Leadsom, withdrew from the race.
Leadsom said she did not have enough support to defeat May in an election among Conservative Party voters.
Leadsom’s withdrawal has cleared the way for a quick confirmation for May, the current Home Secretary, as the next Prime Minister.
The head of the committee running the Conservative leadership contest says it and the party board will meet to discuss confirming May as the winner of the race and Britain’s next prime minister.
Graham Brady, who heads the party’s policymaking 1922 Committee, said he would consult the board on Monday before formally confirming that May is the new leader.
He did not suggest re-opening the contest, saying May is now the only contender.
Asked if May would be declared leader by the end of the day he said “it won’t take nine weeks” — the time the race had been due to last.
Leadsom faced a media frenzy over the weekend after comments about the role of motherhood in politics.
She said Monday that “business needs certainty” in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. The vote has unsettled the markets and sent the value of the pound plunging.
She said Britain needs a government that will “move quickly to set out what an independent United Kingdom’s framework for business looks like.
“We now need a new prime minister in place as soon as possible,” Leadsom said.
Leadsom apologized for any hurt she might have caused her rival with comments that suggested being a mother was an advantage in the job.
She said sorry to May, who has no children, amid the uproar touched off by her Times of London interview. Leadsom insisted she didn’t want motherhood to be part of the campaign.
The two women were in a Conservative Party runoff to replace Prime Minister David Cameron, who is resigning after British voters rejected his advice and chose to leave the European Union in a referendum last month.
Leadsom told the Times that “I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.”
She later accused the newspaper of practicing “gutter journalism” and twisting her sentiments in the story, run under the headline “being a mother gives me edge on May– Leadsom.”
The Times released a recording of part of the interview to show it had quoted Leadsom accurately.
Leadsom told Monday’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that she believed that having children has “no bearing on the ability to be PM.”
“I deeply regret that anyone has got the impression that I think otherwise,” she said.
Leadsom’s rivals said both her comments and her subsequent flip-flopping show the junior energy minister doesn’t have the experience under pressure required to be prime minister. Her allies accused supporters of May — Britain’s interior minister — of attempting to undermine Leadsom.
British politics has been thrown into turmoil by the referendum result, which has sparked leadership struggles in both the governing Conservative and main opposition Labour parties.
Labour lawmaker Angela Eagle was Monday launching an attempt to unseat party leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran left-winger who has a strong base of support among Labour members but little backing from the party’s 229 lawmakers.
Labour legislators have passed a no-confidence motion in Corbyn, and many of his top team in Parliament resigned from their jobs to protest his leadership. He is refusing to resign and says he can win a leadership battle, which would be decided by a vote of party members.
Many Labour lawmakers believe the staunchly socialist, resolutely uncharismatic Corbyn lacks broad appeal to voters. Eagle said he “doesn’t connect enough to win an election.”