Skip to navigationSkip to content
Theresa May at no 10
Reuters/Peter Nicholls
May’s new address?
XX VS XX

The UK’s next prime minister will be a woman

By Cassie Werber

Emerging from a bruising referendum which resulted in a vote to leave the European Union, the UK is searching for leaders. One thing is now certain: the next one will be a woman.

David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister, campaigned to stay in the EU. When the country voted to leave, he resigned, saying he would step aside to make way for a new leader in October. The next leader of the party will become prime minister until the next general election (or until she is deposed).

The contest has so far been messy. Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, was expected to stand, but demurred. Michael Gove, the justice secretary, was expected to support Johnson. Instead, he turned on him at the last minute, even though the two had been co-figureheads of the pro-leave campaign. But Gove in turn was eliminated in the party’s internal voting today (July 7). That leaves a choice between Theresa May, the home secretary, and Andrea Leadsom, minister for energy and climate change.

It will be the first time the country has been run by a woman since Margaret Thatcher, and only the second time in modern history.

If Hillary Clinton wins the US presidency in November, she will take office in January. By 2017, three of the world’s five largest economies—the US at number one, Germany run by Angela Merkel at four, and the UK at five—could be run by women.