In a storm of uncertainty following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the country is getting closer to choosing its next prime minister, with the number of candidates in the running now down to just three.
Theresa May appears to be the favorite, winning more than half the votes on Tuesday in the last round between five candidates. She was a cool 99 votes ahead of the second favorite, Andrea Leadsom, and has been described as “a safe pair of hands” to take the country through its negotiations with the European Union.
One of the stars of the Brexit campaign, Andrea Leadsom, has come from nowhere to become a serious contender for the top job.
She came second in Tuesday’s vote between five candidates, winning 66 of the votes, though she was still far behind May.
A fierce advocate of leaving the EU, she has already said she would quickly invoke Article 50, the action needed to officially begin the separation process from the European Union.
Michael Gove is the least favorite of the three, winning just 48 of the 329 votes on Tuesday.
CNN political contributor Robin Oakley reported that Gove’s campaign manager was courting May supporters in an attempt to keep Leadsom of the ballot.
Gove, born and brought up in Scotland, was a controversial education secretary, making radical reforms that earned him as many enemies as friends. He was eventually demoted by his good friend Prime Minister Cameron to chief whip, a position that requires keeping MPs in line with party policy and making sure they turn up to vote.
The 48-year-old politician’s relationship with Cameron turned sour during the referendum campaign period, as Gove stood on the opposing side, backing a Brexit.