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  1. National

Johnson: May will make an excellent prime minister

Boris Johnson had backed Andrea Leadsom for PM Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has said he has "no doubt Theresa (May) will make an excellent party leader and Prime Minister" and called for the handover of power to begin "immediately".

  1. National

Andrea Leadsom: I wish Theresa May the greatest success

Andrea Leadsom wished Home Secretary Theresa May "the greatest success" as she pulled out of her bid to be prime minister.

Here is Andrea Leadsom's speech in full:

So 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

Leadsom withdraws from Conservative leadership race

Video report by political correspondent David Wood.

Andrea Leadsom is pulling out of the race. Credit: PA

South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom has announced that she is pulling out of the Conservative leadership race.

The 53-year-old was criticised at the weekend when an interview was published in The Times in which she appeared to suggest that being a mother made her a better choice to be Prime Minister than her rival Theresa May.

Theresa May has since accepted an apology from Leadsom for the comments.

Andrea Leadsom 'to quit race' to replace David Cameron as PM

Andrea Leadsom. Credit: PA Images

Conservative leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom is expected to make a statement at 12.15pm amid speculation that she may be poised to pull out of the race to replace David Cameron as prime minister.

If the energy minister confirms that she is planning to quit the battle, it would leave Home Secretary Theresa May as the only candidate - potentially clearing the way for her to be named Tory leader and PM as early as today.

However, it was not immediately clear whether Conservative rules would require the party's 1922 Committee to seek another contender to appear on the ballot paper alongside Mrs May for a planned vote of the party's 150,000 members.

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  1. National

Andrea Leadsom apologises to May over motherhood row

Andrea Leadsom Credit: Reuters

Andrea Leadsom, a candidate in the Tory leadership election, has said sorry to her rival Theresa May in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

Speaking to the paper, she said: "Having children has no bearing on the ability to be PM. I deeply regret that anyone has got the impression that I think otherwise.

"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."

Her apology in the paper comes after former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith appeared on ITV's Peston on Sunday, saying Mrs Leadsom had been "stitched-up" during the interview.

Ed Balls: 'Corbyn needs to go for the sake of the country'

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls says it's 'essential' that Angela Eagle challenges Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership.

Eagle will officially announce her bid on Monday but current leader Corbyn insists he's not going anywhere - despite a vote of no confidence being passed by the party's MPs last month.

Former shadow chancellor Balls told ITV's Peston on Sunday that there needs to be a change for the good of the country.

"I'm afraid the conclusion is that Jeremy Corbyn can't do the job," he said.

"There's got to be a change. I think it's not just necessary for Labour, I think it's necessary for the country."

  1. National

Leadsom motherhood comments 'not derogatory'

Tim Loughton appears on The Andrew Marr Show. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

Andrea Leadsom made it "absolutely clear" that references she made to her children in an interview with The Times were not to be used in a "derogatory" way towards Theresa May, her campaign manager has said.

Tim Loughton, Conservative MP East Worthing and Shoreham, defended the Tory leadership candidate's comments and said her children were "the thing that really fires her up", and asked "when has it been a crime to be proud about your children?".

Mr Loughton also questioned whether the debate on children would be an issue if the two candidates were male.

Mr Loughton added that South Northamptonshire MP was a "fresh face" who had "much more experience outside of politics than all the other candidates put together".

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