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Why did Leadsom pull out and what next?

Andrea Leadsom

We have a new prime minister some nine weeks earlier than we were led to believe would be the case.

Actually Theresa May has not yet been formally declared leader of the Tory party.

She has not yet seen Her Majesty and been asked to form a government.

And she probably won't till Thursday or so.

But these are technicalities. May will be the second female premier in our long parliamentary history.

It is another moment to marvel at the powerful forces unleashed by that Brexit vote still just 18 days old.

So why did Leadsom quit?

Theresa May Credit: PA

Well the official reasons included a nod at beleaguered Jeremy Corbyn: She said that with the support of less than a quarter of Tory MPs, she was concerned she would struggle to form a unifying government.

There was also a lot of talk from her in her withdrawal statement of the need to provide business with early certainty of the UK's future trading relationship with the EU and the rest of the world - presumably to ward off an investment freeze, employment hiatus and recession (that may already be inevitable).

The underlying reason, according to her colleagues, is she was hating the intense media scrutiny she was facing - including of course that Times interview that showed her seemingly contrasting her status as a mum with May's childlessness (Leadsom has apologised and said any offence caused was unintentional).

So one big question, the identity of our new government head, answered.

But loads still to resolve, such as will Tory members feel less committed to May, having been deprived of an ability to choose the leader.

Who will be in May's cabinet?

When will we have a clear plan on the most important project of our age, leaving the EU and establishing a new relationship with it?

I don't expect politics as usual soon.

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