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Theresa May: Honoured to become leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister

9Theresa May is “enormously honoured” to be the Prime Minister-in-waiting after Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the Conservative leadership race, Chris Grayling has said.

Mrs May has yet to make a public statement following her rival’s sudden decision to quit, but Mr Grayling – the Home Secretary’s campaign manager – said she was ready to lead Britain forward following the Brexit vote.

Speaking outside Parliament and back by other May supporters, Mr Grayling said: “Theresa is currently on her way back to London from Birmingham and she will be making a statement later today.

“But upon her behalf I would just like to say that she is enormously honoured to have been entrusted with this task by so many of her parliamentary colleagues.

As Andrea Leadsom’s statement made clear this morning, now is the time for us to united as a party and get on with the job of doing everything that we can to secure a strong and successful and prosperous future for our country.

“I know – we all know – that Theresa will do everything that she can to equip our country for the challenges that lie ahead.”

Mr Grayling also paid tribute to Mrs Leadsom, who announced shortly after 12pm that she was withdrawing from the vote to be the next leader of the Conservative party.

He said: “Can I start, on behalf of Theresa May and on behalf of everyone involved in Theresa’s campaign team, by thanking and by paying warm tribute to Andrea Leadsom.

“Her actions this morning have shown what a principled and decent politican she is to put the interest of the country before her own.”

Mrs Leadsom’s decision to stand down means there will be no election to replace David Cameron as Tory leader, but it remains for the Conservative Party to formally confirm Mrs May’s elevation.