Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom win Tory MP vote as Gove eliminated

Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom win Tory MP vote as Gove eliminated

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has backed Theresa May as the Tory leadership candidate saying that she would keep Britain safe as prime minister.

Prime Minister David Cameron said last month that he was stepping down after voters, many of them swayed by concerns over high immigration and a desire to reclaim "independence" from Brussels, rejected his entreaties to keep Britain in the European Union and his warnings that leaving would spell economic disaster.

So the British Conservative Party (the party now in power) held formal elections, and on Tuesday the field narrowed to two candidates: Home Secretary Theresa May and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom.

It comes after the second round of voting among Tory MPs saw Home Secretary Mrs May pick up 199 votes, with Energy Minister Mrs Leadsom receiving 84.

Five Conservative contenders had initially been campaigning for Cameron's post, but that number is now down to two, with results expected to be announced on September 9.

She will be the U.K.'s second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher, who led the country between 1979 and 1990.

The leadership contest was triggered by Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to resign following his Remain campaign's defeat in the June 23 referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union. The justice secretary torpedoed the campaign of former mayor of London Boris Johnson at the last minute last Thursday, withdrawing his support and declaring that he would stand in his place.

Chris Heaton-Harris, who is supporting Leadsom, said her 66 votes show that her candidacy has momentum.

After Mr Gove was eliminated from the race he tweeted: "Thanks to all who supported me".

Home Secretary May is the favorite to succeed Cameron.

Controlling the number of new arrivals to Britain was a major driver for numerous 52 percent of Britons who backed leaving the European Union but Britain may have to accept EU citizens in return for access to the single market.

"They both went to state schools, they are both women, hey, that's pretty quirky for the Tory party".

Leadsom, a relative political novice who entered parliament in 2010, campaigned for the Leave campaign.

She told the BBC that questions about her career record were "ridiculous" and her CV was "all absolutely true". Johnson has since declared his support for Leadsom.