Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom face off to become second ever female UK Prime Minister as Michael Gove is knocked out of race

By Victoria Craw

Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom are in the running to become the next UK Prime Minister. Photo / AP
Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom are in the running to become the next UK Prime Minister. Photo / AP

Vote leave campaigner Michael Gove has been forced out of the running to become the next UK Prime Minister, leaving Home Secretary Theresa May and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom in the running.

The winner will become the country's second female leader after Margaret Thatcher and will be announced on September 9 after a postal vote from 150,000 Conservative Party members around the country.

Mrs May won the support of 199 MPs in the second round of voting with Andrea Leadsom taking 84 votes and Michael Gove 46.

It's a blow for the Vote Leave leader who had previously knifed Boris Johnson in order to run himself. Mr Johnson got his own revenge by throwing his support behind Mrs Leadsom.

The result sets up an intense battle for the top job between the two women who come from different sides of the EU campaign.

Mrs May voted Remain and kept a low profile throughout but has banked on her experience as Home Secretary to portray an image as a steady and capable leader who can unify the party.

Mrs Leadsom was a high-profile Vote Leave voice and has said Article 50 should be triggered "as soon as possible" and has secured the support of controversial UKIP donor Arron Banks.

Boris Johnson threw his weight behind Leadsom rather than Gove. Photo / AP
Boris Johnson threw his weight behind Leadsom rather than Gove. Photo / AP

"My CV is entirely accurate"

The news came as Mrs Leadsom was forced to defend her background amid claims that she had misrepresented her economic expertise on her CV.

Her supporters have previously claimed despite never serving in cabinet she had 25 years in financial services with experience managing "hundreds of people and billions of pounds" during long stints at Barclays and Invesco Perpetual.

On Thursday she went on a media blitz to say her CV was "entirely accurate" and she had never claimed to manage funds herself, only the teams that managed the money.

"My CV is incredibly varied and it's all absolutely true," she told the BBC adding that she wanted an "honourable campaign."

Mrs Leadsome has also come under fire for refusing to publish her tax returns but said she was taking a stand for colleagues to ensure such actions did not become expected. She promised to do so if she reached the final two of the leadership race.

Michael Gove has been forced out of the running to become the next UK Prime Minister. Photo / AP
Michael Gove has been forced out of the running to become the next UK Prime Minister. Photo / AP

Her decision to publish the CV follows a blog from former Invesco Perpetual colleague Robert Stephens called "Was Andrea Leadsom really such a city hotshot?"

"She did not manage any teams, large or small, and she certainly did not manage any funds," he wrote.

Mr Stephens claimed he prompted her into editing her Wikipedia page to change the title Chief Investment Officer to Senior Investment Officer and Head of Corporate Governance which was her actual job at the company.

"Her actual job was to work (sometimes part-time) on "special projects", mostly for the Chief Investment Officer. These included for example negotiating pay terms for senior fund managers. Towards the end of her time, she advised on a couple of governance issues," he wrote.

Ms Leadsom said she did not remember working with him.

Despite attempts to put the issue to rest with her latest CV, it still leaves some questions unanswered, including why it says "Deputy Financial Institutions Director" at Barclays on her CV and Financial Institutions Director on her official biography.

Past roles in family-linked companies have also been omitted, The Guardianreports.

Prior to the 23 June vote Leadsom had made much of her economic insight as proof there would be no disastrous consequences from Brexit.

"As someone who spent 25 years working in finance, four years scrutinising the Treasury as a backbencher, and then two years first as City minister, now as Energy Minister, I've seen at first hand the economic cycles, the disasters and triumphs," she wrote in UK financial paper City AM.

"These experiences tell me that the UK has an outstanding future as a free trading global leader if we vote to leave the European Union on 23 June."

- news.com.au

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