Theresa May is to become PM promises 'better Britain'

The UK will have its second female prime minister after David Cameron said Interior Minister Theresa May would succeed him.

May, who will be responsible for negotiating Britain's hugely sensitive divorce from the European Union, will have several female peers at the top of global politics once she takes office.

Andrea Leadsom has withdrawn from Britain's Prime Minister race. Source: AAP

The soon-to-be PM promises to build a "better Britain" and to make the UK's EU exit a "success".

Rival Andrea Leadsom had come under fire in recent days over comments which seemed to imply she deserved the PM role more than Ms May as she was a mother.

"Theresa May carries over 60 per cent of support from the parliamentary party," Ms Leadsom said in her statement.

"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."

Boris Johnson, the man many claim inspired the EU exit, has thrown his support behind Ms May to take over from David Cameron who resigned after the EU vote.

"Theresa May will provide the authority and the leadership necessary to unite the Conservative party and take the country forward in the coming weeks and months," he said.

"Andrea’s decision, which is both brave and principled, allows that process to begin immediately. I have no doubt Theresa will make an excellent party leader and prime minister and I’m encouraged that she’s made it clear that Brexit means Brexit - that we will leave the EU."

Boris Johnson. Source: AAP

"It is vital that we respect the will of the people and get on with exploiting new opportunities for this country."

Ms May is currently on her way back to London after launching her campaign in Birmingham. There's speculation the announcement could be made within a matter of hours with Mr Cameron already indicating he will stand aside to help the country move forward outside of the EU.

Women holding power worldwide

- GERMANY: Angela Merkel became Germany's first woman chancellor when she was elected in 2005 and has led Europe's biggest economy ever since, gaining a third four-year term in December 2013.

- BANGLADESH: Sheikh Hasina became prime minister in January 2009. She previously held the post between 1996 and 2001.

- NORWAY: Erna Solberg was elected at legislative elections in September 2013, becoming the country's second female prime minister.

- NAMIBIA: Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was named prime minister in March 2015 by president Hage Geingob, becoming the country's first woman head of government.

- POLAND: Beata Szydlo of the conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) was named prime minister in November, 2015, succeeding another woman, Ewa Kopacz.

- MYANMAR: The Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi became state counsellor, the de facto prime minister, after November 2015 elections.

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