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The fire that the British home secretary and Scottish first minister showed on stage at the Women in the World London Summit has been on full display in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the E.U.

E.U. referendum

Amid Brexit vote fallout, Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon emerge as powerbrokers

June 28, 2016

In the fallout from Britain’s vote last Thursday to leave the European Union, two women have emerged as powerful influencers and steadying forces in a highly volatile political landscape.

British home secretary Theresa May may be a favorite among Conservative M.P.s to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron, who resigned last Friday after the referendum results were declared. May maintained a low profile during Cameron’s campaign to remain within the E.U., but her call for withdrawal from the European convention on human rights during the Brexit campaign has led to hope she could become a bridge between Eurosceptics and modernizing wings within the Conservative party, according to The Guardian.

May is considered a more unifying candidate than current favorite to succeed Cameron, former London mayor Boris Johnson. In an Op-Ed for the Daily Beast published Tuesday, Women in the World founder Tina Brown weighed in on the “deeply untruthful” Johnson: “hostile to facts and even more hostile to investigation.”

Conservative candidates will be invited to throw their hats into the ring as early as this week, with the new leader to be announced at the Tory party conference in early October.

On the other side of the debate, the response from Scotland first minister Nicola Sturgeon was swift and firm when the results of the E.U. referendum vote came down. She declared the outcome “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland, which had voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union. On Tuesday, she called on parliament to endorse her government’s exploration of every avenue for staying in the E.U., the New York Times reported. “I want to be clear to Parliament that while I believe independence is the best option for Scotland — I don’t think that will come as a surprise to anyone — it is not my starting point in these discussions,” said the Scottish National Party leader. “My starting point is to protect Scotland’s interests, to protect Scotland’s relationship with the E.U.”

Sturgeon will travel to Brussels this week to confer with European officials.

Watch Theresa May interviewed by Tina Brown at the Women in the World 2015 London Summit:



Watch Nicola Sturgeon interviewed by Sir Harold Evans at the Women in the World 2015 London Summit:




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