Theresa May will be confident but cautious

Theresa May Image copyright PA

Theresa May can be confident that her name is going to be on the Conservative leadership ballot, with two names going out to party members around the country.

The home secretary sailed further ahead than her camp predicted, and with the backing of Liam Fox and Stephen Crabb, she's secured the support of more than half of all Tory MPs.

The Westminster race is now between energy minister Andrea Leadsom and Justice Secretary Michael Gove.

They both campaigned vigorously to leave the EU, and that contest could become nasty. One minister predicted "the Brexiteers might end up eating themselves".

But once that is settled, in an MPs' vote on Thursday, Theresa May can be less confident in the race around the country.

She is widely respected and admired by activists, but they are broadly a Eurosceptic bunch.

Her team is buoyant tonight, but she is by nature a careful and cautious politician. She'll be resisting the temptation to believe the result is anything like a foregone conclusion.

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