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Nine in running for Tory leadership

Contenders declare their intentions as race hots up

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Michael Gove
Sajid Javid
Matt Hancock
Jeremy Hunt
Dominic Raab
Esther McVey
Rory Stewart
Andrea Leadsom

By Harriet Line

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has become the ninth MP to enter the Conservative leadership race after Theresa May announced her plan to resign last week.

Mr Javid, who has held a range of ministerial posts since his election as MP for Bromsgrove in 2010, said there was a need to "restore trust, bring unity and create new opportunities across the UK".

The 49-year-old, who backed Remain in the referendum but has since positioned himself as a firm Leaver, said: "First and foremost, we must deliver Brexit."

Mr Javid became the first Home Secretary from an ethnic minority when he was appointed in April 2018. The son of a Pakistani bus driver from Rochdale, he was a managing director at Deutsche Bank before being elected to Parliament.

Announcing his intention to stand in a message on Twitter, Mr Javid said: "We need to restore trust, bring unity and create new opportunities across the UK. First and foremost, we must deliver Brexit. Join @TeamSaj to help me do just that #TeamSaj."

Mr Javid joins eight other Tory MPs vying for the top job, including Cabinet colleagues Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove.

Former Cabinet ministers Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Dominic Raab and Boris Johnson have also thrown their hats into the ring to replace Mrs May.

The new Tory leader looks set to take over as prime minister at the end of July after Mrs May finally laid out a timetable for her exit from Downing Street.

The timetable for the contest will mean nominations close in the week of June 10, with MPs involved in a series of votes to whittle down the crowded field to two final contenders. Tory Party members will then decide who wins the run-off.

Mr Johnson - the former foreign secretary and London mayor - is considered by most as the favourite to win the leadership race. The 54-year-old nearly beat Theresa May to the top job in 2016, until Michael Gove decided to scupper his chances.

In a speech in Switzerland on Friday, he was deemed to have vowed to take Britain out of the EU on October 31, "deal or no deal", if he is made PM.

Esther McVey, the former work and pensions secretary who quit Mrs May's Cabinet in protest at her Brexit plan has also said that the UK should be prepared to leave the EU without a deal.

Former Brexit Secretary Mr Raab told the Mail on Sunday he would prefer to leave the EU with a deal, but said the UK must "calmly demonstrate unflinching resolve to leave in October - at the latest".

Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt campaigned for Remain in the 2016 referendum. He battled with doctors as health secretary before his appointment to his current position in July last year, when Mr Johnson quit.

Rory Stewart, the new International Development Secretary, has been scathing of Mr Johnson's stance on Brexit, saying no deal would be "a huge mistake, damaging, unnecessary, and I think also dishonest".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told the BBC that a no-deal Brexit "simply won't be allowed by Parliament" and vowed to take a different approach to try to get Commons support for a Brexit deal than the one Theresa May used.

Former leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom said the UK would quit the EU with or without a deal. She has previously described the UK's continued membership of the EU as "disgusting".

Environment Secretary Michael Gove is running as a self-styled "unity candidate". His intervention is likely to cause concern to current front-runner Boris Johnson, after a spectacular falling-out between the two former allies in the 2016 leadership contest helped destroy both men's chances of the top job.

Belfast Telegraph


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