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Race for new PM begins: Matt Hancock latest to join Tories vying for leadership | UK News



Matt Hancock is the latest MP to join the race to replace Theresa May as prime minister.

Others senior Conservatives also expected to challenge frontrunner Boris Johnson in the contest.

Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Yes. I’m going to run to be the next prime minister.”

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed he will run after Mrs May tearfully resigned outside 10 Downing Street on Friday.

Jeremy Hunt has announced his bid to become prime minister following Theresa May's resignation

May’s leadership ends in tears

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey have also put themselves forward.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has ruled herself out of the contest, and Environment Secretary Michael Gove has refused to be drawn on whether he will be entering the race.

When he asked by Sky News if he wanted the “top job”, Mr Gove said: “I think it’s really important that all of us recognise that the prime minister has done a great job for this country.

“It was always difficult, and it was moving to see the prime minister speak as she did.”

Mr Gove stood in the 2016 leadership race which was won by Mrs May.

Michael Gove quizzed by Sky News

Michael Gove refuses to be drawn on whether he will enter the race

Sir Graham Brady quit as the leader of the 1922 Committee – a position which gave him a significant role in the prime minister’s departure – in order to consider a leadership bid.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, a potential leadership candidate, said he had a “frank” discussion with Mrs May about her Brexit deal on Thursday.

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He added that “nobody could have worked harder or had a greater sense of public duty”.

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

Former foreign secretary Mr Johnson, who has emerged as the bookies’ favourite, stressed he would be prepared to back a no-deal Brexit to ensure the UK leaves the EU on 31 October.

Nominations for the leadership contest will close in the week of 10 June, with MPs involved in a series of votes to whittle down what is set to be a crowded field to a final two contenders.

Tory party members will then decide who wins, which the party hopes will happen by the end of June.

Hustings will take place around the UK, before votes are cast in time for the result before parliament goes to recess in the summer. These could be open to non-members, according to a statement put out by party chairman Brandon Lewis, and Cheryl Gillan, and Charles Walker, vice-chairmen of the 1922 committee.

The UK is still due to leave the European Union on 31 October, but parliament has yet to approve the terms.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd outside Downing Street
Amber Rudd has ruled herself out of the leadership race

Remain-backing Ms Rudd told the Daily Telegraph: “I am conscious the Conservative Party wants someone who they believe is very enthusiastic about Brexit.

“There are all sorts of plans I would like to have when we do leave the European Union but I don’t think it is my time at the moment.”

The cabinet minister made it clear she would not have a problem working with Mr Johnson in the government again.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mrs May’s replacement should call an immediate general election.

Meanwhile, US president Donald Trump, who will make a state visit to the UK in the last days of Mrs May’s leadership, has praised the prime minister.

He said: “I feel badly for Theresa. I like her very much. She is a good woman. She worked very hard.

“She is very strong. She decided to do something that some people were surprised at. Some people weren’t.

“It’s for the good of her country. But, I like her very much.

“In fact, I’ll be seeing her in two weeks.”

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