POLITICS
25/05/2019 10:22 BST | Updated 25/05/2019 12:28 BST

Matt Hancock Declares He Is Standing To Be The Next Tory Leader

“Yes. I’m going to run to be the next prime minister”

Reuters

The race is on to succeed Theresa May as more candidates announce their bid for the Conservative Party crown.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is the fifth Tory to declare he will stand for the  leadership, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Yes. I’m going to run to be the next prime minister”.

Hancock, 40, said he would take a different approach to try and get Commons support for a Brexit deal than the one Theresa May used.

He said: “She didn’t start by levelling with people about the trade-offs.

“I think it is much, much easier to bring people together behind a proposal if you are straightforward in advance.”

Health Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd ruled herself out of the contest, telling the programme: “I would be very concerned about somebody who is too enthusiastic about no deal.

“It is very important that whoever takes this on looks for a solution and tries to work to find where the majority of the House (of Commons) is.”

More than a dozen Tories are understood to be considering a bid, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt indicating he will be in the race and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey putting herself forward “as a future leader”.

Hunt, MP for South West Surrey heavily hinted he would join the race to replace May, telling his local newspaper the Farnham Herald: “I’ll make the announcement on my own candidacy at the appropriate time.”

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

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

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

Reuters
Amber Rudd has ruled herself out

Tory party members will then decide who wins the run-off.

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 Johnson in Government again.

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

Hosting a radio call-in on LBC, McVey said: “I’ll put my hands up here, I better declare an interest straight away. I have put myself forward as a future leader.”

And 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.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove – who stood in the 2016 leadership race and may consider another bid – said May “deserves our respect and gratitude”.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who had a “frank” discussion with May about her deal on Thursday, said “nobody could have worked harder or had a greater sense of public duty”.