Ex-London mayor Boris Johnson has ruled himself out of the race to be the next Tory leader and prime minister. The former London mayor made a humiliating exit after the Justice Secretary Michael Gove’s surprise announcement of his own bid.
In a speech billed as his campaign launch, Mr. Boris Johnson said he did not believe he could provide the leadership or unity needed. Nominations shut at noon.
Home Secretary Theresa May is among the candidates. Also in the running are Energy minister Andrea Leadsom and former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb. Liam Fox campaigned to leave the EU while Stephen Crabb backed Remain
The contest came after David Cameron announced he would resign following the EU referendum result, which saw the UK vote by 52% to 48% to leave the EU. Mr Johnson’s unexpected – and dramatic – announcement that he would not stand for Tory leader or prime minister, positions he is long thought to have harboured ambitions for, has dramatically altered the race.
Home Secretary Theresa May, 59, who backed staying in the EU is the favourite to win the contest. She’s held the Home Office brief and is a former Tory party chairman. She says she can offer the “strong leadership” and unity the UK needs, and promised a “positive vision” for the country’s future.
Justice Secretary Michael Gove, 48, a former newspaper columnist was a key figure in the party’s modernisation that led to its return to power in 2010. He was a reforming and now holds the Ministry of Justice brief. He was a front role player in the Brexit campaign.
Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, 43, was promoted to the cabinet in 2014 as Welsh secretary, and boosted his profile earlier this year when he took over as work and pensions secretary. The Tory party rising star has promised to unite the party and country following the referendum result and provide stability. He backed Remain.
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom, 53, fund manager and former banker was a former district councillor, she became MP for South Northamptonshire in 2010 and after serving as a junior Treasury minister and as a member of the Treasury select committee. She also led of the Leave campaign.
Former cabinet minister Liam Fox, 54, ex-defence secretary, who came a close third in the 2005 leadership contest. He is a Brexit campaigner, and on the right of the party, he has said whoever becomes PM must accept “the instruction” of the British people and not “try to backslide” over EU membership.
Just before the deadline for nominations passed, Mr. Boris Johnson said “the next Conservative leader would have to unify his party and ensure that Britain stood tall in the world.” He told reporters.
“Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me,” Mr. Boris Johnson said.