Developed By: iNFOTYKE
London: At least eight candidates have joined the fray to battle it out to take over the reins from British Prime Minister Theresa May as the UK’s ruling Conservative Party leadership contest gets underway.
May had announced her resignation earlier this week and is set to formally step down as Tory leader and PM on June 7, after a three-day state visit to the UK by US President Donald Trump.
The formal segment of the party leadership contest will then kick off on June 10, but prospective candidates have already begun laying out their bids for the top job.
While hard Brexiteer Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, is seen as the frontrunner to succeed May, the contest still remains wide open to at least seven other contenders.
UK environment secretary Michael Gove became the latest Tory MP to announce his intention to challenge Johnson on Sunday.
“I can confirm that I will be putting my name forward to be prime minister of this country. I believe that I’m ready to unite the Conservative and Union Party, ready to deliver Brexit, and ready to lead this great country,” he told reporters outside his home in London on Sunday.
Gove’s decision is reminiscent of the 2016 leadership race, when he was accused of betraying Johnson by withdrawing his support for him and choosing to contest himself. It led to Johnson withdrawing his bid and Gove went on to lose out in the party ballot, resulting in May being chosen for the post.
Among some of the other contenders eyeing Downing Street include the former Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, and former Commons leader Andrea Leadsom – both of whom confirmed their leadership bids in different Sunday newspapers.
They joined UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, international development secretary Rory Stewart, health secretary Matt Hancock, and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, in the battle.
All the leadership contenders must make their position on Brexit clear to their electors – the 313 Tory MPs who choose a shortlist and the 124,000 party members who will have the ultimate say on the final two contenders who will go head to head in the race. (PTI)