More Tory MPs Join Unpredictable Race To Replace Boris Johnson
The race to succeed Boris Johnson as Tory party leader and Prime Minister is quickly widening with numerous MPs throwing their hat in the ring in what is set to be an unpredictable contest.
Rehman Chishti, the party's vice chairman, is the latest senior MP to confirm that he is considering a bid, telling PoliticsHome that the country needs a leader "who best reflects modern Britain".
The MP for Gillingham and Rainham told PoliticsHome: "As someone who came to our great country at the age of six not speaking a word of English, first in the family to go to university and qualify as a barrister at 24, and a Conservative MP past 12 years, our country is a land of opportunity for all and I want every one to get the best chance in life.
"An inclusive government which is based on merit.
"In the coming days I will be reflecting on how best I can serve our country with my own experience and background having been a parliamentarian for over 12 years. Our country and party needs new ideas and fresh leadership."
Attorney General Suella Braverman and Tom Tugenhadt, who chairs the foreign affairs select committee, have both confirmed that they will run to succeed Johnson when the contest gets underway next week.
Several high-profile Conservatives are set to announce their candidacies in the coming days.
Former chancellor Rishi Sunak, his successor Nadhim Zahawi, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, and minister Penny Mordaunt are all expected to compete.
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has dropped several big hints that he would like another shot at becoming Prime Minister after losing out to Johnson in 2019. Back in January, Hunt told The House that his ambition to be PM hadn't "completely vanished".
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is also mulling a bid, with Conservative MP Robert Courts last night telling BBC Newsnight that he was backing him to be the next Prime Minister.
Sajid Javid, who was the first Cabinet minister to resign in the ministerial revolt against Johnson's leadership this week, is also seriously considering another bid to get into 10 Downing Street.
Influential pro-Brexit MP Steve Baker has also said he is weighing up a leadership bid.
PoliticsHome exclusively reported on Thursday that ex-minister Jake Berry is seriously mulling a surprise tilt at the top job. Berry leads the Northern Research Group of Conservative MPs in the north of England and has been urged to put himself forward by a number of them.
PoliticsHome also understands that Kemi Badenoch, an ex-minister who is considered to be a rising star in the Tory party, is also taking soundings on whether to run.
The Tory party's 1922 Committee will meet next week to determine how the leadership contest will work, with Conservative MPs keen for Johnson's successor to be chosen as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister has indicated that he will remain in 10 Downing Street in a caretaker capacity until the autumn, after confirming his plan to resign on Thursday.
A large number of Tory MPs want him out of Downing Street before then, however – potentially in early September.
The committee is expected to decide that Conservative MPs will vote to whittle down the candidates to just two names by the summer recess on 21 July. It may also decide to raise the number of nominations a hopeful must receive in order to compete.
Those two candidates would then take part in hustings throughout the summer before Tory party members choose the winner.
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