Top Tory MP quits powerful post to mull leadership bid after Theresa May confirms exit date
A top Tory MP today quit his job as chair of a powerful backbench committee as he confirmed he was mulling a bid for Downing Street.
Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the commanding 1922 Committee, announced the move just hours after Theresa May revealed she would quit on 7 June.
In his role on the parliamentary body, Mr Brady steered the Prime Minister out of office after her authority over her warring backbenches fell apart.
He told the Press Association he had been "approached by a number of colleagues" asking him to stand in the upcoming race, which is set to formally begin once the PM quits as Tory leader.
“Therefore I have taken the decision to stand down from the position of chairman of the 1922 Committee in order to ensure a fair and transparent election process," he said.
“I am considering the approaches I have received and will make a further statement in due course. I informed Number 10 and the chairman of the Conservative party of this this morning.”
Speculation was sparked this morning when a statement about the upcoming Tory leadership contest was put out in the name of other 1922 Committee figures.
In it, Tory chairman Brandon Lewis and 1922 vice-chairs Dame Cheryl Gillan and Charles Walker said none of them would stand in the race or support any candidates.
Mrs May said she will step down as Tory leader on 7 June, paving the way for a leadership contest to commence the following week.
HUNT CONFIRMS HE WILL STAND
Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt has also confirmed he will fight for the Tory leadership at a family festival in his Surrey constituency.
According to the Farnham Herald, the Foreign Secretary broke the news at his ‘political update’ talk at the funday in Haslemere, telling a packed audience it was “only right that my party constituency should be the first to know”.
But asked by the local media what he would like to say as a leadership contender, Mr Hunt said: “I’ll make the announcement on my own candidacy at the appropriate time.
“I think this is a day to remember Theresa May, her duty, sense of public service, the fact that she has done an incredibly difficult job with enormous integrity and I think that’s what people up and down the country will be thinking today.
“Her passion was to deliver the referendum result. That will now be someone else’s responsibility and whoever succeeds in doing that will know she lay the foundations.”
BORIS 'BEST AND WORST' PM CONTENDER
According to fresh polling by YouGov, 42% of the public believe Mr Hunt would not make a good Prime Minister, while just 13% said he would be up to the job.
Boris Johnson topped the chart as being the most and least popular contender for Prime Minister, at 28% and 54% respectively.
Meanwhile, Sajid Javid followed the former London mayor with 19% of participants trusting him to be a good Prime Minister.
Newly-appointed International Development Secretary Rory Stewart appeared the most unknown by voters, scoring 70% of people who “don’t know enough about this person to say” whether he would be a good leader.
The leadership race will formally begin in the week beginning 10 June, with a new Prime Minister expected to be in place by the middle of July.