Boris Johnson confirms he will run to be the next Tory leader
Boris Johnson has confirmed that he will run to be the next leader of the Conservative Party once Theresa May stands down.
The Brexiteer has been touted among the favourites to take over from the Prime Minister, who he has been a staunch critic of since resigning as Foreign Secretary nearly a year ago.
Mrs May has confirmed that she will stand aside once she has delivered the first phase of the Brexit negotiations, which is currently deadlocked after the Commons failed to back her withdrawal deal on three occasions.
Rebel Tory MPs, including Mr Johnson, have refused to row behind her agreement, citing the unacceptability of the backstop arrangement – which would keep the UK tied to a customs union with the EU until an alternative solution on keeping an open border in Ireland is found.
Asked at a business event in Manchester if he would be a candidate, the former London mayor replied: "Of course I'm going to go for it."
Last month, a Conservative Home poll of Tory members on their preferred successor to Mrs May showed Mr Johnson had an eighteen-point lead over his nearest rival, the former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey have also announced that they will mount challenges for the top job.
Mr Raab is also expected to run, while Cabinet ministers including Michael Gove, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss are tipped to put forward bids.
Downing Street confirmed yesterday that MPs will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at the beginning of June, in what could be Mrs May's last chance to get her deal through.
The PM has been in talks with Jeremy Corbyn since the beginning of last month in a bid to find a compromise agreement, however hopes of a breakthrough appear to be fading.