Former Cabinet ministers Andrea Leadsom and Dominic Raab confirm bids to be next Tory leader
Former Cabinet ministers Andrea Leadsom and Dominic Raab have joined the race to succeed Theresa May as Conservative leader and Prime Minister.
Ms Leadsom, who resigned as Commons Leader last week in protest at Mrs May’s Brexit agreement, said she was prepared to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal.
Meanwhile former Brexit Secretary Mr Raab told the Mail on Sunday he would prefer to leave the EU with a deal but that the UK must quit the bloc no later than the current 31 October deadline.
The pair, who both supported Brexit at the 2016 referendum, are the sixth and seventh MPs to put themselves forward for the top job after Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart, Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson and Esther McVey all did so.
Mrs Leadsom told the Sunday Times she would put “significant effort” into trying to find a “deal that we can all live with” but added: “I think any policy needs to be that that is the date of our departure.”
The 2016 leadership contender added that she would introduce a citizens’ rights bill to resolve uncertainty facing EU nationals, with further agreements on issues such as reciprocal healthcare and Gibraltar.
Mr Raab said Britain appeared "stuck in the mud, humiliated by Brussels and incapable of finding a way forward".
“The prime minister has announced her resignation. It’s time for a new direction," he wrote.
And he added: "We should keep the arm of friendship extended to our European neighbours.
"Over the long-term, both sides will want to build a new partnership. But we must also calmly demonstrate unflinching resolve to leave when the extension to negotiations ends in October - at the latest."
The Environment Secretary is reportedly telling MPs that he is a "unity" candidate with the "vision" and proven "grip" over departments that will see him deliver Brexit and boost the Tories’ fortunes in the polls.