Housing minister Kit Malthouse flies flag for 'new generation' as he becomes tenth Tory to join leadership race
Tory rising star Kit Malthouse has thrown his hat into the ring to become leader of the Conservative Party, promising to inject "fresh new ideas" into the debate.
Mr Malthouse - who served as one of frontrunner Boris Johnson's deputies when he was mayor of London - said he would work to "end the Brexit paralysis" and help draw up a "new social contract" in Britain.
He becomes the tenth candidate to join the race to succeed Theresa May after Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday made his own pitch for the top job.
Mr Malthouse, currently a housing minister and part of the 2015 intake of Tory MPs, brokered the so-called 'Malthouse compromise' Brexit plan.
The proposal, thrashed out between Conservative Remainers and Brexiteers, tried to unite warring Tories behind Theresa May's ill-fated Brexit deal by extending the transition period for leaving the EU to negotiate technology-based "alternative arrangements" to the Northern Ireland backstop.
"With some adjustments, my plan still holds," Mr Malthouse wrote in The Sun. "But while we agonise over Brexit, we must recognise that people’s lives are changing.
"If the Conservative Party is the only thing that stands still, we will struggle for relevance.
"It’s time for a new generation to lead the charge into our future with boldness and vision."
The minister also used his Sun article to pitch himself as a "new face, with fresh new ideas, from a new and talented generation" - and sought to contrast his background with those of his fellow Tory contenders.
"I’m a northern boy who built a business in the Midlands and now represents a stunning part of Hampshire," he said.
"My granddad was a Yorkshire wagon driver, my grandma a teacher, and my mum and dad were the first in their families to go to university.
"My family’s story is one of education, hard work and opportunity, and that’s what I want for everyone."
Mr Malthouse also vowed to do more to boost green technology, tackle youth violence and turn the Conservatives into "the party of well-funded schools" - a thinly-veiled swipe at the Government's current record on education.
According to The Sun, former crime minister Sarah Newton and ex-Number 10 adviser Alex Burghart have already thrown their weight behind Mr Malthouse's bid to become Tory leader.
The paper meanwhile reports that an 11th contender will enter the Conservative battle this week as Brexit minister James Cleverly throws his hat into the ring.
Others to have already declared include Rory Stewart, Esther McVey, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom.