Leadsom launches bid to become next Tory leader

Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson

But writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hague said that without a proper plan for dealing with Brexit, the next Prime Minister would head a "sandcastle administration" which would quickly crumble.

The last minister to quit May's Cabinet before the premier announced her own resignation, Leadsom said Brexit must be delivered by the October 31 deadline.

The new leader of the centre-right party - which won the most seats at the last general election in 2017 - will nearly certainly become prime minister, with May remaining in Downing Street in the meantime. While Johnson remains the clear favourite to win the race, he also was in 2016 when he was forced to step down, opening the way for then fringe candidate Theresa May to become leader.

The former foreign secretary resigned from Theresa May's government in July 2018 suggesting that if her Brexit plan were adopted, it would reduce Britain to the "the status of a colony".

It is understood the party will force a vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday, which would - if passed - block a no deal likely frustrating potential Conservative leadership candidates such as Dominic Raab and Esther McVey.

The final choice will then be made by more than 160,000 paying party members.

But hardline Brexiteer Steve Baker attacked the decision, warning Sir Oliver he had brought the party closer to a general election, which he said could "leave the Conservative holding as few as 26 seats".

Andrea Leadsom has launched her bid to be the next leader of the British Conservative Party, vowing to be the one to "get things done".

She ran against Ms May for Tory leader in 2016, quitting the race after receiving harsh criticism for saying motherhood helped make her qualified to lead as opposed to Ms May, who has no children.

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Charismatic and popular among grassroots Conservatives, he is less liked by Conservative MPs sceptical of his bombastic style and chequered track record.

A former supporter of remaining in the European Union, he now backs Brexit but appeals for compromise.

He had however said that the Conservatives under pressure from populist eurosceptic Nigel Farage's Brexit party must live up to expectations of voters or face "annihilation" in the next election.

Gove, again one of his main rivals for the leadership, on Monday taunted Johnson.

Gove apologised but critics accused him of hypocrisy, noting that, in a previous role as education minister, he had signed off on rules to ban teachers for life for taking cocaine. In most cases it involved marijuana, although International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said he smoked opium at a wedding in Iran 15 years ago.

The self-described "underdog" in the contest said he would go back to Brussels to re-negotiate the Northern Ireland backstop.

Several candidates appeared to take aim at Johnson in comments today. The party's roughly 120,000 members will then select the victor in a postal vote next month. The rest of the country is just an add-on, the other, lesser bits that don't matter so much.

Ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, 2016 leadership contender Angela Leadsom and former work and pensions minister Ester McVey are all ardent eurosceptics who insist on Britain leaving the European Union in October.

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