Boris Johnson finally admits 'of course' he will stand in Tory leadership contest to replace Theresa May

BORIS Johnson has finally admitted today "of course" he will stand in the Tory leadership contest to replace Theresa May.

The ex-Foreign Secretary will run when the Prime Minister quits, the BBC reports.

Speaking at a business event in Manchester, Mr Johnson said: "Of course I'm going to go for it."

The arch-Eurosceptic ex-London mayor was immediately installed as bookies' favourite to win the leadership race.

It comes as a tearful Mrs May said she will resign before the end of July, but refused to name a date.

She is planning to quit after Parliament votes on her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, even if she loses a fourth time.

LEADERSHIP RACE

On Thursday, Mrs May held crunch talks with top Tories as party grandees call for her to step down.

Members of the influential 1922 Committee said MPs had "very frank" 90-minute discussions with the embattled PM.

Despite not setting her departure date, Mrs May said she will meet 1922 Committee chairman Sir Grahm Brady after the Bexit vote in the first week of June.

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and ex-Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey have already thrown their hat in the ring.

Andrea Leadsom said she is "considering" standing as leader.

Tory heavy hitters also tipped to make a bid for Number 10 include Michael Gove, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss.

MAY'S BREXIT BATTLE

Last July, Mr Johnson quit from Mrs May's Cabinet in protest at her Chequers Brexit plan.

He compared Mrs May's blueprint on leaving the EU to a "suicide vest" and remains an outspoken critic of her Brexit stance.

Mr Johnson's decision to stand comes ahead of this month's European elections.

Polls show the Conservatives set to crash to a catastrophic set of results from May 23, which Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party surging ahead.

Mr Johnson was one of the leading lights in the 2016 Leave campaign before the referendum on leaving the EU.

The controversial MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip is a huge favourite among Conservative Party members.

But he was dealt a blow after fellow Leave backer and campaign manager Michael Gove stood against him in a 2016 leadership race.

 

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