Boris Johnson confirms he will stand in Tory leadership election

Joe Curtis
Follow Joe
David Cameron Continues His Cabinet Reshuffle
Could Boris Johnson win enough support to replace Theresa May at Number 10? (Source: Getty)

Boris Johnson today confirmed he will stand in a Tory leadership election to replace Theresa May.

Read more: Labour hand May a Brexit deal lifeline by refusing to vote down her plan

The former foreign secretary told an insurance conference: “Of course I’m going to go for it.”">

Speaking at the British Insurance Brokers' Association conference, he said: “I’m going to go for it, but there is no vacancy at present.”

Johnson is widely seen as one of the frontrunners to lead the Tory party and potentially become Prime Minister if May resigns.

The PM has vowed to step down if her Brexit deal is passed by parliament.

May will put her deal to MPs in the hope they will approve it at the fourth time of asking in early June.

But reports suggest allies including de facto deputy David Lidington and transport secretary Chris Grayling have no hopes that her deal will get through at all.

International trade secretary Liam Fox has reportedly threatened to lead a walkout from the cabinet if May agrees a customs union Brexit with Labour, though Fox denied the claim.

The Prime Minister is meeting with backbench Tory MPs today as they pressure her to set a date for her departure from 10 Downing Street.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer at the influential Tory backbench 1922 committee, told the Press Association: "It would be infinitely preferable if she set a date rather than us force her out.

"It's better that she does it than we have a vote of confidence.

"What I would like to see is her set out a timetable to trigger a leadership contest.”

May survived a confidence vote in December, meaning she cannot be challenged until this Christmas under party rules.

Johnson and Dominic Raab are considered the leading candidates to replace May if her hand is forced or she chooses to step down.

Other frontrunners include Esther McVey, who has confirmed her intention to stand for leader, and environment secretary Michael Gove.

Read more: Tory leadership race: Who are the leading candidates to replace May?

Gove ran against May for the leadership in the aftermath of the EU referendum in 2016, and was widely seen to have betrayed Johnson by doing so despite them working as allies in the Leave campaign.