Boris Johnson has said he will run for the Conservative Party leadership after Theresa May stands down.Asked at a business event in Manchester if he would be a candidate, the former foreign secretary replied: “Of course I’m going to go for it.”Mrs May has said she will resign once the House of Commons backs her Brexit deal with the EU.Former London mayor Mr Johnson was quoted as acknowledging there was no current vacancy in Downing Street.Several senior Conservatives are expected to enter the contest for the leadership, with the winner also becoming prime minister.International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey have announced they will run and Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has said she is “considering” doing so. The widely touted possible contenders include former and current members of the Cabinet, including Michael Gove, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss.
Theresa May under pressure to name departure date
Brexit: Theresa May has set herself a huge test
Meanwhile, Mrs May has held talks with senior Conservative MPs who are demanding she sets a date for her departure from Downing Street.Her withdrawal agreement with the EU has been rejected three times by the Commons.MPs are due to debate and vote in early June on the withdrawal bill, which would implement Mrs May’s Brexit plan.
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Media captionConservatives jostling to be the next prime minister
Mr Johnson, a leading figure in the Leave campaign during the 2016 referendum, resigned from the cabinet last year in protest at the terms of the agreement.In a Conservative leadership contest, MPs hold a series of ballots, with the candidate gaining the fewest votes eliminated at each stage.Once the field is reduced to two, the winner is chosen by a vote of party members. This wider vote did not occur in 2016, when Mrs May became leader, after the second-placed candidate among MPs – Mrs Leadsom – stood aside.