- Boris Johnson confirms that he is “going for” the job of Conservative party leader and prime minister.
- The former Foreign Secretary resigned from Theresa May’s government over Brexit.
- He is the current favorite to succeed the prime minister.
- May could be gone within weeks after deciding to call a fourth vote on her Brexit deal, which she currently looks set to lose.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
LONDON – The former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has confirmed that he will stand to be Conservative party leader and prime minister once Theresa May resigns.
“I’m going to go for it,” Johnson told the BBC journalist Huw Edwards at an event in Manchester on Thursday.
Johnson resigned as May’s Foreign Secretary in 2018 over her Brexit plans and is the current favourite to succeed her in the job.
He joins a growing list of potential contenders to replace May, which includes his fellow Brexiteer Dominic Raab, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid, and the former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey.
Johnson’s intervention comes as May comes under growing pressure to resign from Conservative members of parliament.
The prime minister met with senior Conservative backbenchers on Thursday morning to discuss her plans to make way for a successor,.
Following their meeting, the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, said that May had agreed to set a timetable for her departure, once her Brexit Withdrawal Bill had received its second reading in the House of Commons next month.
Her decision to call the vote on her Brexit deal means that she is now widely expected to be forced to resign within weeks, however.
Both the opposition Labour Party and the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May’s minority government, have vowed to vote the Brexit Withdrawal Bill down in its current form.
Downing Street also hinted on Wednesday that defeat for the bill could lead to her resignation.
Asked whether the vote would be treated as a confidence vote in the prime minister, a spokesman for the PM said at a briefing attended by Business Insider that “clearly the significance of this piece of legislation can’t, and I suspect won’t, be underestimated.”
There is so far little sign that a majority of MPs will back the bill.
Nearly six weeks of cross-party talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, which were designed to find a compromise Brexit plan that opposition MPs could support, have failed to product any significant progress.
Senior Labour figures are wary of Downing Street’s motives for holding talks, while the government has given no indication it is prepared to concede to Labour’s demands for a full customs union.
Conservative opposition to her Brexit plan also appears to have strengthened in recent weeks.
In a further blow to the prime minister’s authority, her formerly loyal advisor Nick Timothy on Thursday called for her to step down. In an article for the Telegraph newspaper, he wrote: “Her premiership has failed, and her authority is shot,” adding that her MPs feel “betrayed and misled.”