Even Dominic Raab joins Operation Stop Boris: Wannabe PM implies his fellow Brexiteer Johnson is not a ‘details man’ as leadership contenders Gove, Hunt, Stewart and Hancock ALL blast the front-runner
- Dominic Raab set out his stall as the serious Brexit candidate for the Tory leadership this morning
- He repeated his credentials as a ‘details man’ mentioning his time as a lawyer
- The former Brexit Secretary told the BBC he would not take No Deal off the table
- He joins Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom, and Esther McVey as hard-Brexit candidates for the leadership
- Meanwhile Rory Stewart and Matt Hancock argued against a no-deal Brexit and Chancellor Philip Hammond even hinted he would vote with Labour to prevent it
In a softly-spoken pitch for the Tory leadership this morning, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC‘s Andrew Marr ‘I’m a details guy’ three times in an apparent side-swipe at his boisterous leadership rival Boris Johnson.
He joined Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart and Matt Hancock in veiled attacks on Mr Johnson, his policy positions, or his work ethic, as the campaign against the Tory front-runner intensified.
Despite insisting he would not be bad-mouthing any fellow Conservatives, Mr Raab’s repetition of his eye for the fine print – he also mentioned his years as a lawyer and in the Foreign Office, twice – will be seen as an attempt to position himself as the ‘serious’ hard-Brexit candidate.
Mr Raab said he would not request an extension on the Brexit departure date, blaming the outgoing PM for not being ‘resolute’ enough in her negotiations.
What are the odds? Bookies make Boris the favourite and Cameron a 200/1 long shot
Bookmakers Willian Hill are offering odds on dozens of Tory MPs and MEPs to be next party leader. Of those who have said they’ll run the odds are:
Boris Johnson: 13/8
Domin Raab: 4/1
Michael Gove: 5/1
Jeremy Hunt: 10/1
Rory Stewart: 14/1
Andrea Leadsom: 16/1
Matt Hancock: 25/1
Esther McVey: 66/1
Tories who are know to be considering a run are at longer odds, including Penny Mordaunt at 22/1, and Sajid Javid and 1922 Committee Chairman Graham Brady, both at 25/1.
Punters can also bet on big names highly unlikely to stand, including:
Jacob Reed-Mogg: 66/1
Dan Hannan: 200/1
David Cameron: 200/1
Chris Grayling: 250/1
He blamed a lack of ‘resolution’ among the UK government team for the Brexit impasse, and said as Brexit secretary he had been ‘undermined’ by others in the government.
He said: ‘We took no deal off the table. I don’t want a WTO Brexit, but if w’re not willing to walk away from a negotiation it doesn’t focus the mind of the other side.’
He said among his demands would be an end date for the Northern Irish backstop.
He told the BBC that as PM he would not ask for an extension to Britain’s departure on October 31, but denied he was the No Deal candidate, saying he would be the candidate to put Britain in the ‘best position to leave with a deal’.
He estimated that £25bn of the £39bn saved in a no deal would be available to give as a boost to British business to help ‘support British business through the transition’.
He said: ‘I don’t think we were resolute enough … it’s become a miserly, dour, risk-management exercise rather than grasping the opportunity to take back control of our laws, our borders, and our money – and also to have the global advantage and opportunities that free trade brings.’
Grammar school alumnus Mr Raab said his leadership of the party, and of the country, would include ‘fighting for a fairer society’ where ‘a kid from a humble home gets their shot’.
This morning Brexiteer Michael Gove, who famously torpedoed Boris Johnson’s leadership bid in 2016 to run himself, announced that he is to have another attempt at becoming prime minister.
Speaking outside his home The Environment Secretary said: ‘I can confirm that I will be putting my name forward to be prime minister of this country.
‘I believe that I’m ready to unite the Conservative and Union Party, ready to deliver Brexit, and ready to lead this great country.’
Just minutes before Boris Johnson’s planned launch of his own campaign during the 2016 leadership race his close ally Mr Gove entered the race himself, quitting as Johnson’s campaign chairman and insisting the former Mayor of London was unfit to be leader.
Johnson, who is popular with the Tory grassroots and is perceived as the favourite to succeed the embattled Theresa May, has come under fire from Gove who reportedly claims to be more ‘capable’ and have the better ‘track record’.
In a BBC podcast, Gove will say that ‘it is not enough for them [next leader] to just believe in Brexit. The next leader must respect it, believe in it and, crucially, have the wherewithal to deliver it,’ according to the Sunday Times.
Michael Gove joined fellow Tories in implying Mr Johnson did not have the work ethic for the top job, stressing the new leader must have the ‘wherewithal’ to deliver Brexit
Theresa May announced her resignation on Friday and will step down on June 7.
Parliamentary party members will begin whittling down the field of contenders to a final two from June 10.
The finalists will then be put to a postal ballot of 100,000 party members in July. Mrs May will stay on as Prime Minister until the new leader is chosen.
The list of candidates to replace her already including Johnson, Gove, Raab and Andrea Leadsom from the Brexit wing of the party as well as Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who campaigned for Remain but has since reversed his stance.
The field grew further on Saturday when moderates Health Secretary Matt Hancock and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart entered the race.
Brexit moderates Matt Hancock (l) and Rory Stweart (r) have also entered the leadership race
Leaving the European Union without an agreement is ‘not an active policy choice that is available to the next prime minister,’ Hancock told Sky News.
Mr Johnson has said the UK under his leadership would leave the EU in OCtober ‘deal or no deal.
And International Development Secretary Rory Stewart is also positioning himself as a more consensus-seeking alternative to Johnson.
‘It now seems that (Johnson) is coming out for a no-deal Brexit,’ Stewart told BBC radio.
‘I think it would be a huge mistake. Damaging, unnecessary, and I think also dishonest.’
Chancellor Philip Hammond warned that Johnson’s stated plan to take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal would be blocked by Parliament – and even suggested he might be prepared to vote to bring down a Johnson government which tried to do so.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond told Andre Marr that ‘daring’ Parliament to oppose a no deal Brexit would be a ‘very dangerous strategy’
Mr Hammond, a strong opponent of a no deal exit, told the BBC this morning that that No Deal would have ‘serious implication for our country’, adding: ‘Parliament has voted very clearly to oppose a no deal exit.
‘This is a Parliamentary democracy. A Prime Minister who ignores Parliament cannot expect to survive very long.’
He added: ‘Going to Parliament with a hard line, absolutist view, and daring Parliament to accept it, is quite a dangerous strategy.’
He also warned he might even be prepared to take the drastic step of voting to bring down a future Conservative government in order to avoid no-deal.
Asked if whether he would vote against the Government on a no-deal withdrawal if he were a backbencher in the autumn, the Chancellor said: ‘I would certainly not support a strategy to take us out with no deal.’
On whether he would vote against the Government in a confidence motion in the circumstance of no deal, Mr Hammond said: ‘It’s a hypothetical question because I don’t know what the confidence motion is.
‘What I would say is that in 22 years in Parliament, I have never voted against the Conservative whip, unlike many of my colleagues, and I don’t want to have to start now contemplating such a course of action.’
He added: ‘I don’t want to be put in that situation. So my focus will be trying to ensure that I don’t find myself facing that challenge.’
Asked again if he could vote against the Government on a confidence motion, the Chancellor said: ‘I’m saying this is a very difficult situation. It would challenge not just me, but many of our colleagues, and I hope we will never get to that position.’
Former House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, whose resignation on Thursday pushed May towards stepping down, has also confirmed she will run.
She told reporters outside her home this lunchtime she believed she was the ‘decisive and compassionate leader’ who could unite the country.
She refused to speculate on which other candidates she could or could not work with saying she would set out her own stall for running the country once the campaign gets underway.
Asked if she would be prepared to leave without a deal she said: ‘Of course in order to be able to succeed in a negotiation you have to be prepared to leave without a deal.
‘But I have a three- point plan for Brexit, for how we get out of the European Union, I’m very optimistic about it.’