Boris Johnson says he will not stand as Conservative Party leader.
Announcing at a press conference he will not stand in the running, Johnson said: “Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances of Parliament I have concluded that person cannot be me.”
Boris Johnson's 'punchline' – he's out! https://t.co/uQ6rk1uzK5
— Zoe Catchpole (@mazoe) June 30, 2016
Johnson’s step down comes after fellow Brexit campaigner Michael Gove made the shock announcement that he was putting himself forward for the leadership.
By politely suggesting that Johnson cannot provide real leadership or build a united team, Gove essentially led to Johnson’s decision not to take part, according to BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith.
Norman says Boris Johnson ‘who probably won the Brexit campaign’ by giving it the leadership, ‘now recognises that he has become toxic to large swathes of the country’.
Johnson did not name who he believes should be Tory leader, but the contenders for the Conservative leadership have been announced as Theresa May, Michael Gove, Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox, and Andrea Leadsom.
But it seems like Home Secretary Theresa May – who took a low-key role in the Remain campaign – is now the hot favourite to be the next Prime Minister.
BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith says people are still ‘flabbergasted’ by Boris Johnson’s decision not to take part in the Conservative party leadership campaign, the BBC reports.
People in tears at Boris event – his MP supporters utterly flabbergasted
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) June 30, 2016
He said: “The likelihood, but not the inevitably, it could come down to Theresa May and Michael Gove.”
Whoever becomes the next Tory leader though, the consensus seems to be that everyone is just happy Boris isn’t in the running.
And they’ve not been afraid to brand him as a coward:
Talk about stirring up the swarm and then high-tailing it for the hills. Glad #Boris not standing, but open-mouthed at his cowardice.
— Mel Hunter (@MelHunterwrites) June 30, 2016
— SharonAvraham (@Sharonavraham) June 30, 2016
— Kris Farrow (@Farrok1993) June 30, 2016
The first ballot of MPs will be held on Tuesday.