Race to replace Prime Minister Theresa May May heats up with UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove announcing candidacy

Britain's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove arrives for continuing Brexit talks at the Cabinet office in Lond...

Britain's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove arrives for continuing Brexit talks at the Cabinet office in London on May 7, 2019. (AFP photo)
UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a prominent member of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, has officially launched his bid to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, joining a crowded  race to take reigns of the country ahead of its pending exit from the European Union.

Gove said he would run for the premiership on Sunday, two days days after May announced she would quit on June 7 over her inability to unite the country behind her Brexit agreement with the EU.

Gove, a pro-Brexit politician and a main backer of May in her three years of negotiations with the EU, said he would run for the post on a campaign of trying to unite the Tory party.

“I can confirm that I will be putting my name forward to be prime minister of this country,” he told reporters outside his house, adding, “I believe that I’m ready to unite the Conservative and Unionist Party, ready to deliver Brexit, and ready to lead this great country.”

Gove’s bid for leadership could seriously affect chances of former foreign minister Boris Johnson to become the next prime minister.

In fact, Gove withdrew his support for Johnson’s leadership of the Tory party after former prime minister David Cameron resigned following the June 2016 Beixt referendum. He has also challenged Johnson’s position on government’s Brexit strategy.

Gove and Johnson are faced fierce competition from Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who both announced in Sunday papers they will run for the post.

Other notable figures vying to replace May include Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Conservative-dominated House of Commons, whose resignation from the cabinet on Wednesday was what observers say prompted May to finally step down after facing immense pressure from inside and outside of her own party.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and former work and pension minister Esther McVey are also among the main contenders.

The next leader of the Conservative Party will be elected in July in a postal ballot of 100,000 party members. The vote will be on two final candidates chosen by party members from the current pool of candidates.

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