UK Home Secretary Theresa May and former London mayor Boris Johnson are set to declare their candidacies for a crucial Conservative leadership contest to become the next British Prime Minister.
May, who campaigned against the Brexit, will present herself as the unity candidate to bring the divided Tory party and the country back together following Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union.
“Following last week’s referendum, our country needs strong, proven leadership to steer us through this period of economic and political uncertainty, and to negotiate the best possible terms as we leave the European Union,” she told the Times.
May, who has been the Home Secretary since 2010, is anticipated to face Johnson as her main rival.
Johnson was the leading supporter of leaving the EU and will reportedly place Brexit as the heart of his “optimistic vision” for Britain. He said Brexit will be an opportunity to “believe in ourselves and the values of our country.”
The ex-London mayor has reportedly attracted the support of over 100 MPs, mainly from the Leave campaign.
Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb and former Tory minister Liam Fox are also expected to join the leadership race.
The outcome of the Tory leadership contest will be announced on September 9.
The race came after Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation a day after the British voted in the referendum over the country’s membership in the EU. Cameron has been leading the Conservative party for 10 years and has been the British Prime Minister since May 2010.
The UK must invoke Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty in order to set out a two-year timetable for negotiations on withdrawal. Cameron said it is up for the next government to activate Article 50 and begin formal talks for the country’s exit from the bloc.