Stephen Crabb launches bid for Conservative leadership with Sajid Javid as his number two
STEPHEN Crabb is to launch a bid for the Conservative leadership – on a joint ticket with Sajid Javid as his number two.
The work and pensions secretary and business secretary have teamed up in what he dubbed a "blue collar ticket" to take on favourites Boris Johnson and Theresa May.
They have recruited Jeremy Wright, the Attorney General, as campaign manager and will formally announce their bid on Wednesday morning.
Mr Crabb is the first cabinet minister to declare his intent to succeed David Cameron as prime minister and lead the negotiations of Britain's exit from the EU.
Hugely popular among colleagues, he comes from the sort of ordinary background that chimes with many voters – and Mr Javid is the son of a Pakistani bus driver who became a highly successful investment banker.
Both men backed the Remain side though Mr Javid faced claims he was privately in favour of leaving the EU.
Nominations for the contest are expected to open mid week – with Mrs May, the home secretary, and Mr Johnson, the leading Brexit campaigner and ex-London mayor, vying to be favourite with the bookies.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he is "seriously considering" a bid, as has ex-defence secretary Liam Fox.
Whoever ends up in Number 10 will begin extracting the UK from the bloc, after Mr Cameron said he would not initiate the process before handing over the reins despite pressure from Brussels for a swift departure.
Chancellor George Osborne has ruled himself out, saying it was clear he could not provide the unity the party needed as the EU referendum had left him a divisive figure.
Asked if someone from the pro-EU side could win, he told BBC Radio 4's Today: "Absolutely.
"I am not backing any candidate at the moment but of course I was full-throttled in arguing for remaining in the EU and because half my party wanted to leave the EU I don't think I can be the person who can bring the party together."
He said the best PM would be "the candidate who is able now to articulate the clearest, crispest version of what relationship we are seeking - which in my view involves the best possible terms of trade for services and goods."
Others who are considering throwing their hat into the ring include Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, while Brexit campaigners Andrea Leadsom and Priti Patel are expected to stand, according to reports.