Former Brexit Minister Dominic Raab, environment secretary Michael Gove and ex-Commons leader Andrea Leadsom have thrown their hats into the ring to replace Theresa May, who announced she would resign on Friday, June 7.
Five other senior figures in May's Conservative Party have put their names forward to replace the 62-year-old.
Speaking outside his home in London on Sunday, Gove said he was ready to unite the Conservatives, deliver Brexit and "lead this great country."
Raab vowed to fight for a fairer deal on Brexit: "To deliver Brexit successfully will require focus, discipline and resolve," Raab wrote in an article for the Mail on Sunday newspaper. "As a former Foreign Office lawyer and Brexit Secretary, I have the experience."
Leadsom, who resigned from her former post as head of the Commons this week saying she no longer believed the government's approach would deliver Brexit, told the Sunday Times that if elected, the UK would quit the EU in October with or without a deal.
The candidates that have expressed their intention to stand so far are:
- Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
- Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock
- International Development Secretary Rory Stewart
- Former Work and Pensions Minister Esther McVey
- Former Brexit Minister Dominic Raab
- Former Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom
- Environment Secretary Michael Gove
May announced her departure date on Friday after angering senior figures in her party with her latest plan to deliver Brexit.
The proposal opened the door to a confirmatory referendum if MPs approved May's blueprint for divorcing with the EU.
MPs rejected three previous incarnations of May's Brexit deal earlier this year, leaving parliament deadlocked.
She attempted to break the stalemate by finding a compromise solution with the main opposition party, Labour.
But the talks eventually broke down.
Labour said the uncertainty over May's future meant any deal agreed now could easily be torn up by her successor.
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