Tory leadership: Theresa May backed by more cabinet ministers

Theresa May’s bid to become Tory leader has won the
support of two more cabinet ministers and the Daily
Michael Fallon and Patrick McLoughlin now say they back
the home secretary.
She has received pledges of support from many more MPs
than the other four candidates, with at least three more
cabinet members among her backers.
Meanwhile, fellow contender Michael Gove is to make the
first speech of his campaign to become Tory leader, after
announcing his candidacy on Thursday.
Rivals Stephen Crabb, Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox are
also in the running to lead the Conservative Party and
become UK prime minister.
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The five contenders have until Tuesday to build support
among the 329 Conservative MPs before the first round of
voting. The MP with the fewest votes will be eliminated, one
at a time, until two remain. They will then go to a vote of the
wider party membership.
The winner of the contest is set to be announced on 9
Mr Gove was a surprise addition to the race, having been
expected to back Boris Johnson, who shocked the political
world by ruling himself out on Thursday.
The Daily Mail backed the home secretary with its front page
on Friday, saying “a party in flames and why it must be
With “Westminster increasingly resembling a madhouse”,
says the paper, “what the country needs most is a solid and
steady hand on the tiller.”
Cabinet colleagues Michael Fallon and Patrick McLoughlin
declared their backing for the home secretary’s campaign.
Mr Fallon, the defence secretary, said she was the right
person to steer the country through “the serious challenges
we now face”.
He said: “Theresa is the best person to lead our exit from
the EU so that we reduce immigration and regain
sovereignty while protecting our hard won economic
Writing in the Sun, Mr McLoughlin said Mrs May had “the
‘it’ factor”.
The transport secretary added: “We know that the next
prime minister needs to forge a deal from the EU as we
shape our brighter future in the rest of the world.
“And her track record shows that when Theresa arrives in
Brussels, Europe’s bosses sit up and listen.”
Who’s in the running?
Home Secretary Theresa May: The 59-year-old has
replaced Boris Johnson as the bookies’ favourite to win the
contest. She’s held the Home Office brief – often something
of a poisoned chalice – since 2010, and is a former Tory
party chairman. She says she can offer the “strong
leadership” and unity the UK needs, and promised a
“positive vision” for the country’s future. She backed staying
in the EU.
Justice Secretary Michael Gove: The 48-year-old former
newspaper columnist was a key figure in the party’s
modernisation that led to its return to power in 2010. He
was a reforming, if controversial, education secretary
between 2010 and 2014, and now holds the Ministry of
Justice brief. He was a leading player in the Brexit campaign
– which put a strain on his close friendship with David
Cameron. He has pitched himself as the candidate that can
provide “unity and change.”
Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb: The 43-
year-old was promoted to the cabinet in 2014 as Welsh
secretary, and boosted his profile earlier this year when he
took over as work and pensions secretary. A rising star of
the Tory party he has promised to unite the party and
country following the referendum result and provide
stability. Raised on a council estate by a single mother, he
has a back story to which many Tory MPs are attracted.
Backed Remain.
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom: The 53-year-old former
banker and fund manager was one of the stars of the Leave
campaign. A former district councillor, she became MP for
South Northamptonshire in 2010 and – after serving as a
junior Treasury minister and as a member of the Treasury
select committee – she was made a junior minister in the
energy and climate change department in May last year.
Former cabinet minister Liam Fox: It’s second time
around for the 54-year-old ex-defence secretary and GP,
who came a close third in the 2005 leadership contest. His
cabinet career was cut short in 2011 when he resigned
following a lobbying row. A Brexit campaigner, and on the
right of the party, he has said whoever becomes PM must
accept “the instruction” of the British people and not “try to
backslide” over EU membership.