Tory leadership live: May rules out snap election

10.15AM: Theresa May has formally launched her campaign to succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister with a promise that she can offer 'leadership that can unite our party and our country'

From left: Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, George Osborne, Nicky Morgan, Theresa May


Mrs May made clear she will not attempt to back away from last week’s vote to leave the EU, saying “Brexit means Brexit”.

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But she said she would not kick-off the two-year process of negotiating withdrawal until the UK’s negotiating strategy is agreed - probably not before the end of this year. She said that she would create a new Government department, headed by a Cabinet-level minister who had campaigned for Leave, to oversee the UK’s departure from the EU.

She said she would not order an emergency budget in response to the Brexit vote and would not call a snap election ahead of the scheduled date of 2020.

9.50AM: Latest betting puts Theresa May at 8/11 on, Michael Gove at 3/1 and Boris Johnson at 5/2 on.

Also in the bookies’ running are Andrea Leadsom at 10/1, Stephen Crabb at 20/1 and Liam Fox at 33/1.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is a 66/1 outsider.

9AM: Michael Gove is to stand for the Conservative Party leadership, saying he does not belieove Boris Johnson can “provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead”.

Michael Gove’s statement in full:

“The British people voted for change last Thursday. They sent us a clear instruction that they want Britain to leave the European Union and end the supremacy of EU law. They told us to restore democratic control of immigration policy and to spend their money on national priorities such as health, education and science instead of giving it to Brussels. They rejected politics as usual and government as usual. They want and need a new approach to running this country.

“There are huge challenges ahead for this country but also huge opportunities. We can make this country stronger and fairer. We have a unique chance to heal divisions, give everyone a stake in the future and set an example as the most creative, innovative and progressive country in the world.

“If we are to make the most of the opportunities ahead we need a bold break with the past.

“I have repeatedly said that I do not want to be Prime Minister. That has always been my view. But events since last Thursday have weighed heavily with me.

“I respect and admire all the candidates running for the leadership. In particular, I wanted to help build a team behind Boris Johnson so that a politician who argued for leaving the European Union could lead us to a better future.

“But I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.

“I have, therefore, decided to put my name forward for the leadership. I want there to be an open and positive debate about the path the country will now take. Whatever the verdict of that debate I will respect it. In the next few days I will lay out my plan for the United Kingdom which I hope can provide unity and change.”

8am: Tory heavyweights Boris Johnson and Theresa May will set out their competing visions for Britain outside the EU as they formally enter the race to succeed David Cameron in Downing Street.

Mr Johnson, who led the Leave campaign in the referendum, will use his launch speech to present what was described as a “positive, optimistic vision” of Britain outside the EU, offering “a chance to believe in ourselves”.

In her launch, Mrs May will promise to reunite both the Conservative Party and the country in the wake of the referendum campaign while securing the best deal possible for the UK in the negotiations with Brussels.

In an olive branch to Brexit supporters, the Home Secretary - who was in the Remain camp - will set out plans for a new government department to take charge of negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU to be headed by a senior minister who campaigned for Leave.