Department for work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb and businesses secretary Sajid Javid are to make a bid for the top jobs in government.
Crabb’s signalled his intention to run to be the next prime minister with Javid as his number two and the next possible chancellor in an email to Tory MPs, sources told a leading political website.
Momentum has been building with speculation in Westminster that Crabb, who is also MP for Preseli in Pembrokeshire, was looking to launch a leadership bid with Javid as part of his team.
The pair have been said to have already canvassed fellow party MPs to evaluate support for the ambitious bid. MPs Simon Hoare, Maria Caulfield and Craig Williams have been reported to be backing Crabb.
Javid was previously seen as a possible future chancellor in the eventuality of current chancellor George Osbourne taking over as prime minister. After last week’s Brexit victory in the EU referendum had taken Osbourne out of the running it also looked to have put paid to Javid’s prospects as he had firmly sided with the “remain’ campaign as did Crabb. The business secretary who held meetings today with business groups about the implications of the UK leaving the EU, has ruled himself out of a possible leadership bid.
Since David Cameron’s announcement that he would be stepping down as Conservative party leader and prime minister the leadership race was thought to have developed into a two runner race between the former major of London Boris Johnson and the home secretary Teresa May.
Some observers have commented that the Crabb/Javid partnership would be an effort to ‘stop Boris becoming leader at all costs’.
But along with Crabb the health secretary Jeremy Hunt is also thought likely now to enter the leadership content.
Backbench Conservative MPs have voted to bring forward the start of the party’s leadership contest to this week. The 1922 Committee recommended that nominations for new leader should open tomorrow (29) and close on Thursday (30). Under the proposed schedule, a replacement for David Cameron would be in place by 2 September, this would be more than a month before what was previously planned and well ahead of the Tory party conference in October.