The battle for the Conservative leadership was dramatically transformed today after Boris Johnson ruled himself out of the race.Watch Johnson's full withdrawal speech here, "LIVE: Boris Johnson's shock announcement he will not run for Tory leadership."
It followed the shock declaration from Michael Gove that he would throw his hat in the ring because he didn't believe his close friend was up to the job.
He said: "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."
Conservative MPs who turned up for what they thought would be Boris Johnson’s decision to stand for the Tory leadership at the St Ermine hotel near Scotland Yard are absolutely furious.
The MPs who spoke to the Telegraph said they had no idea the Mr Johnson had planned to withdraw from the Tory leadership.
One MP who attended Mr Johnson’s launch said: “Any politician who trusts Michael Gove needs their head examined.
The chaos sent shock waves through the campaign as Home Secretary Theresa May announced her bid to succeed David Cameron this morning.
At midday Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, announced that Theresa May, Michael Gove, Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox and Andrea Leadsom will fight it out to succeed David Cameron.
Mr Brady announced that the first set of voting will take place on Tuesday as the party's MPs winnow down the field of five candidates to two.
With the least successful contender eliminated at each round, further ballots will be held on Thursday, then successive Tuesdays and Thursdays until two front-runners emerge to be put forward to the party membership in the country for a final decision.
Mr Brady said the committee wants a winner to be chosen by September 9.
A handful of Tory MPs reacted with disbelief as news that Mr Johnson would not be seeking the leadership filtered through as they waited for Mr Brady's announcement...
Thursday, June 30, 2016
At the Telegraph UK, "Conservative MPs in uproar as Boris Johnson 'rips party apart' by withdrawing from leadership contest after ambush by Michael Gove":