Sajid Javid and Kit Malthouse Join Crowded Tory Leadership Race

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 01: Home Secretary Sajid Javid arrives at Number 10 Downing Street on April 1, 2019 in London, England. British Prime Minister Theresa May hosts summit on knife crime in Downing Street with community leaders, politicians and senior officials today. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Jack Taylor/Getty

Two new contenders have joined the race to be the next Conservative Party leader, home secretary Sajid Javid and housing minister Kit Malthouse.

Sajid Javid announced his candidacy on Twitter, later laying out his leadership pitch in a short video from his House of Commons office in which he declined to detail his plans on Brexit, saying only that he would “first and foremost” deliver on the vote to leave and instead spoke of the need to “restore trust” and spread economic opportunities.

“We must bridge divides to heal communities reminding us of our shared values as a United Kingdom, and we must strengthen our economy and society so that everyone can benefit from the opportunities which a prosperous nation provides,” Mr Javid said.

The Home Secretary Mr Javid has opposed Britain leaving the European Union without a deal in the past, a consideration which may count against him in the race as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party continues to take support from the Conservatives.

Shortly after Mr Javid’s announcement, Kit Malthouse, who as well as serving as housing minister was also a former deputy mayor of London, declared his candidacy. Writing in The Sun, Mr Malthouse said: “This leadership campaign cannot be about the same old faces, scarred by wars that have split the Tory party over three years.

“We need to end the Brexit paralysis, and while I voted to leave the EU, I know that without unity across the UK, we cannot get a deal over the line.”

“It’s time for a new generation to lead the charge into our future with boldness and vision,” he added.

The emergence of the two new candidates takes the total number of declared contenders up to ten. The other candidates currently running are former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, former Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, former Work and Pensions secretary Esther McVey, International Development secretary Rory Stewart, environment minister Michael Gove, and health secretary Matt Hancock.

The most recent odds from Betfair see both of today’s declared candidates as outsiders. Mr Javid is currently 22/1 to win the leadership while Mr Malthouse currently sits in last place at 66/1.

Boris Johnson 7/4
Dominic Raab 4/1
Michael Gove 5/1
Jeremy Hunt 11/1
Andrea Leadsom 12/1
Rory Stewart 16/1
Sajid Javid 22/1
Matt Hancock 25/1
Esther McVey 50/1
Kit Malthouse 66/1

Several of the candidates have so far laid out their views on Brexit, seen as the key issue going into the leadership race, particularly after the Conservatives’ disastrous showing in the recent EU elections which saw them fall into fifth place behind the Green party.

Jeremy Hunt said on Tuesday that the Conservative Party pursuing a no-deal Brexit would be “political suicide” while Rory Stewart is the only other candidate to come out explicitly against a no-deal scenario.

Meanwhile, several of the other candidates have spoken about the possible need to opt for a no-deal Brexit at the end of October. Esther McVey said that a cross-party Brexit deal was now “not possible”, tweeting that “The message from our voters is clear: we must leave the EU on 31st Oct with a clean break — nothing else will wash now.”

Mr Raab said that under his leadership the UK will not seek another delay after the 31st of October, meaning that the UK will leave without a deal if necessary.

Few of the candidates have so far laid out detailed pitches about what their leadership would entail, though both Mr Raab and Mr Hancock have called for a series of head to head debates to help decide who will be the next party leader.

Under Conservative Party rules, the candidates will be whittled down to two by fellow MPs, with the final contenders put forward to a vote from the membership as a whole.

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