Javid backs Crabb for top Tory post


BUSINESS SECRETARY TIPS WORK AND PENSIONS CHIEF
BUSINESS SECRETARY TIPS WORK AND PENSIONS CHIEF

BUSINESS secretary Sajid javid has said he is supporting a bid by work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb to be the next leader of the Con- servative party.

Crabb signalled his intention to run to be the next prime minister, with Javid as the next possi- ble chancellor in an email to Tory MPs, sources told a political website.

Momentum has been building with specula- tion 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 can- vassed 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 Osborne taking over as prime minister.

After last week’s Brexit victory in the EU refer- endum had taken Osborne out of the running, it also looked to have put paid to Javid’s prospects as he had firmly sided with the “Remain’ cam- paign, as did Crabb.

The business secretary, who held meetings on Tuesday (28) 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 Theresa 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 Jer- emy 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 recom- mended that nominations for a new leader should open tomorrow (29) and close on Thursday (30).

Under the proposed schedule, a replacement for Cameron would be in place by September 9. This would be more than a month before what was previously planned and well ahead of the To- ry party conference in October.

“The party board recommends that the date of the declaration of the leader is September 9,” the Conservatives said in a statement.