London, June 28 (IANS) Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on Tuesday said he will not seek to replace Prime Minister David Cameron when he resigns in October.
“I don’t think I can be the person to bring this party together at the moment,” BBC quoted Osbourne as saying.
On Friday, Cameron had said he would quit as prime minister and Conservative leader by October, after Britain voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the European Union (EU). He had campaigned for a ‘Remain’ victory.
Nominations for the Conservative Party leadership will open on Wednesday and close the following day and — if the proposed timetable for the contest is approved by the 1922 committee and the Conservative Party board — a new prime minister and party leader will be in place by September 2.
Osborne — who announced his intention not to stand in the Tory leadership race in the Times daily — said he could not provide the unity the party needs.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I was full-throttled in arguing for remaining in the EU and because half my party wanted to leave the EU I don’t think I can be the person to bring this party together, at the moment.”
The chancellor said the right candidate to lead the party and the country was the person who is “able to articulate the clearest, crispest version of what relationship we are seeking” with the EU.
His view, he said, was that the relationship should involve “the best possible terms of trade” for services and goods.
Osborne said his focus for now was on the UK’s financial and economic situation.
On the outcome of the referendum, Osborne said he “regretted”, but accepted, the result.
He stood by his warnings of the impact of an EU exit, saying that life will “not be as rosy” outside the country “is going to be poorer as a result”.
He also warned that there would have to be tax rises and spending cuts to safeguard the public finances.
According to a latest poll conducted by market research firm YouGov, Home Secretary Theresa May is favoured by 31 per cent of Conservative voters to become the next leader, against 24 per cent for former London Mayor Boris Johnson.