London, June 29 (IANS) The British Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on Wednesday announced his candidacy to replace Prime Minister David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party.
Stephen Crabb, who backed the “Brimain” campaign in the June 23 referendum, said he wanted to unite his divided party, adding that a second vote on the EU was “out of the question”, Efe news reported.
Aspiring Tory candidates have until noon on Thursday to step into the race to replace Cameron, who on June 24 announced his upcoming October resignation after losing the “Brexit” vote.
“We cannot allow this leadership election to be defined by divisive labels like ‘remainer’ and ‘Brexiteer’,” Crabb said.
“The quicker we can focus on the future, the better chance we have to unite our party and our country,” he added.
Crabb, 43, also said he would attempt to deliver on the expectations of 17 million people who voted to leave the EU, underscoring the importance of “taking back control” of the country’s immigration policy, one of the main talking points throughout the “Brexit” campaign.
Thursday’s deadline for candidacy announcements marks the start of the leadership election, with the designation of a new Conservative leader expected by September 9.
The so-called 1922 Committee, a body comprised of backbench Tory MPs, is charged with supervising this internal election, in which all Conservative Party members are allowed to vote.
In the event of various candidacies, there will be a series of votes among all 331 Conservative MPs, eliminating contenders in successive rounds until the two remaining candidates face off in an election by the party’s base.
Other leading competitors include ex-London Mayor Boris Johnson, a strong “Brexit” backer, and former Home Secretary Theresa May, who supported the UK remaining in the EU and is seen by many Tory colleagues as a unifying figure.