Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said he can’t stand being the UK’s next prime minister as the race to replace Boris Johnson gets underway in earnest this weekend.
Pollsters had named Wallace an early favorite among Conservative Party members because of his handling of the Ukraine crisis. But the 52-year-old Johnson loyalist, who led Johnson’s leadership campaign in 2019, announced on Saturday that he would not stand to replace his boss.
“After careful consideration and discussion with my colleagues and my family, I have made the decision not to participate in the Conservative Party leadership race,” Wallace said. tweeted Saturday. He said “it was not an easy choice to make”, but his priority right now was his job to keep the country safe.
Johnson stepped down on Thursday after a series of scandals rocked his premiership, but said he would stay on until a replacement is elected by Conservative Party members in a process that will will take place this summer.
Earlier on Saturday, Kemi Badenoch, who quit as equalities minister on Wednesday, threw his hat in the ring, while hardline Brexiteer Steve Baker backed Attorney General Suella Braverman. Former chancellor Rishi Sunak launched his campaign on Friday and is widely seen as a strong contender. Other runners and potential runners such as Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss have yet to officially declare their offers.