LONDON – British finance minister George Osborne ruled out making a bid to be leader of the ruling Conservative party on Tuesday, after Prime Minister David Cameron quit in the wake of a vote to leave the European Union.
Writing in the early Tuesday edition of The Times newspaper, Osborne said he was not to be the right person to lead the party because of his advocacy for the "Remain" vote, which lost in the referendum by 48 per cent to 52 per cent.
"I fought the referendum campaign with everything I’ve got. I believed in the cause and fought hard for it," Osborne wrote.
"While I completely accept the result, I am not the person to provide the unity the party needs."
The race is on to find Cameron’s successor as party leader – expected to be appointed by September – who would take over as prime minister but may call a general election to gain a public mandate.
Former London mayor Boris Johnson and interior minister Theresa May are considered to be the front-runners in the leadership race.
But support for May is higher than for Johnson, on 31 per cent versus 24 per cent in a YouGov poll, according to the Times.
Johnson was a leading campaigner for the "Leave" side. May backed "Remain" but did not play a prominent role in the campaign.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who called for the option of a second referendum on the terms of leaving the EU in the Daily Telegraph, may also be considering a bid.
"Britain must and will leave the EU. But we did not vote on the terms of our departure," Hunt wrote. — AFP