Former UK ministers Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid join conservative leadership race

10 Jul 2022 09:18am
Former British health and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt had lost to Boris Johnson in 2019. - AFP pic
Former British health and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt had lost to Boris Johnson in 2019. - AFP pic

MOSCOW - Former British health and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, who lost to Boris Johnson in 2019, as well as Sajid Javid, another former health secretary, have announced that they are joining the race to succeed Boris Johnson as UK prime minister.

Sputnik reported both Hunt, 55, and Javid, 52, revealed their intention to lead the Conservative Party and become the country's prime minister in separate interviews with The Telegraph newspaper on Saturday.

"It's very straightforward why I want to do it," Hunt said, "It is because we have to restore trust, grow the economy, and win the next election. Those are the three things that have to happen and I believe I can do that."

Hunt, as well as Javid, said they would cut corporation tax from the current 25 per cent to 15 per cent if they were to become prime minister.

"We cannot afford not to have tax cuts," Javid told The Telegraph. He also said that he would scrap the controversial National Insurance rise, introduced during his time as health secretary.

Hunt stressed that the trust of many Brits who voted Conservative in 2019 has been lost.

"I am the only major candidate who has not served in Boris Johnson's government.

"I called out what was going wrong long before any of the other major contenders and I have not been defending the indefensible," Hunt told The Telegraph, adding that "by choosing me, the Conservative Party is sending a signal to those voters that we have listened to your concerns and we have changed."
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Earlier on Saturday, newly appointed UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi announced his candidacy for the post of prime minister, as well as UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps. Shapps and Zahawi joined the list of candidates, which among others includes Rishi Sunak, who resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer on July 5.

Outgoing UK Prime Minister and Tory leader Boris Johnson has been grappling with calls to resign after a series of scandals over violations of COVID-19 regulations throughout 2020 and 2021.

Earlier this week, another scandal with the appointment of Christopher Pincher, who was vetted by Johnson as deputy chief whip of the Conservatives despite accusations of sexual misconduct, led to a string of resignations and eventually forced Johnson to step down both as the prime minister and head of the UK's Conservative Party.

He will remain in office until a new appointment is made.

According to The Telegraph, Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid have until Tuesday night to gain sufficient numbers of backers to enter the contest for prime minister, with nominations opening on Monday evening. - Bernama