U.K. Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has announced she will not be running in the race for leadership of the Conservative party, as candidates work to gather the 20 MPs needed to get their names on the ballot paper, after Boris Johnson agreed to step down as leader and Prime Minister last week.
In a statement, the home secretary said that while she was “grateful for the encouragement and support” of colleagues, “I will not be putting my name forward for the ballot of MPs”, the Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday.
Patel’s supporters had previously made clear she was considering competing for the leadership of the party, pointing out that she was a longstanding Brexiteer.
But with other Brexiteers and rightwingers Suella Braverman and Liz Truss already in the race, and the former chancellor Rishi Sunak the clear frontrunner, Patel was running out of time to secure enough support.
Thirteen MPs had publicly declared their support for Patel and their backing will now be sought by Patel’s rivals.
Patel was one of six members of David Cameron’s cabinet who backed the Vote Leave camp during the 2016 Brexit referendum, alongside Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.
After the list of candidates with at least 20 backers is revealed on Tuesday, Conservative MPs will begin narrowing the field rapidly down to two, with the first round of voting taking place on Wednesday.
Grassroots Tory members will then make the final decision, with the result being announced on 5 September.