Statement from James Cleverly MP:

Last week I announced that I intended to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party and as Prime Minister.

I felt that we needed to deliver Brexit and then quickly move the conversation on to other important issues that face the country. I had hoped that the Conservative parliamentary party would support me to be the face and voice of that conversation.

To do this I asked them to make a leap of faith, skip a generation and vote for a relatively new MP. It is clear that despite much support, particularly from our party‚Äôs grassroots, MPs weren’t comfortable with such a move and it has become clear that it is highly unlikely that I would progress to be one of the final two candidates.

For this reason I have withdrawn from the process of selecting a new leader and will not be submitting nomination papers.

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James is the MP for Braintree in Essex and a Minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union. He is also a former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.

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