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Boris Johnson has said he will run for the Conservative Party leadership after Theresa May stands down.

Asked at a business event in Manchester if he would be a candidate, the former foreign secretary replied: “Of course I’m going to go for it.”

Mrs May has said she will resign once the House of Commons backs her Brexit deal with the EU.

Former London mayor Mr Johnson was quoted as acknowledging there was “no vacancy” in Downing Street.

Several senior Conservatives are expected to enter the contest for the leadership, with the winner also becoming prime minister.

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey have announced they will run and Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has said she is “considering” doing so.

Other widely touted possible contenders include former and current members of the Cabinet, including Michael Gove, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss.

Asked whether he wanted to be Conservative leader, Mr Johnson said: “I’m going to go for it. Of course I’m going to go for it. I don’t think that is any particular secret to anybody. But you know there is no vacancy at present.”

Meanwhile, Mrs May has held talks with senior Conservative MPs who are demanding she sets a date for her departure from Downing Street.

Her withdrawal agreement with the EU has been rejected three times by the Commons.

Mr Johnson, a leading Brexiteer who quit the cabinet last year over the terms of the agreement, said: “I do think there’s been a real lack of grip and dynamism in the way we approached these talks [with the EU].”

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip added: “We’ve failed over the last three years to put forward a convincing narrative about how we can make sense of Brexit and how to exploit the opportunities of Brexit.” Read more

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