Housing and Planning minister Brandon Lewis has come out in support of Theresa May as the Conservative Party seeks a new leader and Prime Minister.
May has yet to announce her leadership bid but is expected to do so today.
She has strong support in the house and is expected to be the main challenger to Boris Johnson.
Lewis said of May: “For me it’s a no brainer. We are not choosing a leader like the Labour party. We are choosing the next prime minister. And at this time, with tough negotiations in Europe, Theresa’s track record and ability to take on difficult things – like Abu Qatada and Hillsborough – and her leadership skills are what is needed.
“Boris is great. He was a great mayor and we benefit from that presence. But we are choosing the next PM.”
May is widely expected to announce her leadership bid at 9:30am whilst Johnson is expected to follow suit at 11:30am.
Johnson is expected to run on a joint ticket with justice secretary and fellow Leave campaigner Michael Gove who will be promised a key job if he wins.
However, an email sent mistakenly by Gove’s wife, Sarah Vine, to a member of the public expressed worries about Johnson’s popularity with the Tory membership and with media bosses Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre.
The email read: “Very important that we focus on the individual obstacles and thoroughly overcome them before moving to the next. I really think Michael needs to have a Henry or a Beth with him for this morning’s crucial meetings.
“One simple message: you MUST have SPECIFIC from Boris OTHERWISE you cannot guarantee your support. The details can be worked out later on, but without that you have no leverage.
“Crucially, the membership will not have the necessary reassurance to back Boris, neither will Dacre/Murdoch, who instinctively dislike Boris but trust your ability enough to support a Boris Gove ticket.
“Do not concede any ground. Be your stubborn best.