UPDATED: UK minister Cleverly says full contest for new PM is required

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LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) – British Education Secretary James Cleverly said on Friday he did not agree with calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stand down immediately, saying the Conservative Party needed to hold a full contest to find the best leader.

“(Johnson) remains prime minister until a new prime minister is found, that’s how our system works,” he told Sky News.

“I think that everyone recognises the incentive of doing that properly and professionally but quickly, so that we can get some certainty.”

Johnson quit on Thursday, saying he would stay in place until a successor was found, a process that can take several months. Cleverly said he would not run for the leadership.

Cleverly, who took charge of the education department on Thursday, rejected former prime minister John Major’s call to expedite appointing a new leader by cutting out the final vote by Conservative party members across the country.

“So John Major has an opinion, I disagree with that,” he said. “I think testing the ability of a candidate to reach out beyond the Westminster bubble is incredibly important, so I think it’s an important part of the process.”

  • Britain’s Boris Johnson plans to continue as a member of parliament when he steps down as prime minister, one of his close aides said on Thursday.

Johnson announced earlier on Thursday he would quit as prime minister, but stay in the post until his successor was chosen. 

“Good to hear the boss will carry on as an MP,” James Duddridge, Johnson’s parliamentary private secretary, said on Twitter.

  • British Conservative lawmaker Tom Tugendhat said he is launching his leadership bid to serve as the next UK prime minister replacing PM Boris Johnson.

“I have served before – in the military, and now in Parliament. Now I hope to answer the call once again as prime minister,” the chairman of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee said in an opinion piece in the Telegraph.

Tugendhat said he is putting together a coalition of colleagues to bring “new energy and ideas to government and to bridge the Brexit divide that has dominated UK’s recent history.”

Tugendhat’s announcement that he would run for PM comes after Johnson said on Thursday that he would quit as British prime minister. 

UK deputy prime minister Dominic Raab and former senior minister Michael Gove will not run to become the next British leader, a Daily Mail reporter said on Thursday, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he would quit.

Gove, who was sacked by Johnson late on Wednesday, has previously held a number of senior government roles.

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