British health minister Matt Hancock will stand to be next PM

British health minister Matt Hancock is the fifth candidate to say they would run for prime minister. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - British health minister Matt Hancock said on Saturday (May 25) he would enter the contest to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, the fifth candidate to say they would run to replace Mrs Theresa May as prime minister.

Mr Hancock follows former foreign minister Boris Johnson, who is seen as the favourite, current foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former work and pensions minister Esther McVey in joining the contest.

"I'm going to run to be the next prime minister because I believe from the bottom of my heart we need a leader for the future not just for now," Mr Hancock told BBC radio.

"Of course we have to deliver Brexit and I will."

Mrs May said on Friday (May 24) she would step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7 after admitting defeat in her bid to get parliament to pass a divorce deal she agreed with the European Union (EU).

The opposition Labour Party said it wanted an election as soon as possible. Labour's finance spokesman John McDonnell confirmed on Saturday the party would bring a vote of no confidence in the government if it looked like it might pass.

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