LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, widely regarded as a rising star in the government, has declared he will stand as a candidate to replace Prime Minister David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party, the Politico website said on Tuesday.
Cameron said he would resign last Friday after Britons ignored his pleas to stay in the EU in last week’s referendum and Crabb, who was in favour of staying in the bloc, would be the first candidate to announce his intention to stand.
Ex-London mayor Boris Johnson, the most high-profile Brexit campaigner, and Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May are the current favourites for the job with bookmakers.
Nominations must be submitted by Thursday and the leadership battle could be concluded by early September.
Politico said Crabb had announced his decision in an email to fellow Conservative lawmakers.
Among other possible candidates are Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and former Defence Secretary Liam Fox, although finance minister George Osborne has ruled himself out.
Crabb, 43, who has been a lawmaker for a constituency in Wales since 2005, became a Cabinet minister in 2014 when he was made Welsh Secretary and moved up to his current job earlier this year.
As a former state school pupil who once worked as a building site labourer, his background contrasts to Cameron and Johnson, who attended the elite Eton College.
Sky News reported on Monday that Crabb had been considering a joint bid with Business Secretary Sajid Javid.
Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison