New Welsh Secretary rules himself out of race to become next Prime Minister

The new Welsh Secretary, Sir Robert Buckland, has ruled himself out of the race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.

So far, 11 candidates have put their names forward hoping to replace Boris Johnson, who announced he would stand down from the role in the Autumn.

Sir Robert, who is the MP for South Swindon, in England, only took over last week as Welsh Secretary following the resignation of Simon Hart.

"The 1922 Committee is going to decide what the threshold of MPs is before candidates can declare properly," said the newly appointed Welsh Secretary.

"I think it's going to be a higher threshold than last time and I think it's going to narrow the field down, so in all reality I think it's going to be tough for me to meet those requirements."

"What I'm looking for is someone who can embody the values that I believe in and actually carry forward the One-Nation agenda that the Conservatives were elected upon.

"What I'm going to focus on are the issues, most notably our economy and make sure whoever wins this election, is going to be true to the principles that I believe in."

Some of those running for the leadership say they will introduce tax cuts if they are elected, but Sir Robert thinks candidates should not over-prioritise on this.

"We should be wary about people who promise tax cuts, without demonstrating how they are going to pay for them.

"The candidate that wins should be the person who is absolutely committed to balancing the books in a way that represents the best traditions of Conservative economic management.

"That's the only credible position that a new leader can adopt. I think candidates will be best advised not to offer the moon and instead be utterly straightforward and realistic."

Simon Hart MP resigned from the Cabinet last week of Boris Johnson's leadership. Credit: PA Images

Despite not knowing how long he will be Welsh Secretary for, Sir Robert said it's a huge privilege to take on the role from Simon Hart.

"I want to make sure that the shared prosperity funds are delivered and I want to do everything I can to push forward that levelling-up agenda for all parts of the country that I was born in, worked in and love."

Reflecting on Boris Johnson's leadership, the Swindon South MP said he thinks the Prime Minister will be remembered for achieving a lot in three years but it is now time for the party to move forward.

He said: "I believe the Conservative Party will once again re-invent itself government but carry forward the manifesto pledges that we made in 2019, in order to level up our country and to deliver that One-Nation approach to politics that I've always believed in."

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