Sajid Javid pulls out of Tory leadership race saying he looks 'forward to seeing the debate unfold'
Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid has withdrawn from the Conservative Party leadership race
Sajid Javid pulled out of the race just moments before Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, announced the eight candidates to take over from Boris Johnson as Tory leader.
Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Jeremy Hunt, Nadhim Zahawi and Suella Braverman all secured the 20 nominations from fellow MPs needed to enter the contest.
Mr Javid said in a statement: “Serving in Government is a true privilege. It has been just seven days since I took the difficult decision to resign from the most important job I have ever had, as health secretary during a pandemic.
“Since then, I have set out the values and policies I think are right for the future of our great country. I believe the party must now look outwards, not inwards, if we are to win again.
“There is an abundance of both ideas and talent in our party. One of the candidates will be given the honour of becoming Prime Minister.
“I look forward to seeing the debate unfold and to see colleagues working together as a united Conservative Party once the leadership election is concluded.”
Earlier Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that he was abandoning his bid and would be supporting Mr Sunak, the former chancellor.
Backbencher Rehman Chishti – seen as the rank outsider – also said that he was dropping out having failed to get enough nominations.
Meanwhile Ms Truss, the Foreign Secretary, gained the endorsement of prominent Boris Johnson loyalists Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries and James Cleverly, in what was seen as a concerted move to prevent Mr Sunak entering No 10.
Many supporters of the Prime Minister remain furious with Mr Sunak for the role he played in bringing him down, with his decision last week to quit helping to trigger a further slew of resignations.