Former health secretaries Hunt and Javid declare to run for Tory leadership to replace Boris Johnson and are focusing on tax cuts.

Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrive in Downing Street in London, Britain, January 15, 2019.
Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrive in Downing Street in London, Britain, January 15, 2019. (Reuters)

British Conservative lawmakers and former health ministers Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid have used interviews with the Telegraph newspaper to announce joining the race to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Both Hunt, who lost out to Johnson in the 2019 leadership race, and Javid, said as leader they would cut corporation tax to 15 percent, while Javid also said he would reverse an increase in social security contributions which took place in April.

"It’s very straightforward why I want to do it," Hunt told the Telegraph of his plans to run. "It is because we have to restore trust, grow the economy, and win the next election."

Javid, who is also a former finance minister, told the newspaper: "We cannot afford not to have tax cuts."

Earlier in the day Britain's defence secretary, one of the favourites in polls to replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has announced that he will not throw his hat into the already acrimonious leadership race.

READ MORE: What the fall of ‘Johnsonism’ could mean for Britain

Number of candidacy increases

Ben Wallace, who has impressed as defence chief and been among the frontrunners in several recent polls, said on Saturday he would not stand after discussing a bid with colleagues and family.

"It has not been an easy choice to make, but my focus is on my current job and keeping this great country safe," he said on Twitter.

The likely months-long campaign, potentially pitting more than a dozen Tory lawmakers and multiple factions of the ruling party against each another, is set to be formalised on Monday, when a committee will meet to agree the timetable and rules.

Hunt and Javid will join Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in the leadership race.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Attorney General Suella Braverman, former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat have also declared they are in the race.

The serving Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is also planning to launch her bid to succeed Boris Johnson pledging to reverse Sunak's health tax levy, The Mail reported.

READ MORE: Demands for Johnson's immediate removal grow as Sunak bids to replace him

Source: Reuters