Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

May: I Won't Make Deal with Boris ... I'd Rather Lose Leadership Race; EXCLUSIVE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

May: I Won't Make Deal with Boris ... I'd Rather Lose Leadership Race; EXCLUSIVE

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

THERESA MAY today vowed that there would be "no deals" with Boris Johnson, as she won heavyweight new backers for her bid to become Tory leader.

The Home Secretary's spokeswoman said she would "rather lose" the battle to succeed David Cameron than compromise by striking a bargain with her chief rival.

In a boost to Mrs May, Cabinet minister Justine Greening one of Mr Johnson's closest friends in the battle to stop a third runway at Heathrow swung behind her, hailing her "professionalism and steel".

And in another coup, justice minister Mike Penning a former top aide to Iain Duncan Smith and committed Brexiteer said he would back her over Mr Johnson because she was "tough and experienced".

Mrs May and Mr Johnson are set to declare their candidacies formally tomorrow shortly before nominations close. Mr Johnson looks set to have at least 100 backers.

It emerged that an attempt to bring the two together on a joint ticket failed when Mr Johnson was kept waiting for 20 minutes by the Home Secretary, who announced she was not coming. Mrs May's spokeswoman declared after the incident was revealed: "Theresa is in it to win it. She does not want any deals. She'd rather lose than do a deal."

Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb unveiled his leadership campaign today, with a dig at Mr Johnson. The comprehensive school-educated minister took a swipe at the ex-London mayor's Eton education, saying he wanted to see a world where it did not matter what school a person went to.

Ms Greening, the International Development Secretary, told the Standard exclusively that though both Mr Johnson and Mrs May were strong candidates, the Home Secretary's mettle in negotiations in Brussels gave her the edge. "She has the professionalism and steeliness required to look bureaucrats in the eye and get the deal we need," she said. "Everyone knows the competence and experience she has shown as the longest-serving Home Secretary in over 100 years. …

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