Published: 17:34, 06 June 2019
| Updated: 17:40, 06 June 2019
Boris Johnson has secured the backing of a Kent MP in the race to become the next leader of the Conservative party.
Damian Collins, is the first MP in the county to publicly endorse Mr Johnson who is seen as favourite to succeed Theresa May.
The endorsement from the member for Folkestone and Hythe, who chairs the influential culture, media and sport select committee, will be welcomed by Johnson.
Writing in The Times, Mr Collins said: “Our next prime minister must be someone with the drive, personality and intelligence to solve the greatest political crisis Britain has faced in decades, one that has seen the Brexit deadlock shake our public institutions to their foundations."
"However, it must also be someone who can deliver more than Brexit — someone who can bring the country together and create a stronger and fairer economy. For me, the person best placed to succeed in this mighty task is Boris Johnson.”
"In these challenging times, I believe that a dynamic force is a very necessary thing. We need a leader who can get this country moving again, starting with fixing Brexit. Boris is right to say that the UK should not seek an extension to the Brexit deadline and that we must leave the EU at the end of October, whatever it takes."
Of those Kent MPs to have gone public with their preferred candidate, there is a wide split with six would-be leaders named by the county's MPs.
Theresa May is scheduled to step aside as party leader tomorrow amid reports that she was to stay put as PM until her successor could command the confidence of the Commons.
Downing Street has retracted the suggestion.