(Bloomberg) -- Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said she’ll be "in a pub near you" as she tours the country in her bid to succeed Theresa May as U.K. prime minister.
At an event promoting "Blue Collar Conservatism,” the former cabinet minister, who announced her candidacy for Tory leader on May 9, set out her stall for the leadership, championing workers in regions and sectors normally seen as the preserve of the opposition Labour Party.
“Only the Conservatives are genuinely the party that will support working people” and prevent "a destructive socialist government," McVey said. "Our mission is to come up with ideas for a radical Conservative agenda."
May has promised the Tories she’ll spell out the timetable for her departure in early June, after one last attempt to get her unpopular Brexit deal through Parliament. A busy field of candidates is already jostling to succeed her, with former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson the current favorite.
With May’s deal expected to be voted down again, resolving Brexit is likely to fall to her successor. McVey, a Brexiteer, said the new leader "has to be somebody who believes in Brexit." She said it’s important to stick to the Oct. 31 deadline, even if it means leaving without a deal.
In an unfortunate gaffe, McVey, a former TV presenter who launched "Ladies For Leave" earlier this year, mixed up the Tories with Labour, who left power in 2010. “Our economy now is on a much stronger footing than the mess that was left by the Conservative Party,” she said.
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