Hate figure of junior doctors strike goes for PM’s job with promise of 2nd referendum

An effigy of Britain's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt hangs on the picket line during a junior doctors' strike at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, Britain April 6, 2016. © Darren Staples
Health Secretary Hunt has thrown his hat into the ring for the leadership of the Conservative Party and prime minister’s office while calling for any deal struck between Brussels and Westminster to be voted on in a fresh referendum.

The controversial MP, who campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, argues that he wanted to keep Britain’s links to the European single market, but implement “sensible restrictions” on migration.

Hunt is not the first to come forward for David Cameron’s job – former London Mayor Boris Johnson has long eyed the position. Brexiteer Liam Fox has also confirmed his bid.

“They are not going to choose someone who does not accept the verdict of the British people,” Hunt said, while rejecting the idea that a new leader had to come from the eurosceptic camp.

“But I think now we’ve got to move beyond that argument.

“We are leaving the EU and we have got to have a discussion about the kind of country we want to be.”

He suggested that Britain should follow the “Norway-plus model” under which membership in the single market remained.

“But what we need is something else, which is a sensible restriction on the free movement rules which have created the immigration that has worried a lot of people."

His candidacy was not warmly received by some members of the public, who think his role in the junior doctor dispute was contemptible.

Tory Chancellor George Osborne turned down the prospect of running for Cameron’s job, arguing his support for the Remain campaign had made him too divisive.

Instead, the Chancellor hinted that he may support Home Secretary Theresa May – currently the favorite candidate according to a Times newspaper poll.

The Home Secretary currently has the support of 31 percent of the Conservative Party, while ex-London mayor Boris Johnson, the grassroots’ likely favorite, polls at a mere 24.

Osborne quipped on Tuesday that while he was not officially backing any of the candidates, the best next PM would be “the candidate who is able now to articulate the clearest, crispest version of what relationship we are seeking [with EU].”

Another Tory leader hopeful is Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, who officially made his candidacy known to the press on Tuesday afternoon.

He is expected to run on a joint ticket with Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who hopes to fill the Chancellor’s boots in due time.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has also considered standing, arguing that the Conservatives need to be a “big tent.”

Meanwhile at the Times CEO Summit, media mogul Rupert Murdoch argued that Justice Secretary and Brexiteer Michael Gove would “do a fine job of running the country.”

Gove, however, was reportedly offering support to Boris Johnson this weekend.

Nominations for the leadership race start on Wednesday. Britain’s next prime minister should be in place by September 2.