BASILDON and Billericay's MP has admitted he lacks the support to enter the running to be the next Prime Minister.

John Baron had revealed on Tuesday that he was considering seeking election to become the next Conservative leader, replacing David Cameron.

But former Army captain Mr Baron, 57, has not put himself forward as a candidate.

In an interview with BBC Essex, he said: “At the end of the day, I felt I didn’t quite have sufficient support to go for it.

“I would like to thank all those who sent in many kind messages as it became known that I was contemplating standing in the leadership contest. I also thank those colleagues who expressed support.”

Mr Baron also indicated he would be throwing his weight behind Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Nottinghamshire, who declared she would be standing to become the new Tory leader.

Mrs Leadsom, like the Basildon and Billericay MP, was a strong supporter of Brexit.

Mr Baron said: “I she is a very strong contender and I’ve had discussions with her on both trade and immigration.

“From my point of view, she is top my list at the moment. I have spoken with the others, but she is ticking the boxes that are important to me.”

It came on the day that former London mayor Boris Johnson, a front runner in the leadership race, sensationally announced he would not stand.

It means the contest is now between Mrs Leadsom, Theresa May, Stephen Crabb, Dr Liam Fox and Michael Gove.

Home Secretary Mrs May is now considered favourite to be the next Prime Minister.

Phil Turner, Tory leader of Basildon Council, said: “I don’t think anybody could have predicted Boris would rule himself out.

"He was an absolute shoe in, but there are more than enough options to replace him.

“Theresa May could do very well as our leader.”