Work and pensions minister Stephen Crabb becomes the first official candidate for Conservative leadership

George Osborne Speaks On The Financial Implications Of A Brexit
Crabb said immigration was a "red line". (Source: Getty)

Work and Pensions minister Stephen Crabb has put forward his bid to become the leader of the Conservative party - making him the first person to launch an official bid to become the UK's next Prime Minister.

At a press conference today, Crabb said the UK faces a "challenge of mind-boggling complexity".

Crabb has teamed up with business minister Sajid Javid, who would become chancellor if he wins. Today he said Javid would be "outstanding" in the job.

He vowed to put keeping control of immigration at the top of his priority list when it comes to negotiating Britain's post-Brexit relationship with the EU, saying: "The British people want control of immigration".

He added that along with retaining a close economic relationship with Europe, alongside ending the "supremacy" of EU law, these will be the "three driving principles" of negotiation.

But he admitted full single-market access may not be possible alongside the "red line" on immigration.

"It's going to be very challenging to balance that with the same kind of free market access we have at the moment." Instead, he said he would aim to keep the single market "as close as possible"

He ruled out an early General Election, saying the answer to uncertainty is not more uncertainty.

"There's plenty of work there to be done to take us through to the end of the parliament."

And he added that triggering Article 50 should wait - first, the government should set up a council of devolved authority leaders, including London mayor Sadiq Khan, with a majority of government ministers, to figure out the plan first.

"Before we get into making decisions about Article 50, let's bring the community together in an advisory council," he said.

He admitted he was the underdog, but in a sly dig at Boris Johnson, he added: "There are different ways you can become a household name. I'm doing it the right way, hopefully."

Betway immediately cut the odds of Crabb winning the race to 5/1, from 8/1. However, he remained the third-favourite, behind Boris Johnson, at 11/10, and Theresa May, at 6/4.

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