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Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat. Image Credit: AFP

London: British Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat said late Thursday he was launching his bid to succeed Boris Johnson, the first candidate to announce their campaign since the premier announced his resignation.

In an opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph, Tugendhat who heads parliament’s foreign affairs committee, confirmed his intention to stand for the leadership of the Conservative party, saying he wanted to bring together a “broad coalition” for a “clean start”.

“I have served before - in the military, and now in Parliament. Now I hope to answer the call once again as prime minister,” he wrote.

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Tugendhat had indicated he would stand in any leadership contest but there is no love lost between him and Johnson loyalists.

A hawk on China, he has been critical of the government’s handling of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The timetable to nominate Johnson’s replacement will be set out next week.

Party grandees hope to conclude the two-stage contest well before the Conservative party holds its annual conference in October.

The first stage will see the 358 Conservative members of parliament whittle the nominees down to two, via successive rounds of voting in which the bottom candidate is eliminated each time.

The second stage will involve tens of thousands of grassroots party members picking the winner in a secret ballot.