CONSERVATIVE councillors have been considering who they would like to become the next Prime Minister.

As party members, they will have an opportunity to vote for the next Tory leader once the list is whittled down to two candidates.

Many have been hesitant to pick a side at this stage, but Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab seem to be the frontrunners in Bolton.

Newly-elected councillors Beverley Fletcher and Derek Bullock are both supporting the former Foreign Secretary because of his Brexit stance.

Cllr Fletcher said: “Conservatives, especially in Bolton, we were so up against it in the elections. It’s a very strong issue for me personally as I voted Brexit. Democracy stands before anything and, at the moment, it’s a joke. He’s always been forthcoming in his views and now that’s exactly what we need.”

Cllr Bullock agreed, saying that Mr Johnson has charisma and experience. He said: “I think after what we’ve just gone through, this unstable period, we need somebody to get a grip and get us sorted and get us moving again.

“If he’s on the street, the people know who he is, even though he’s from down south. He’s a person who’s known around the country.”

Fellow Hulton councillor Diane Parkinson might vote for Mr Johnson but is also considering Mr Raab. She described both as "strong personalities" who want to leave the EU.

The former UKIP member admitted she is "not a huge fan" of Mr Johnson, but she agrees with his views.

She said: “If we don’t leave we have let down the country down. In the sense that this is what we voted for and there’s no point of having on foot in the door and one foot out. I feel very, very let down myself as an individual.”

Cllr Susan Baines is also deciding between Mr Johnson or Mr Raab. The executive cabinet member said Mr Raab is "very clever" and has "lots of experience", but believes Mr Johnson is passionate about Brexit.

She said: “I think it’s the right time for Boris Johnson to assume leadership now. He’s got what we need in terms of focus, drive and commitment.”

However, Breightmet councillor Adele Warren said she will not declare who she supports until the final stage.

She believes that there are some "strong contenders" among the candidates. She said: “In terms of representing Bolton, I think it would be very helpful if we had a Brexiteer who was saying what needs to be said. But I’m also conscious that as a country, we need bringing together."

Cllr Andy Morgan has narrowed down his choices to four but said he would reveal who has his vote soon. He is hoping for a candidate with "realistic expectations".

He said: “I’m looking for deliverability rather than just saying what people want to hear. There’s a lot of that going on at the moment."

Former Conservative group leader told The Bolton News thought Michael Gove was the best candidate until last weekend.

The environment secretary revealed he had taken cocaine on several occasions around 20 years ago while he was a journalist.

Cllr Walsh said: "At the moment I’m keeping an open mind and listening to what they all have to say."

Councillors Christine Wild and Jacqueline Radcliffe are also currently undecided.

Cllr Wild said: "I think we need someone who can bring everybody together – not just the Conservatives. It’s an impossible task.”

Cllr Radcliffe said: “I hope someone that will bring us out of Europe. I voted out and I still want to come out, but apart from that, somebody who can keep us in power as well.”