THE UK is waiting to find out who the next Prime Minister will be. Conservative MPs have declared their support for potential leaders.

HELENA VESTY reports on who Bolton’s local representatives are backing in the race for the top spot.

A RACE for leadership among the top Conservative Party figures has followed the resignation of Theresa May.

Familiar faces such as Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove have all announced their campaigns for the premiership, along with lesser-known names including Rory Stewart, Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom and Mark Harper.

Fairly new cabinet members have also declared their interest in the position, including former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

As MPs reveal where there allegiances lie, Bolton’s Conservatives representatives are sharing who they support ahead of the first ballot for Tory MPs happening today.

Bolton West MP Chris Green has declared his support for Dominic Raab.

Mr Green says that Mr Raab will deliver a decisive Brexit while providing "a strong foundation for communities" and a "robust approach to law and order".

Mr Raab became the MP for Esher and Walton in 2010 and has since been Minister of State for both justice and housing in quick succession.

In July 2018, Mr Raab took his first lead role in Theresa May's government by becoming Brexit Secretary.

Mr Raab lasted just over four months in the job before resigning in response to Theresa May's Brexit deal, which he said he could not "in good conscience" support.

Mr Green does not believe that the early departure from the position casts doubt on Mr Raab's ability to deliver Brexit — the primary task any new Prime Minister will be faced with.

Mr Green said: "Having been Brexit Secretary, having been a minister in the Foreign Office, he is in a very good position to negotiate for Great Britain.

"He knew what he needed to do in terms of delivering us a good Brexit."

Instead, Mr Green says that it was then-Prime Minister Theresa May that led to his resignation, saying her leaving Brexit negotiations "undermined his position as Brexit Secretary" and "undercut him at every stage".

Now, Mr Green hopes that with a new Prime Minister will come a renewed effort to secure Brexit and says Mr Raab "can break away and make a positive view of Brexit".

Mr Raab, a staunch Brexiteer, advocated for Britain to leave the European Union long before the referendum.

Mr Raab has said that Britain will be out of the EU in October with or without a deal, though Mr Raab has said he will fight for a "fairer deal" for Brexit.

Mr Green said: "The starting point is that we have a decisive departure from the EU on October 31 at the latest.

"There will be an opportunity to have a clear series of interim measures.

"We won’t extend and extend again."

Mr Green says that he would like to see small deals made which, together, will address questions looming over Brexit.

Mr Green said: "There is a huge opportunity to have a series of small deals which, in substance, will be a comprehensive deal covering all of the issues of great concern."

The Bolton West MP is confident that Mr Raab would be able to ensure small deals, saying that the European Union is just as reliant on the UK.

He said: "A great many flights go through British airspace, if the EU doesn’t have a deal in place, then people will have to fly through our airspace at huge additional cost or flights will have to be diverted."

Away from his hardline stance on Brexit, Mr Raab has been in the headlines recently over his views towards women.

During his leadership campaign, he was the only candidate to say he is “probably not” a feminist and has been challenged over a comment in 2011 saying that some feminists are “obnoxious bigots”.

Mr Green defended his choice for leader, saying that he too is not a feminist.

Mr Green said: “The term “feminist” can be interpreted in all sort of ways.

“It is disappointing if people feel that they have to label themselves in a certain way to hold the values of equality and being a decent human being.”

When asked if he was a feminist, Mr Green said: “No.

"I do not feel the need to apply the label to myself in the way that most women do not apply the label feminist to themselves.”

One area Mr Green is looking for support from the future Prime Minister is with investment for the North.

He said: "It has been disappointing with Theresa May that they have not championed the Northern Powerhouse cause.

"They have not given the people the confidence that the infrastructure which was promised will be delivered.

"It is very early to know what any potential leader will do but having a fresh leader gives an opportunity to people like me to work for the North."

The Conservative Party is welcoming a "fresh face" that will deal with Brexit quickly before moving on to an ever-mounting number of domestic concerns, according to the Bolton West MP.

Any new leader will also need to give a "boost to the economy", acknowledge that the South East of the UK is "overheating" and that "there is a great potential in the North if you improve our transport links".

It may be some time before Mr Green gets any definite answer on future government policy, however.

Conservative MPs will have to wait until the party conference at the end of September before they see a full agenda from whoever is named leader.

The conference is when the new Prime Minister is also expected to fully set out their new vision for delivering Brexit.