Boris Mayor 4 Cardiff

Former Mayor of London Boris Johnson have announced he will not stand in the race to be the next Conservative party leader and Prime Minister.

In a shock announcement, Mr Johnson said "having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances of Parliament I have concluded that person [next Prime Minister] cannot be me".

Many had tipped the former London Mayor as the frontrunner, considering the idea that the next Prime Minister should have campaigned to leave the European Union. Even his support for the Leave campaign was widely considered to be a plot to become the next Prime Minister.

However, with Leave backtracking on several of its pledges - including the £350 million a week extra funding for the NHS - some commentators have suggested that Boris Johnson has become toxic in the eyes of those who voted Remain, and those who voted Leave but feel betrayed and lied to.

Johnson pulled out of the race just hours after justice secretary Michael Gove announced he would run. Gove was expected to support Mr Johnsons' bid.

The shock announcement means there are five Conservative MPs in the running to become the next Prime Minister: Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox, Theresa May, Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom.

Tory MPs will hold a first vote on Tuesday. The person with the fewest votes will drop out of the race until there are two candidates remaining, when Conservative party members will vote for the new leader and Prime Minister.

Michael Gove and home secretary Theresa May are expected to face-off against each other in the final vote.