The contest to replace Theresa May as Britain's next leader formally got under way on Monday, with frontrunner Boris Johnson facing criticism from Paris over his Brexit plan and a key rival struggling to throw off a drugs scandal.
An 11th, Sam Gyimah, withdrew shortly before the announcement saying he had not been able to build sufficient support.
Whereas candidates in the past needed just two lawmakers supporting them, the Tory party's influential 1922 Committee - which conducts the election process - chose to change the rules earlier this month in a bid to speed up the contest, requiring a minimum of eight MPs for each candidate.
First, the 313 Conservative lawmakers will vote in a series of rounds starting Thursday, with the worst performers dropping out until only two candidates remain.
The clear favourite to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, has today risked the wrath of ordinary working people by pledging to spend a staggering £10Bn cutting taxes for the rich by raising the 40% income tax threshold from £50,000 to £80,000 - plans that, conveniently, could see MPs like himself pocket an extra £6,000 a year.
Hunt, who is pitching himself as an experienced negotiator who can find a way through the Brexit impasse, also said German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him when they met last week that the European Union is open to new talks "if we take the right approach".
Unlike the other candidates, Mr Johnson hasn't given television interviews or held any public events, as his campaign team tries to avoid gaffes that could spoil his front-runner status.
If the issue was not sorted out, he said, the party would be annihilated in an election and socialist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would take power.
Excuse me, you are all fake news and you are all fake Conservatives!strong>. "We are ready to work once again for an orderly Brexit".
Johnson and Gove were both leading campaigners for Brexit in the referendum, but while the former quit the government over May's approach, Gove stayed on.
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The uncertainty has hit Britain's economy, which shrank by 0.4% in April, official figures showed on Monday - a bigger drop than any economist had forecast in a Reuters poll last week.
Gove, Hunt and Johnson all said they would take charge of talks with the European Union, sidelining the officials who led the talks under May.
Confronted with the question of whether he had been hypocritical in taking cocaine and overseeing as education secretary a system in which teachers would be sacked for doing so, he said he had learned from his mistakes.
Matt Hancock said he would deliver Brexit by the end of October with a deal but ruled out proroguing Parliament in order to ensure it happened.
FILE PHOTO: The door of 10 Downing Street is seen as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain, May 24, 2019.
He said: "We will have in the United Kingdom a new administration with a new mandate".
Mr Jonson told the newspaper: "I think our friends and partners need to understand that the money is going to be retained until such time as we have greater clarity about the way forward".
Hunt's own campaign received a significant boost on Monday when two ministers with opposing views on Brexit - pensions minister Amber Rudd and defense minister Penny Mordaunt - endorsed him.
"The problem is there and the new prime minister will have the responsibility with us to solve this problem".