CHESTER-BORN Tory MP Matt Hancock has thrown his hat into the ring in hoping to become the new leader of the Conservatives - and therefore, the next Prime Minister.

The 40-year-old, who grew up in Cheshire and was educated at Farndon Primary School, The King’s School Chester and West Cheshire College, announced he was looking to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May at Number 10 in an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

PM May made the tearful announcement outside Number 10 on Friday, May 23 that she was to step down on June 7.

Chester and District Standard:

The Prime Minister delivers her tearful statement outside Number 10 (Picture: PA)

It follows her repeated failure to deliver her preferred Brexit deal, which led to Britain's EU exit date being at least postponed by several months, and cross-party talks with Labour which proved hugely unpopular with both parties and with many Tory MPs.

The timing of the announcement comes as European elections - which weren't supposed to feature the UK until the EU exit date was delayed beyond June - are expected to deliver very poor results for the Conservative Party and a surge in support for the new Brexit Party.

Mr Hancock, The MP for West Suffolk, currently the Health Secretary, also confirmed his leadership bid in a post on Twitter, where he wrote: "I am standing to be Prime Minister.

"We need a leader for the future, not just for now. I will deliver Brexit - and then let’s move forward to the bright future we must build for Britain. #LetsMoveForward"

Chester and District Standard:

Former King's School Chester Matt Hancock pictured in December 2018 with King's School headteacher George Hartley and fellow alumni Dr Ravi Jayaram and Martin Lewis holding their Leading Light awards.

Mr Hancock is not one of the fancied runners at this stage with the bookies, currently 10th favourite with odds of around 33/1.

But the Tory leadership race may yet take a few turns, with early favourite Boris Johnson unlikely to appeal to all sides of the Conservative Party and has historically been divisive with voters.

Mr Hancock could also seek solace from an unlikely source in Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, who defied odds of 200/1 to become Labour leader in 2015.