LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) - British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, one of the favourites to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said on Saturday he had decided not to run in the leadership contest.
Wallace, 52, has risen in recent months to overtake Foreign Secretary Liz Truss as the most popular member of the government with Conservative Party members, according to Conservative Home, thanks to his handling of the Ukraine crisis.
"After careful consideration and discussing with colleagues and family, I have taken the decision not to enter the contest for leadership of the Conservative Party," Wallace said on Twitter.
"It has not been an easy choice to make, but my focus is on my current job and keeping this great country safe."
Four Conservative lawmakers have officially confirmed their desire to be the next leader so far, but about a dozen others are also expected to run for the job. Wallace did not say he who he would be backing. (Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and David Holmes)