BORIS Johnson has publicly declared his intention to challenge for the Conservative Party leadership.

Speaking at an insurance brokers conference in Manchester, Johnson also said he had a “boundless appetite” to help lead the UK out of the European Union.

Asked about the possibility of a challenge for the top Tory job, he said: “I’m going to go for it. Of course I’m going to go for it.

“I don’t think that is any particular secret to anybody. But you know, there is no vacancy at present.”

Initially, the Brexiteer had joked that “we’ve run out of time” when pressed on his ambitions to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister.

“But I’ll answer your question nonetheless,” he continued. “There’s no vacancy. On the other hand, what I will say is that there has been a real lack of grip and dynamism in the way we’ve approached these talks.

“We’ve failed over the past three years to put forward a convincing narrative about how we exploit the opportunities of Brexit.

“All I can say, as tactfully and usefully, as I can, is that I have a boundless appetite to try to get it right, and to help the country to get on the right path.”

Meanwhile, Theresa May has agreed to set a timetable for the election of her successor as Tory leader, the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee has said.

Following a meeting between Prime Minister and the 1922 executive at Westminster on Thursday, Sir Graham Brady said he would meet her again in early in June to agree the details.

Brady said in a statement "The Prime Minister is determined to secure our departure from the European Union and is devoting her efforts to securing the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week commencing June 3 2019 and the passage of that Bill and the consequent departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union by the summer.

"We have agreed that she and I will meet following the second reading of the Bill to agree a timetable for the election of a new leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party."

The statement means that, yet again, May has resisted calls for her to name the date of her departure from No 10.