Michael Gove.jpg
British Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice and Conservative Member of Parliament Michael Gove (C) arrives at a press conference to deliver a speech in Westminster, central London, Britain, 01 July 2016.
Photograph: EPA/SEAN DEMPSEY

British Justice Minister Michael Gove launched his campaign to replace David Cameron as prime minister on Friday, arguing that role must be filled by someone who fought for Britain to leave the EU.

Cameron resigned after last week's in-out referendum on Britain's EU membership. The prime minister campaigned for staying in the 28-member bloc, while Gove was a prominent member of the winning Leave camp, which captured 52 per cent of the vote.

Gove's remarks, carried by the Press Association, were a direct challenge to Interior Minister Theresa May, the leading candidate for premier who participated in the Remain campaign and launched her own bid for the top job on Thursday.

"Put simply: the best person to lead Britain out of the European Union is someone who argued to get Britain out of the European Union," Gove said.

"I argued for specific changes in the referendum campaign, I believe in them, I will deliver them," the justice minister added.

Gove said he would "end the supremacy of EU law and take back control of [Britain's] democracy;" control immigration and reduce the number of migrants coming to Britain; and use the money currently sent to the EU to invest in Britain's health service.

Gove also said he would wait until 2017 to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begin the two-year process of negotiating Britain's withdrawal from the bloc.

"Extensive preliminary talks" could take place before triggering negotiations, he said, despite calls from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to invoke Article 50 "as soon as possible."

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, a Remain campaigner, said immediate talks with EU partners were needed in order to prevent economic instability following the Brexit vote.

Gove announced on Thursday that he planned to run for the premiership, saying he did not believe the leading Brexit campaigner and former London mayor Boris Johnson was up to the job. The news led Johnson to withdraw from the race in a surprise move a few hours later.

In addition to May, Welfare Secretary Stephen Crabb and former defence secretary Liam Fox have also declared their candidacy. Andrea Leadsom, another prominent campaigner for Brexit, joined them on Thursday.

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