Stephen Harper will not seek Conservative leadership: Rempel

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel said she spoke to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper about running for the Conservative leadership, and he said he won’t be running.

Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner confirmed on Twitter Wednesday night that former prime minister Stephen Harper will not be seeking Conservative leadership.

The announcement, Rempel says, was from Harper himself, after days of online murmurs and a thin field of Conservative candidates had many of the party’s supporters crossing their fingers that the former prime minister would return from his life away from the political centre stage.

The confirmation is yet another ding in the Tory leadership, as the number of strong potential Conservative candidates drops lower by the day.

For those keeping track, former interim leader Rona Ambrose announced that she had no intention of running. Jean Charest seemed up for the job for a hot second, though he too would steer clear, following some dramatics.

Though Conservative social media put their faith in Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, he too would decide to not run for leadership, citing his desire to spend time with his family.

With a number of candidates now officially out, Conservative members now face three viable contenders: Former Veteran Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole, who also serves as the Conservative Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu, and former Harper minister Peter MacKay, who’s polling as the clear front runner.

Candidates will have until Feb. 27 to decide to enter the race. The votes will be counted and announced June 27.