Lisa Raitt takes another step toward Conservative leadership bid

Raitt said Friday she is stepping down from her role as finance critic to focus on leadership discussions

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa  (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt announced Friday she will recuse herself from her role as finance critic while exploring a possible leadership bid. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

OTTAWA – Conservative MP Lisa Raitt says she is stepping down from her role as finance critic to “continue discussions on the future leadership” of her party.

The development suggests Raitt could be getting closer to announcing her intention to run for the Tory leadership as the rules of the race forbid candidates from holding such roles.

Raitt, who is a former cabinet minister, made her announcement on Twitter this morning.

The current candidates in the Conservative leadership race are MPs Maxime Bernier, Andrew Scheer, Kellie Leitch, Michael Chong, Deepak Obhrai and Brad Trost.

MP Erin O’Toole is expected to formally announce his bid later today, while former MP Chris Alexander has made it clear in media reports that he intends to run.

The first leadership debate is to take place Nov. 10 in Saskatoon.

Conservatives will elect their new leader next May 27.