June 14, 2019
LONDON: The 10 candidates running to replace Britain’s outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May face the first round of voting on Thursday (Friday in Manila), when at least one will get the chop.
Conservative members of Parliament hold their first secret ballot in the governing party’s leadership contest, as they begin whittling down the contenders.
All 313 lawmakers can vote and any candidate who does not garner the support of 16 colleagues will drop out. If they all clear that hurdle, the one with the lowest number of votes is knocked out.
May, who remains prime minister, stepped down as party leader on Friday, having failed to deliver her plan for taking Britain out of the European Union (EU) after nearly three years in the post.
Bookmakers have ex-Foreign secretary Boris Johnson as their odds-on favorite to win the contest to replace her.
The former London mayor broke his silence to launch his campaign on Wednesday, saying he would only take Britain out of the EU without a deal as a “last resort,” as he promised to unify a country deeply divided over Brexit.
A cross-party effort to block a chaotic end to the 46-year partnership failed on Wednesday, potentially leaving more room to maneuver for a future premier.
Johnson said if parliament blocked Brexit completely, “we will reap the whirlwind and we will face mortal retribution from the electorate.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and former House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom are considered Johnson’s closest challengers.
The contest, so far, has been dominated by revelations of past drug use by candidates and bickering over the best way to resolve the Brexit impasse.
But Thursday’s voting will reveal each candidate’s current level of support.
The ballot takes place in a Houses of Parliament committee room between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. (5 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Manila), with the results expected to be announced around an hour later.
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