Wednesday, 21 August, 2019

Conservative race to become the UK's next prime minister

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage with party candidate Mike Greene as they 'door knock' in Newborough in Peterborough Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage with party candidate Mike Greene as they'door knock in Newborough
Patty Aguilar | 09 June, 2019, 19:27

British Prime Minister Theresa May has stepped down as leader of the governing Conservatives, officially triggering a contest to replace her that could see her party embrace a tougher stance on Brexit.

May will remain as acting leader and prime minister for a few weeks while the party picks a successor, who will become the next prime minister.

Nearly a dozen Conservative lawmakers are already jostling to replace May in a contest that formally opens Monday, vowing to succeed where she failed and renegotiate Britain's divorce deal with the European Union.

Brexit largely overshadowed the almost three years of Theresa May's tenure as United Kingdom prime minister and eventually became her downfall.

When asked about losing the Peterborough by-election in which his party's candidate came a close second to Labour, Mr Farage said: "Did we?" He said Britain was "on course to leave by October 31", but he'd be willing to agree to a further delay if needed to finalise a deal.

The success of the rookie Brexit Party, meanwhile, has fuelled fears among Conservative party managers that a general election could happen in the near future.

Mr Johnson, a leading campaigner in the 2016 referendum who quit the government previous year over Mrs May's plan, is among several would-be candidates who say they are willing to do this.

May will remain in office as a powerless caretaker prime minister until the leadership election is concluded likely late next month.

Lisa Forbes won the election with 10,484 votes, defeating Brexit party candidate Mike Greene by less than 700 votes.

Despite winning, Labour's vote share fell by 17 percent while the Conservatives plummeted by 25 percent, highlighting the task facing Mrs May's successor.

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When asked who he thinks will be the next leader of the Conservative Party, Mr Farage said: "I haven't got a clue".

The letter goes on to say that there has been a "lack of activity and focus" due to the Tory leadership contest.

The Conservatives weren't the runners-up in a constituency they have only lost control of three times since 1880.

FILE - Britain's Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove leaves 10 Downing Street in London, May 22, 2018.

Earlier this week, the ruling party overhauled its leadership election rules in a bid to speed up the selection process and prevent too many candidates from standing.

Also in the running are such figures as Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove, who say they can renegotiate the pullout agreement with the European Union to get better terms.

She made two further unsuccessful attempts to win parliamentary approval, with many of her own MPs joining opposition politicians to reject her deal.

Options include leaving the European Union with no deal, agreeing on a compromise deal with Brussels, asking for another extension to allow the new prime minister to steer a withdrawal deal through parliament, or not leaving the European Union at all.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage reacts after the European Parliament election results for the UK South East Region are announced at the Civic Centre Southampton, Southern England, on May 26, 2019. "I am not into this proroguing Parliament rubbish", said Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

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