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June 14, 2019

Brexit supporter Boris Johnson far ahead in contest to replace British PM

National

June 14, 2019

LONDON: Boris Johnson, who has pledged to deliver Brexit on Oct 31, surged closer UK prime ministership on Thursday, winning by far the most support from Conservative lawmakers in the first round of the contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.

Three years since voting 52%-48% to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom is heading toward a possible crisis over Brexit as most of the candidates vying to succeed May are prepared to leave on Oct 31 without a deal, an international wire service reported.

While parliament has indicated it will try to stop a no-deal Brexit, which investors warn would hurt financial markets and the world economy, some of those running say it may be the only way for Britain to leave the bloc without further delay.

Johnson, the face of the official campaign to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, won the support of 114 Conservative lawmakers in the first round of the contest to replace May. A total of 313 lawmakers voted.

His closest rivals were: Jeremy Hunt, the foreign minister, who won 43 votes; Michael Gove, environment minister, with 37 votes and Dominic Raab, former Brexit minister, on 27 votes. Sajid Javid, interior minister, came fifth with 23 votes. Matt Hancock won 20 votes and Rory Stewart 19. Three were knocked out: former leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Esther McVey.

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