Environment Secretary Michael Gove dropped out of the contest receiving 75 votes.
Around 160,000 Conservative members will now decide who will be the new British Prime Minister.
“It’s highly likely” that Johnson will win the Tory leadership race according to political campaigner Michael Swadling. “He’s definitely the best choice that’s available,” the expert noted.
“Boris is the only person left in the contest that many have described as a true Brexiteer; I think Michael Gove lost that mantle with his push for the surrender agreement that Theresa May put forward,” Swadling added.
Being a hardline Brexiteer, Johnson has called for the UK to be out of the European Union by the 31st of October deadline with “no ifs, no buts, no maybes” as Swadling pointed out. Johnson quit as Foreign Secretary in July 2018 in protest of ex-PM Theresa May’s handling of Brexit. But Chris Stafford, who's a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Nottingham, believes that despite Johnson’s hardline stance towards Brexit being popular with many party members, Hunt’s more moderate approach could appeal more to moderate voters.
At the same time Stafford said that both candidates will struggle in breaking the Brexit deadlock:
“It is doubtful that either candidate can break the deadlock. Johnson says he is determined to leave on 31st October come what may, while Hunt is prepared to stay longer if a better deal can be negotiated. However, given that the EU has little interest in renegotiation, it is hard to see either candidate achieving anything other than a ‘no deal’.”
In April, the UK and the EU agreed to delay Brexit with EU leaders granting an extension until 31 October, after May's withdrawal agreement with the EU was rejected three times by British MPs.
But would a no deal Brexit mean the end of the United Kingdom as a political entity? The “Conservatives can’t win a general election until we’ve left the EU; the Nigel Farage's Brexit Party will absolutely destroy them and rightly so, they deserve nothing less,” Swadling stressed.
“Once they’ve left the EU I think he’s got a chance. It’s not just about that for the Conservative Party, they haven’t been Conservatives since the day David Cameron took over, so they need to do something to fight for their core constituencies and deliver for them, but first of all they have to deliver for democracy,” the political campaigner said.
As to warning calls that Boris Johnson would lose the next general election if he became Prime Minister, Swadling called this scaremongering.
“There is a set of people in Westminster who didn’t want us to leave, which is perfectly reasonable because people can differ, but they have ignored the vote which is unreasonable, and it’s a disgusting act by them.
They spread lies before the referendum, they used government money and positions to spread lies, and give falsehoods about what would happen when we leave. We’ve now voted to leave, and none of these things has happened, they’ve not stopped spreading lies, they’ve not stopped doing everything they can to ignore the democratic wish of the British people, they are unfit for office, they are unfit for public life, and they keep proving that time and time again. This is just the latest attempt at scaremongering to that effect,” said Swadling.
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The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.