14:52 GMT29 January 2020
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    Britain Says 'Cheerio' to EU (463)

    Former London Mayor Boris Johnson has once again created chaos within Britain's Conservative Party by ruling himself out of the race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, which is already in disarray following the Brexit referendum.

    Boris surprised many when he declared himself a Brexiter at the start of the referendum process, as he had been London Mayor and was known to be pro-City, which is pro-EU. So when he declared himself out, many saw it is a political ploy to put himself in Downing Street. 

    After the result — taking Britain out of the EU — Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation, having failed to convince a deeply euroskeptic country to remain inside the union. 

    Johnson was immediately tipped to be the top contender to win a leadership battle. However, with just minutes before the close of nominations at midday June 30, Johnson dramatically ruled himself out.

    It followed another shock announcement from Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who declared he was standing, having fought alongside Johnson to take Britain out of the EU. Gove was widely tipped to not stand, but back Johnson's challenge. 

    In the end, dramatically, Johnson ruled himself out of running to be the next prime minister, saying:

    "Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me."

    Another candidate who was a forceful voice for the UK leaving the EU is former defense secretary Liam Fox. He has called for party unity following the referendum. Finally, Andrea Leadsom, the former banker and junior minister, who also backed the Leave campaign is also standing.

    ​Home Secretary Theresa May, who backed remaining in the EU, announced she would be standing. She is a political heavyweight and is a favorite among bookkeepers. Stephen Crabb —  a rising star — who backed remaining in the EU — is also standing.

    Thus, the Conservatives have three candidates who backed leaving the EU: Gove, Fox and Leadsom, with two who backed remaining: May and Crabb. Most commentators currently think the final run-off will be between May and Gove.

    The next stage is for the Conservative MPs to have a ballot to whittle the list down to two and the final decision will be made by a countrywide poll of all Conservative Party members, with the next prime minister in place by September 9.

    May and Gove are political heavyweights and the final run-off will pit a Remain-backer against a Leave-backer. If Gove wins, he will have the popular mandate for Brexit from the referendum and the backing of his party. If May gets in, she will be in the position of being a pro-EU prime minister, making the decision on how to take forward Britain's relations with the EU.

    Britain Says 'Cheerio' to EU (463)


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    Vote Leave, ballot, domestic politics, Brexit, EU membership, leadership, referendum, vote, election, Britain's EU referendum, UK Parliament, British Conservative Party, Stephen Crabb, Andrea Leadsom, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Theresa May, Great Britain, Europe, United Kingdom, London
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