Thursday, July 18, 2019 | ePaper

Johnson gets further boost in race to become British PM

  • Print


PM hopeful Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Britain on Tuesday.

Reuters, London :
Boris Johnson got a further boost in his campaign to become Britain's prime minister on Tuesday when a second former rival in the race backed him to lead the country out of its Brexit crisis.
Hours before the six contenders to replace Theresa May were due to be whittled down by the party's lawmakers, Andrea Leadsom declared her support for Johnson, the clear favorite.
"He is the best placed to get us out of the EU at the end of October," Leadsom, a former leader of the House of Commons who was eliminated from the leadership contest last week, told LBC radio. "Secondly, I do believe he is an election winner."
On Monday, health minister Matt Hancock, who quit the race on Friday, also backed Johnson, despite their contrasting views on Brexit, saying he was almost certain to win the contest.
Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign minister, has given unequivocal statements that he will take Britain out of the European Union by Oct. 31 whether or not an agreement can be struck with the bloc to smooth the transition.
"We must leave the EU on October 31st, with or without a deal," Johnson wrote again on Twitter on Tuesday. Sterling fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in nearly six months on Tuesday.
"It looks like Boris Johnson is going to be the next prime minister unless there is a big surprise and that indicates a looming confrontation with the European Union," said Lee Hardman, a FX strategist at MUFG in London. Johnson was due to participate in a televised debate on Tuesday evening along with the candidates who survive the second round of voting.
Those who do not receive the backing of more than 33 of the 313 Conservative lawmakers will be eliminated. If all candidates have more than 32 votes, the one with the fewest is eliminated.
Johnson opted not to appear in a first debate on Sunday and stayed away from question-and-answer sessions in parliament that the other five candidates attended on Monday. His rivals kept up their calls on Johnson to spell out his plans for Brexit in more detail.
"What I find alarming and I want to try to clarify as soon as possible, hopefully in these debates this evening, is that half the people in his campaign have got the impression that he intends to leave on Oct. 31 with no deal," Rory Stewart, Britain's aid minister, told BBC radio.
"And the other half seem to have got the impression that he's going for the softest of soft Brexits. The only way that we are going to have stability in our government, or our party or our country, is if people trust us."
Johnson's rivals hope that during Tuesday's debate he will commit more of the gaffes that have marked his career.
But, barring a major upset, he looks set to make the final two in the race, when mainly pro-Brexit Conservative Party members will cast the deciding votes in July.
Johnson's willingness to contemplate a no-deal Brexit could set up a clash with parliament which has voted against such an outcome. Brussels has ruled out a re-negotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement, the divorce deal it reached with May last year.
Johnson won the support of 114 Conservative lawmakers in the first round of the leadership contest. The result of Tuesday's second round of voting is due around 1700 GMT.

More News For this Category

US hopes North Korea talks will go ahead despite Pyongyang threat

US hopes North Korea talks will go ahead despite Pyongyang threat

AFP, Washington  :The United States said Tuesday it hoped to hold denuclearization talks with North Korea, after Pyongyang warned that US-South Korean military exercises could affect their planned resumption.The

China gifts military warship to Sri Lanka in sign of deepening cooperation

China gifts military warship to Sri Lanka in sign of deepening cooperation

PTI, Beijing : China has gifted a warship to Sri Lanka, in the latest sign of its deepening military cooperation with the strategically located island nation in the Indian Ocean.

Netanyahu makes history as Israel's longest-serving leader

Netanyahu makes history as Israel's longest-serving leader

AP, Jerusalem  :As Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel's longest-serving prime minister, he is solidifying his place as the country's greatest political survivor and the most dominant force in Israeli politics

No-deal Brexit looms as race for new British PM wraps up

No-deal Brexit looms as race for new British PM wraps up

AFP, London  : The battle to be Britain's next prime minister enters its final straight on Wednesday with both candidates hardening their positions on Brexit, putting the future government on

News In Brief

Trump says "not fair" that US can't sell F-35s to TurkeyAP, Washington US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday it is "not fair" to either Turkey or the United

Trump admin to continue deporting Venezuelans despite crisis

Trump admin to continue deporting Venezuelans despite crisis

The Guardian :The Trump administration has said it is not yet willing to grant temporary protected status to Venezuelans, meaning it will continue to deport people back to a

Government restrictions on religion increasing worldwide

Government restrictions on religion increasing worldwide

AP, New York  :Government restrictions on religion have increased markedly in many places around the world, not only in authoritarian countries, but also in many of Europe's democracies, according to

Iran's top diplomat warns US is 'playing with fire'

Iran's top diplomat warns US is 'playing with fire'

AFP, United Nations :Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Monday that the United States is "playing with fire," echoing remarks by President Donald Trump as the two sides are

Australian model sentenced to probation in air rage incident

Australian model sentenced to probation in air rage incident

AFP, Los Angeles :An Australian model who assaulted a flight attendant and hurled obscenities while apparently drunk on a flight from Australia to Los Angeles was sentenced on Monday to

Worsening world hunger affects 821m, says UN

Worsening world hunger affects 821m, says UN

AFP, United Nations  :More than 821 million people suffered from hunger worldwide last year, the United Nations reported Monday-the third year in a row that the number has risen.After decades