UK: Ruling party announces shortlist for leadership contest
The ruling Conservative Party in Britain has announced a final shortlist of lawmakers vying to win a leadership battle in the party and become the country’s next prime minister.
The 1922 committee, a Tory party group which supervises its leadership, said on Monday that a total of 10 lawmakers had made it to the leadership race which will see a series of votes among other Conservative lawmakers of the British parliament to whittle the candidates down to a final two.
The 10 candidates are namely Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, former Chief Whip Mark Harper, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, former Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom, former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart.
Gove and Johnson have currently the highest chance to contest a late July vote among more than 150,000 Conservative Party members to choose the party’s next leader.
Gove, who made headlines last week by admitting that he had taken cocaine while he was a young journalist, said on Monday that he would be a more serious leader than Johnson, the man who is seen as the favorite to win the leadership battle and become the next UK prime minister.
“If I get through, which I am sure I will actually, to the final two against Mr Johnson, this is what I will say to him: ‘Mr Johnson, whatever you do, don’t pull out, I know you have before, and I know you may not believe in your heart that you can do it, but the Conservative Party membership deserve a choice’,” said Gove.
The race begins three days after incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation as Tory party leader after she failed to drive Britain out of the European Union as demanded by a 2016 referendum.
Gove, Johnson and others have vowed they would be serious on Brexit, saying they would even implement a no-deal exit at the end of October if the parliament continues to block a divorce deal with the EU.