World Europe 07 Jul 2016 UK Conservatives cho ...

UK Conservatives choose final 2 leadership contenders

AP
Published Jul 7, 2016, 5:42 pm IST
Updated Jul 7, 2016, 5:42 pm IST
Theresa May had a big lead after a first round of voting on Tuesday that saw the field winnowed from five to three.
British Home Secretary Theresa May. (Photo: AFP)
 British Home Secretary Theresa May. (Photo: AFP)

London: Conservative lawmakers in Britain are voting Thursday to decide which two candidates should face a runoff to be the country's next prime minister.

Members of Parliament are voting on three legislators, Home Secretary Theresa May, Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Energy Minister Andrew Leadsom. May had a big lead after a first round of voting on Tuesday that saw the field winnowed from five to three.

 

Results of the latest round will be announced Thursday afternoon. The candidate with the least support will be eliminated and the other two will campaign around the country to win the votes of 150,000 party members.

The result of the party ballot will be announced Sept. 9. The winner will replace Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced his resignation after Britain voted last month to leave the European Union.

The new leader will be responsible for leading Britain's exit negotiations with the EU. Leadsom and Gove, who both backed the "leave" campaign in the referendum, say the prime minister should be someone who truly believes in a British exit, or Brexit.

 

In a speech to supporters Thursday, 53-year-old Leadsom promised Britain could retain continued free trade with the EU while simultaneously controlling immigration an unrealistic prospect, according to critics.

May, 59, backed the losing "remain" side in the EU vote but says she is the best person to unite a party that like the country is divided over the referendum result.

She has drawn criticism for failing to guarantee that citizens of EU countries who live in Britain will be able to remain after Brexit. That has led to accusations she is using European citizens as bargaining chips in divorce talks.

 

Gove, 48, came third in Tuesday's first-round vote and is seen by some Tories as untrustworthy after he ditched his support for former London Mayor Boris Johnson who had been expected to run for leader and declared himself a candidate instead. Johnson has since declared support for Leadsom.

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