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News > United Kingdom

Common Ground on Brexit Elusive for UK Tories Running for PM

  • Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gives a speech in Rocester, Staffordshire, Britain, Jan. 18, 2019.

    Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gives a speech in Rocester, Staffordshire, Britain, Jan. 18, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 May 2019

Just five months before the U.K. plans to leave the EU, May's decision to resign on June 7 has aggravated her party's political inner crises.

After Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement June 7 of her resignation, the battle for Tory leadership intensified Saturday with Brexit as the main point of friction among the conservative candidates.


May's Potential Replacements Ready Portfolios for PM Election

Aspirants to the next United Kingdom's office of Prime Minister include the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, who said that his party needs "to leave behind the fruitless policy" carried out in the last three years and get a Brexit deal different than PM May's.

This conservative politician ruled out convening early elections as a way to solve Brexit-related problems, arguing that those elections would be "disastrous for the country" and could turn the Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn into Prime Minister "before Christmas."

Other politicians who aspire to be elected as Prime Minister are the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, MP Boris Johnson, and former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey. According to British analysts, their race for power will inevitably be defined by their approach on accomplishing Brexit.

One of them, Johnson, is in favor of withdrawing from the EU on Brexit's latest deadline of Oct 31 with or without an agreement.

"The best way to get a good deal is to prepare for a Brexit without an agreement," he said Friday at a conference in Switzerland held shortly after May's announcement.

In reaction, however, Stewart confessed Saturday that he will not work in a cabinet led by Johnson.

"I could not serve in a government whose agenda is pushing the country into a Brexit without an agreement," he said and argued that such option is a "harmful and dishonest" scenario which would leave the U.K. in "limbo."

Stewart argues that he would be able to accomplish Brexit and "unify the country," which remains tremendously divided on this issue.

Another Tory politician, Amber Rudd, said she would "be very concerned" if the next Prime Minister is someone "too enthusiastic" about leaving the EU without an agreement.

"It is very important that whoever assumes the leadership looks for a solution and tries to work in order to see where the parliamentary majority is," she warned.

Before announcing she would leave her office on June 7, PM May unsuccessfully tried, on three occasions, to get parliamentarians to approve her EE-negotiated Brexit agreement.

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