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Race for British PM post begins after May’s decision to quit

Race for British PM post begins 
after May’s decision to quit

AFP
London
The race to become Britain’s next premier opened Saturday with an array of hopefuls promising to succeed where Theresa May failed and finally pull the divided country out of the EU.
But European leaders insisted they had made their final offer during months or acrimonious talks that produced an unpopular compromise for which May ended up paying with her job.
The British prime minister’s voice broke on the steps of her Downing Street
office as she told Britons on Friday that she was quitting on June 7.
May is bowing out with her legacy in tatters and the country in agony over what to do about voters’ decision in 2016 to abandon the European integration project after nearly 50 years.
The markets view the risk of Britain crashing out of the bloc when the twice-delayed departure date arrives on October 31 as uncomfortably high.
The pound has been steadily losing value since May 6 and British business lobbies are raising the alarm. Their main concern is that current frontrunners to head May’s Conservative Party say they will get Brexit done at any cost.
“We will leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal,” former foreign minister Boris Johnson said in Switzerland.
“The way to get a good deal is to prepare for no deal.” Johnson’s main challenges will come from former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab -- viewed as an even more committed eurosceptic–and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Britain’s top diplomat had campaigned against Brexit but has since reversed himself and made headlines in September by comparing the European Union to the evils of the former Soviet empire. Hunt said moments after May’s resignation that he would “make the announcement of my own candidacy at the appropriate time”. The contest is being held against the backdrop of European Parliament elections that the new Brexit Party of the anti-EU populist Nigel Farage is expected to win with about a third of the vote.
Polls show the Conservatives getting punished for their bickering over Brexit and finishing as low as fifth -- their worst result in a national election.
The candidates are also mindful of a party revolt over May’s fateful decision to court the pro-EU opposition with the promise of a second Brexit referendum.
The concession was designed to help ram her withdrawal agreement through parliament on the fourth attempt.

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