UK: Conservative Party announces 10 leadership hopefuls

Johnson is the leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as Britain’s prime minister.. Andrew Yates  Reuters

Ms May officially stepped down as the leader of the Conservative Party on Friday but remains as PM until her successor is chosen.

Rivals say Johnson is avoiding the limelight because the contest is his to lose - a stray word or poorly placed joke could deprive him of his chance at getting Britain's top job.

An 11th, Sam Gyimah, withdrew because he was unable to secure the support of eight colleagues as required by party rules. He was the only one to support holding a second Brexit referendum.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Interior Minister Sajid Javid, former Brexit minister Dominic Raab and Commons leader Andrea Leadsom are also in the running among several others. "I know you have before, and I know you may not believe in your heart that you can do it, but Conservative Party membership deserve a choice, so let's have a proper race".

Johnson initially attempted to become prime minister in 2016 shortly after the Brexit referendum, but his campaign imploded soon after and May was anointed without a party-wide leadership contest.

The other candidates are worldwide development minister Rory Stewart, former minister Esther McVey, former leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom and Conservative MP Mark Harper.

If the issue was not sorted out, he said, the party would be annihilated in an election and socialist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would take power.

"The danger is that if we vote for a potential prime minister who said whatever happens I'm doing to leave to leave on October 31, we will be voting for a prime minister who will not be able to deliver Brexit before there's a general election", he said.

A former TV presenter and Cabinet minister, McVey is an uncompromising Brexiteer and says she has the skills to connect with blue-collar Conservatives.

Ms Patel's decision came as the race for a new British Prime Minister to succeed Theresa May gathered pace on Monday, the deadline for all the candidates to file their nominations.

The differences between the candidates reflect the Conservative disunity on the issue, which has meant that, three years after the United Kingdom voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to quit the European Union, it remains unclear how, when or even whether it will leave. He spoke with oil workers, businesspeople and yes, even a hen party.

The uncertainty has hit Britain's economy, which shrank by 0.4 percent in April, official figures showed on Monday - a bigger drop than any economist had forecast in a Reuters poll last week.

Among the most prominent opponents of Mr Hunt to capture the leadership and hence the Prime Ministership are Brexiteers Boris Johnson and Boris Johnson.

Confronted with the question of whether he had been hypocritical in taking cocaine and overseeing as education secretary a system in which teachers would be sacked for doing so, he said he had learned from his mistakes.

The door of 10 Downing Street is seen as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain, May 24, 2019.

The flamboyant former mayor of London has been accused in the past of focusing on style over substance and failing to grasp details, something to which his rivals alluded.

"My preference is to get a new deal".

Hunt said the party needed a "serious leader".

"We need someone who has been tested in the heat of battle. not someone who will hide in their bunker", said Gove, who also criticized Johnson directly for his newly announced proposal of cutting taxes for the rich.

Hunt's campaign received a significant boost when pensions minister Amber Rudd and defence minister Penny Mordaunt gave him their backing.

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