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The UK Leadership Race Update: The Showdown

Bob Mason

The Final Ballots

There was plenty of action ahead of the final vote for the next Conservative Party leader and British PM.

In a surprising twist of events, Rory Stewart was the first of the 5 voted out of the leadership contest. Rory Stewart lost significant Tory Party support going into Wednesday’s ballot.

In Wednesday’s ballot, Stewart got just 27 votes, down from 37 votes from Tuesday’s ballot.

Why the loss of support? News of Stewart previously being a Labour Party supporter seemed to have done the damage ahead of the Wednesday poll.

Going into Thursday, Boris Johnson remained the clear front runner, with outsider Sajid Javid continuing to remain an outsider.

It was all about the number 2-spot, with Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove left to fight it out.

The 4th ballot on Thursday left 3 in the running, with Sajid Javid the next to fall out of the leadership race.

Javid received just 34 of the votes, well behind 3rd placed Jeremy Hunt, who garnered 59 votes.

Few were concerned with the likely winner, while there was plenty of uncertainty over who would fight it out against Boris Johnson.

Michael Gove managed to jump into 2nd place in the 4th ballot with 61 votes, to leave the 5th ballot to decide the last 2 men standing. Jeremy Hunt had held onto 2nd place through the first 3-ballots.

Who’s Left in the Running

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt go head-to-head into the leadership party race showdown.

160 Conservative Party MPs backed the bookies favorite, which was just over half of the 313 MP votes on offer.

Jeremy Hunt managed to prise back the number 2 spot, with 77 votes, just 2 more than Michael Gove how fell out of the leadership contest.

While Johnson managed to get more than half of the votes, the last ballot result continued to reflect the division within the Tory Party ranks.

The next Conservative Party leader and British Prime Minister is going to need a lot more than half of the party’s backing to successfully guide Britain out of the EU.

What Lies Ahead

This coming Saturday, the first husting for members will take place in Birmingham. Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will then deliver speeches to the attendees before a Q&A session.

There are a reported total of 16 hustings, including Saturday’s kick-off in Birmingham.

On the 9th July, Johnson and Hunt are also scheduled to go head-to-head in a live televised debate. Boris Johnson won’t be able to shy away from this one…

While Conservative Party members are expected to receive their postal ballots by 8th July, the final hustings take place on 17th July.

In the week of 22nd July and prior to 25th July recess, the new Conservative Party leader will be announced.

Unsurprisingly, the key topic will remain Brexit throughout the hustings and live televised debate.

There are 160,000 Conservative Party member votes on offer.  While Boris Johnson continues to be the bookies favorite, the televised debate could ultimately decide who leads Britain out of the EU.

On the face of it, Boris Johnson is the British Prime Minister most likely to steer Britain of the EU without a deal. The coming weeks will be telling. Boris Johnson could fall at the last hurdle if there is no clear plan on Brexit.

Interestingly, Jeremy Hunt has also stated that he would support a no-deal Brexit rather than stay within the EU.

Domesday?

Should the EU and the Democratic Unionist Party continue to dig their heels in, it would ultimately mean a no-deal Brexit. Well, that is assuming that the UK Parliament allows such an eventuality. Parliament could bring the curtain down on Brexit entirely. After all, the next British PM will have minority support in Parliament…

A forced General Election could see the Labour Party seize power. The Labour Party have been steering towards the Remain Camp. A 2nd referendum?

To throw the Brexit cat amongst the pigeons, there is also Nigel Farage and the Brexit party to consider. Will they be able to get enough support to really contest for number 10? Farage would certainly be looking for a General Election.

For those who had hoped for some sanity come the week of 22nd July, they will likely be disappointed. There will be more volatility to come. While we have the Brexit Party and Nigel Farage in Europe, will it be enough to deliver the people’s vote?