UK political parties mired in leadership battles

Candidates to succeed David Cameron must announce by Thursday, Labour leadership challenge expected Wednesday

UK political parties mired in leadership battles

World Bulletin / News Desk

A handful of figures from within the Conservative Party have emerged in the race to succeed David Cameron as British prime minister, local media reported Wednesday.

Cameron, who assumed office in May 2010, announced he would stand down in the fall following the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU last week.

The political turmoil was reflected on the other side of the House of Commons as opposition Labour lawmakers prepared a leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn following Tuesday’s vote of no confidence in him.

The early frontrunner to replace Cameron is former London Mayor Boris Johnson, a prominent campaigner for Britain’s exit from the EU, although Home Secretary Theresa May is expected to mount a strong challenge.

Just one Conservative politician -- the relatively unknown Stephen Crabb, who was appointed work and pensions secretary in March -- had officially declared his by Wednesday lunchtime but a raft of bigger names were expected to come forward by the midday Thursday local time (1100GMT) deadline.

As well as Crabb, Johnson and May, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, former Defense Secretary Liam Fox and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom are also expected to stand.

Under Conservative Party rules, the field of candidates will be reduced to two in a vote by the party’s lawmakers. All party members will then choose between the final pair.

Johnson was the early favorite and the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog reported he had gathered the support of 31 lawmakers.

His career as mayor of London and one-time chat show host has turned him into a well-known personality in the U.K. and commentators have said his decision to campaign to leave the EU was a turning point in the referendum.

However, a survey by the Conservative Home website suggested May -- who supported a vote to remain but was not a prominent campaigner -- was marginally more popular among party members and would be Johnson’s strongest rival.

Fox and Leadsom, both prominent supporters of Britain’s EU exit, and Morgan were widely rumored to be planning leadership campaigns. Business Secretary

is hoping to become chancellor on a joint ticket with Crabb.

The new leader of the party, who is expected to be picked in early September, will automatically become prime minister without the need for a general election.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Crabb said he wanted to appeal to “blue-collar Conservative” voters.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Haziran 2016, 16:32