Health minister pulls out of race to be next UK PM

Health minister pulls out of race to be next UK PM
The field of contenders vying to become Britain's next prime minister narrowed to six on Friday when Health Secretary Matt Hancock withdrew from the contest. (File/AP)
Updated 14 June 2019

Health minister pulls out of race to be next UK PM

Health minister pulls out of race to be next UK PM
  • The 40-year-old pulled out saying he was not in a position to win following Thursday's first round of voting
  • Hancock came sixth out of the seven to make it through to a second round on Tuesday next week, when at least one more candidate will drop out

LONDON: The field of contenders vying to become Britain's next prime minister narrowed to six on Friday when Health Secretary Matt Hancock withdrew from the contest.
The 40-year-old, who is against leaving the European Union without a deal, pulled out saying he was not in a position to win following Thursday's first round of voting.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, a Brexit figurehead who insists Britain must leave the EU in October "deal or no deal", topped the secret ballot of Conservative MPs by a landslide, winning 114 of the 313 available votes.
Hancock came sixth out of the seven to make it through to a second round on Tuesday next week, when at least one more candidate will drop out.
"I have decided to withdraw from the race and work out what is the best way to advance the values that I care deeply about," he told the London Evening Standard newspaper.
"It is clear that I can't win from here," he said, having received 20 votes -- three more than the minimum threshold required to stay in the contest.
Hancock is one of the centre-right party's rising stars, a moderate widely seen as competent at his job and skilful with the media.
"I'm going to talk to all the other candidates and consider how best I can advance the values that I care deeply about," he said.
In Thursday's vote, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt came second behind Johnson with 43 votes, while Environment Secretary Michael Gove was third on 37.
Following a televised debate on Sunday, candidates will need a minimum 33 votes to get through Tuesday's second round.
Further rounds of voting are scheduled and the Conservatives should be down to their last two candidates by the end of Thursday.
If Johnson does not lose votes next week, he is guaranteed a place in the final two.
But he is taking flak from other candidates as the only one yet to confirm he will take part in Sunday's Channel 4 debate.
After hustings around the country, the party's 160,000 grassroots members will pick their new leader in a postal ballot.
The winner will be announced in the week beginning July 22 and then take over from Theresa May as prime minister.


Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Updated 04 December 2020

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

COTABATO, Philippines: Dozens of militants aligned with the Daesh group opened fire on a Philippine army detachment and burned a police patrol car in a southern town but withdrew after troops returned fire, officials said Friday.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in Thursday night’s brief attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Piang town. Nevertheless it sparked panic among residents and rekindled fears of a repeat of a 2017 militant siege of southern Marawi city that lasted for five months before being quelled by government forces.
“We are on top of the situation. This is just an isolated case,” regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said in a statement.
Security officials gave differing statements on the motive of the 30 to 50 gunmen. Some said the militants targeted Datu Piang’s police chief over a feud but others speculated that the militants wanted to project that they are still a force to reckon with by attacking the army detachment in the center of the predominantly Muslim town.
Officials denied earlier reports that the militants managed to seize a police station and burn a Roman Catholic church.
When reinforcement troops in armored carriers arrived and opened fire, the militants fled toward a marshland, military officials said.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is one of a few small armed groups waging a separatist rural insurrection in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. The groups opposed a 2014 autonomy deal forged by the largest Muslim rebel group in the south with the Philippine government and have continued on and off attacks despite being weakened by battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism.
The armed groups include the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings.