Johnson vs Hunt in final of race to be next British PM

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Jeremy Hunt, left, and Boris Johnson, right, are the final two contenders for leadership of the Conservative Party. (File/AP)
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Conservative MPs will decide on June 20 who will join Boris Johnson in the final two battling become Britain's next prime minister, with three contenders jostling for the second spot. (AFP)
Updated 20 June 2019

Johnson vs Hunt in final of race to be next British PM

  • The centre-right party's 160,000 grassroots members will now pick their new leader from the final two
  • Former London mayor Johnson topped the fifth ballot of MPs in the governing Conservative Party with 160 votes

LONDON: Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, once an opponent of leaving the European Union who has now promised to exit with a deal, are the final two in the race to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.
Despite a series of scandals in the past and criticism about his attention to detail, Johnson has dominated the race since May announced a month ago that she would step down after failing to get her Brexit deal ratified by parliament.
In a fifth and final ballot of Conservative lawmakers, which eliminated Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Johnson was again way out in front: he won 160 out of 313 votes against Hunt's 77. One ballot paper was rejected.
Johnson, 55, who served as London mayor for eight years, has cast himself as the only candidate who can deliver Brexit on Oct. 31 while fighting off the electoral threats of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party.
Johnson has increased his share of the vote of Conservative lawmakers at each of the four ballots so far: 114 out of 313 votes in the first ballot on June 13, 126 on June 18, 143 on Wednesday, and 157 and 160 on Thursday.
Gove was third with 75. Interior minister Sajid Javid was knocked out in the fourth round earlier on Thursday.
Now around 160,000 Conservative Party grassroots members will vote on who will be their leader - and Britain's next prime minister - by the end of July.
Johnson has pledged to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal. The EU has said it will not renegotiate the divorce deal that May agreed last year and the British parliament has indicated it will block a no-deal exit.
He has not addressed how he will solve that riddle.


Pope urges international solidarity for Lebanon

Updated 09 August 2020

Pope urges international solidarity for Lebanon

  • The church in Lebanon should stay close to the people in their hour of need, the Pope said

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis urged international solidarity with Lebanon Sunday, in the wake of the explosion that devastated the capital Beirut and as France hosts an international donors conference to aid reconstruction efforts.
He also called on church leaders in Lebanon to lead by example.
“Last Tuesday’s catastrophe calls on all of us, starting with the Lebanese people, to work together for the common good of this beloved country,” he said.
The church in Lebanon should stay close to the people in their hour of need, with “solidarity and compassion,” he said, speaking after weekly prayers in Saint Peter’s Square.
“I also renew my appeal for generous help from the international community.
Pope Francis was speaking as French President Emmanuel Macron hosts a UN-backed virtual conference to drum up aid for Lebanon after the massive Beirut port blast.