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.


Philippine, Kuwaiti officials meet amid labor ban

Updated 36 min 40 sec ago

Philippine, Kuwaiti officials meet amid labor ban

  • The meeting took place days after the Philippines announced a complete ban on the deployment of new workers to Kuwait

MANILA: Philippine and Kuwaiti officials on Sunday held talks in the wake of a ban imposed by Manila on Filipinos working in the Gulf state.

Abdullah D. Mama-o, President Rodrigo Duterte’s adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) concerns, met with Kuwait Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah to discuss bilateral ties and how to overcome the crisis.

The meeting took place days after the Philippines announced a complete ban on the deployment of new workers to Kuwait following the killing of Jeanelyn Villavende.

A forensic examination conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on Villavende’s body showed “clear indications of sexual abuse,” and signs of physical abuse dating back weeks before her death.

Villavende’s employer and his wife, allegedly the perpetrators in the Filipino maid’s killing, are now behind bars in Kuwait.

During the meeting between Mama-o and Al-Jarallah, “the Filipino official praised Kuwait for the legal procedures the country has taken to address the issue,” Kuwait’s official news agency KUNA reported.

Officials from both countries are scheduled to hold further meetings next month to resolve the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait rescued another Filipino maid, Delia Solomon, who accused her employers of mistreatment.

“While a distressed OFW’s plea was going viral (on) social media yesterday, our Kuwait PE (Philippine Embassy) worked quietly on extracting her,” Foreign Undersecretary Brigido Dulay tweeted on Sunday.

“We are happy to report that she is now sheltered in our embassy and we’re working on reuniting her with her loved ones next week.”

Prior to his talks with Al-Jarallah, Mama-o on Saturday met with more than 100 members of the Filipino community in Kuwait.

Issues discussed included the Philippine government’s contingency plan amid tensions in the Middle East, and the decision of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s governing board to impose a ban on the deployment of newly hired OFWs bound for Kuwait.

Mama-o, who was accompanied by other Philippine officials, said the Duterte administration will exert all efforts to safeguard the welfare of all Filipinos in the Middle East.

During the Filipino community meeting, Chargé d’Affaires Noordin Pendosina Lomondot assured Filipinos in Kuwait that the embassy is preparing for any scenario in case the situation in the region does not improve.

The official gave Filipino community leaders details of the embassy’s contingency plan, such as possible evacuation routes and the names of area coordinators.