What Happened: Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are the only candidates left in the contest to appoint the next leader of the governing British Conservative Party, following the elimination of Environment Secretary Michael Gove in the fifth and final ballot of Tory lawmakers, the BBC reported June 20. Johnson was again in the far lead, receiving 160 votes compared with Hunt's 77 and Gove's 75. All registered party members will now vote on the final winner, who is expected to be announced the week of July 22.
Why It Matters: The next Tory leader will become the United Kingdom's prime minister, and will thereby have a strong hand in determining the country's future relationship with the European Union. Johnson, who has been the strong front-runner since the contest began, has promised a Brexit by Oct. 31 with or without a deal. Hunt, meanwhile, has also pledged to remove London from the bloc, though he has said he may ask Brussels for more time to avoid a no-deal Brexit come October.
Background: On June 7, British Prime Minister Theresa May stepped down as prime minister and party leader, spurring the ongoing contest to find her replacement. The most pro-EU candidate, Rory Stewart, was eliminated from the race in the preceding June 19 ballot.
- U.K.: With Theresa May Gone, What's Next for Brexit? (May 24, 2019)
- U.K.: Why Everyone Hates May's Latest Brexit Bid (May 22, 2019)
- Europe Faces a Continentwide Vote With National Implications (May 9, 2019)