- Associated Press - Thursday, June 13, 2019

LONDON (AP) - Britain’s Conservative Party was holding the first round of knockout voting Thursday in the race to replace Theresa May as party leader and prime minister.

The result will eliminate at least one, and perhaps several, contenders from the crowded field of 10 candidates.

The 313 Conservative lawmakers were voting by secret ballot in a wood-paneled room at the House of Commons. The results will be announced at lunchtime on Thursday.

The candidate with the fewest votes - and any who don’t get at least 17 - will drop out. Further rounds of votes will be held next week until just two candidates remain. The winner will then be decided by a vote of all 160,000 Conservative Party members across the country.

Boris Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign secretary, is the front-runner, with declared support from about 80 colleagues.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Home Secretary Sajid Javid are among those aiming to catch him.

Candidates with the least declared support, who could fail to make the cut, include lawmakers Rory Stewart, Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Esther McVey.

The contest is dominated by the issue of Britain’s stalled departure from the European Union, with all the contenders promising to succeed where May failed and lead the country out of the bloc.

Britain’s EU departure was originally due to take place on March 29, but has been delayed to Oct. 31 because of the political deadlock in London.


Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and the Conservative Party leadership race at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

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