Voting to close for Tory leadership contest

Voting to close for Tory leadership contest

Agency News

London, Jul 22 : Voting will close later in the Conservative leadership contest, with the UK's next Prime Minister set to be announced on Tuesday.The next occupant of Number 10 will be either Boris Johnson - regarded as the frontrunner - or Jeremy Hunt.

The winner and successor to Theresa May is due to take office on Wednesday, said a BBC News report.But ahead of the polls closing at 17:00 BST, Sir Alan Duncan quit as a Foreign Office minister in protest against a possible Boris Johnson victory.Chancellor Philip Hammond told BBC on Sunday that he intends to resign as chancellor if Johnson becomes Prime Minister.

Justice Secretary David Gauke also reiterated in the Sunday Times that he would also resign this week for the same reason.BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said the ministers could not stomach the prospect of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, which they think Johnson is increasingly likely to oversee.

Johnson has said the UK must leave the EU by the deadline of October 31 "do or die, come what may". Hunt has said he too is prepared to leave with no deal, but would accept a further delay, if required, to get a new withdrawal deal.The EU has repeatedly said it will not re-open negotiations on the deal agreed with May.

Meanwhile, two former Labour Prime Ministers have warned about what they see as the dangers of leaving the EU without a deal.Writing in the Times, Tony Blair said a no-deal exit could range from being "very difficult" to "catastrophic".

"No-one knows with certainty the impact of no deal for the simple reason that no developed nation has ever left overnight its preferential trading arrangements in this manner," he wrote.

Gordon Brown, meanwhile, is to claim in a speech in London that leaving without a deal would push the British economy "off a cliff".(UNi)