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The Latest: Johnson takes bigger lead in race to lead UK

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LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the voting to elect Britain’s next prime minister (all times local):

8:25 p.m.

The five men competing to be Britain’s next prime minister are taking part in a televised debate where they traded barbs about who will get Britain out of the European Union fastest.

Front-runner Boris Johnson said during the Tuesday night debate that if Brexit doesn’t happen on the scheduled date of Oct. 31 there would be a “catastrophic loss of confidence in politics.”

Both Johnson and fellow contender Sajid Javid said they would opt to leave the EU without an agreement if Parliament hadn’t ratified a divorce deal by then.

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The debate came just hours after Conservative Party lawmakers voted for a second time to winnow to field of candidates competing to replace Theresa May as party leader and British prime minister.

Michael Gove said a no-deal Brexit would cause “economic turbulence” but he wouldn’t rule it out. Jeremy Hunt said “it should only be a very, very last resort.”

Gove and Hunt both said they’d delay Brexit for a short time if needed to secure a deal.

The fifth contender, Rory Stewart, said “there would never be no-deal” if he was prime minister because it would be too damaging to the economy.

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6:05 p.m.

Boris Johnson has increased his lead in the race to become Britain’s next prime minister, as one of his rivals was eliminated from the contest.

Five contenders in all were still in the running after a second-round ballot of Conservative lawmakers on Tuesday.

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab failed to reach the threshold of 33 votes needed to go on to the next round.

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Tory lawmakers will vote again Wednesday and, if needed, on Thursday. The final two contenders will go to a by-mail ballot of all 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide.

The winner will replace Theresa May as party leader and prime minister.

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9 a.m.

Conservative lawmakers in Britain are voting on who should become the party’s next leader and Britain’s next prime minister.

Six contenders, including front-runner Boris Johnson, remained before the vote on Tuesday. At least one will be eliminated in that vote.

All those aiming to replace Prime Minister Theresa May vow they will succeed where May failed and lead Britain out of the European Union, though they differ about how they plan to break the country’s Brexit deadlock.

Johnson, a former foreign secretary, gained backing from 114 of the 313 Tory legislators in the first round of voting.

In Tuesday’s vote, the lowest-placed contender will drop out, along with any who fail to get at least 33 votes. Further rounds of voting are set for Wednesday and Thursday if needed. The final two contenders will go to a postal ballot of about 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide.

The winner, due to be announced in late July, will become party leader and prime minister.

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

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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