Race to succeed UK PM May centres on ‘no deal’ Brexit battle

Vastavam web: The prospect of a “no deal” Brexit was fast becoming the central battle of the race to succeed British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday, as environment minister Michael Gove became the eighth candidate to declare. May said on Friday she was quitting over her failure to deliver Brexit, potentially opening the way for a new leader who could seek a more divisive split with the European Union and lead to confrontation with the bloc or a possible parliamentary election.

Setting out their pitch to the Conservative Party’s largely pro-Brexit membership who will decide the outcome of the contest, four of the leadership hopefuls have said Britain must leave the EU on Oct. 31 even if this means a no-deal Brexit. “If you’re not willing to walk away from a negotiation, it doesn’t focus the mind of the other side … I will not ask for an extension.”

Fellow contenders Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom both made similar comments on Sunday. Former foreign minister Boris Johnson, the bookmakers’ favourite to replace May, wrote in his weekly column for the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “No one sensible would aim exclusively for a no-deal outcome. No one responsible would take no-deal off the table.”

“I am ready to unite the Conservative and Unionist Party, ready to deliver Brexit and ready to lead this great country,” he said. In an interview with the BBC later, he said Britain would “be able to get through” a no-deal Brexit but it was “ultimately better for all of us if we secure a deal and leave in an orderly way.”