Published: Sun, June 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

What next for tumultuous UK Brexit path as May steps down?

What next for tumultuous UK Brexit path as May steps down?

May, who had stepped down amid mounting pressure over her repeatedly defeated Brexit deal, will continue as acting prime minister until the party has elected her successor, who will then take charge as the premier.

Nearly a dozen Conservative lawmakers are already jostling to replace her in a contest that formally opens Monday, vowing to succeed where May failed and renegotiate Britain's divorce deal with the European Union.

But her plan has been rejected three times by Parliament, doomed by hardline lawmakers who wanted more of a clean break and those who wanted a softer Brexit that kept close economic ties to the bloc. May's Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party are both fractured over how to leave the EU.

Leadership contest frontrunner Johnson warned that the center-right Conservatives "must deliver Brexit by October 31 or we risk Brexit Party votes delivering Corbyn to No 10", referring to leftist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn getting into Downing Street.

Suspending parliament - officially it would be called proroguing - would render lawmakers powerless and unable to vote to block the government from leaving the European Union on the latest departure deadline of October 31.

Subsequent rounds of successive balloting will take place on June 19 and June 20, if necessary, until only two contenders remain.

The by-election generated huge interest as it was a major test for Farage and his rookie Brexit Party.

There are so far 11 hopefuls, including frontrunner Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary.

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May replaced David Cameron in July 2016 after British voters chose to leave the EU. Labour's share of the vote fell sharply from the last election in 2017, and the Conservatives came third.

Johnson cleared one hurdle on Friday after the High Court quashed a legal action brought by a citizen who accuses him of misconduct in public office for making misleading statements during the 2016 campaign about how much money Britain sends to the EU. She announced her decision to quit as prime minister last month.

Labour's Lisa Forbes polled 10,484 votes in the by-election, with Brexit Party candidate Mike Greene less than 700 behind, with 9,801 votes.

Although she had voted to remain, May insisted from day one of her tenure at Downing Street that the will of the British people must be respected.

The leadership race is now on in the Conservative Party but, just as with Brexit, the party and the nation are divided over who they want to lead them. Voters could simply choose to discount the claim if they wanted to do so, he said.

The EU has also completed its no-deal preparations, and while many in Brussels hope Britain's Parliament would prevent the country crashing out of the bloc, most are reluctantly resigned to the possibility that it could happen.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage reacts after the European Parliament election results for the UK South East Region are announced at the Civic Centre Southampton, Southern England, on May 26, 2019.

Options include leaving the European Union with no deal, agreeing on a compromise deal with Brussels, asking for another extension to allow the new prime minister to steer a withdrawal deal through parliament, or not leaving the European Union at all. "I look back and I think I wish I hadn't done that", he said.

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