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U.K. race to succeed Theresa May heats up with focus on Brexit

The race to succeed British Prime Minister Theresa May is heating up, the field of Conservative contenders is quickly growing and the focus is squarely on how to handle Brexit.Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Saturday he is seeking to replace May, joining several others who have announced they will run to become the Conservative Party's next leader, and by default, Britain's new prime minister.May announced Friday she plans to step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7 and remain as a caretaker prime minister while the party chooses a new leader in a contest that officially kicks off the following week.She plans to remain as party leader through U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming state visit and the 75th D-Day anniversary celebrations on June 6.Her successor will have to try to complete Brexit — a task that May failed to deliver during her three years in office. While she succeeded in striking a divorce deal with the European Union, the plan was defeated three times in Parliament by British lawmakers from across the political spectrum.Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock is one of several candidates who have already entered the race. (Matt Dunham/The Associated Press)The EU extended Britain's departure date to Oct. 31, but there still is no consensus among British lawmakers about how, or even if, the country should leave the bloc.Even before a new leader is chosen, the Conservative Party is expected to fare poorly when the results of the European Parliament election in Britain are announced Sunday night.Boris Johnson a lead contenderThe best-known contestant for the Conservative leadership post is former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who has said he will take Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31, even if no deal has been reached with EU leaders.Johnson's willingness to back a no-deal Brexit is already causing some ripples.MP Boris Johnson, a former foreign secretary, is considered a frontrunner. He has said will take Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 even if no deal has been reached with EU leaders. (Rui Vieira/The Associated Press)Another Conservative contender, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, said Saturday that he could not serve in a Cabinet under Johnso ...Read more

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