UK’s Sunak and Truss make Tory party leadership run-off

(COMBO) Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Former Finance minister Rishi Sunak are the final two candidates for the Tory party leadership run-off following a vote on July 20, 2022. (Photos by Daniel LEAL and Tolga Akmen / AFP)

 

 

Conservative MPs in Britain on Wednesday chose former finance minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to contest a run-off to be leader and prime minister, to be decided by party members.

Sunak led the last of five ballots of Tory lawmakers, winning 137 votes, ahead of Truss on 113, while junior trade minister Penny Mordaunt was eliminated after getting 105 votes.

Final Two Candidates For UK PM To Be Decided

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on July 12, 2022  (Photos by various sources / AFP)

The final two candidates to become UK prime minister will be decided Wednesday, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt battling it out to make an expected runoff against frontrunner Rishi Sunak.

Former finance minister Sunak was only two votes short of securing his place in the final two after Tuesday’s voting, but the race behind him tightened as Truss clawed back five votes to finish only six behind Mordaunt.

The final pair will be announced at 4:00 pm (1500 GMT), before the race then moves to Conservative party members who will decide the new leader and prime minister. The result will be announced on September 5.

Tuesday’s vote means Britain will get either its first British-Asian prime minister or the third female leader in its history.

Sunak, whose resignation helped to topple outgoing leader Boris Johnson, is all but guaranteed to make the final cut.

But Mordaunt — the one-time bookmakers’ favourite — is now the outsider with punters betting that the right wing of the party will swing behind Truss after Kim Badenoch was voted out on Tuesday.

In a bid to woo those MPs, Truss wrote in Wednesday’s Daily Telegraph that her plan to revive the economy would be “based around tax cuts, deregulation and tough reform”.

Former minister David Davis, a backer of Mordaunt, accused Sunak of lending votes to Truss so he could face her in the runoff.

“He wants to fight Liz, because she’s the person who will lose the debate with him,” he told LBC Radio.

A YouGov poll published before the vote showed that, despite his popularity with parliamentary colleagues, Sunak was the least appealing candidate to the members.

The BBC plans to host a live televised debate with the final two candidates on Monday, with all remaining candidates agreeing to take part if they get through.

Sunak won the two previous debates, according to snap polls.

But his popularity with the Tory grassroots has faded since questions were raised over his family’s tax arrangements, and as he presided over sky-rocketing inflation, which on Wednesday hit a new 40-year high of 9.4 percent in June.

In a new policy announcement, Sunak vowed an “ambitious new plan to make the UK energy independent” by 2045 in order to prevent future energy-driven inflation spikes, after Russia’s war in Ukraine sent gas prices rocketing.

– Race gets personal –
Mordaunt had headed the same YouGov poll of Tory members previously.

But she now trails Truss after a damaging few days in which her former boss, one-time UK Brexit pointman David Frost, slammed her work ethic and questions were raised over her stance on transgender rights.

Johnson announced on July 7 he was quitting as Conservative leader after a government rebellion in protest at his scandal-hit administration.

Having survived a confidence vote in his government on Monday, Johnson is now almost certain to stay on as prime minister until his successor is announced on September 5.

Under Britain’s parliamentary system, the leader of the biggest party is prime minister and can be changed mid-term without having to call a general election.

Johnson chaired his last cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning and is due to face his final weekly question-and-answer session with MPs in parliament on Wednesday.

In the two previous televised debates — on Channel 4 Friday and the ITV network Sunday — the contenders clashed notably on whether to cut taxes to help ease a soaring cost-of-living crisis.

But Sunday’s clash turned more acrimonious — and personal — with candidates encouraged to directly criticise one another and their proposals.

Sunak called out Truss for voting against Brexit, her previous membership of the Liberal Democrats and her position on tax.

In turn, Truss questioned Sunak’s stewardship of the economy.

Badenoch attacked Mordaunt for her stance on transgender rights — a rallying call in the “culture wars” exercising the Tory right.

Rishi Sunak Heads Race To Become UK PM After Latest Vote

(COMBO) Six candidates remain in the running to replace UK Prime Minister after July 13, 2022 first round of voting, the Conservative Party announced, with finance minister Nadhim Zahawi and former foreign minister Jeremy Hunt eliminated. Rishi Sunak, who quit as finance minister last week to trigger Johnson’s downfall, leads the pack with the support of 88 Tory MPs, followed by Penny Mordaunt, who polling shows is most popular with the party membership that will ultimately decide the race, on 67. (Photos by various sources / AFP) 

 

 

Former finance minister Rishi Sunak came out on top in the latest round of voting Thursday by Conservative MPs to decide Britain’s next prime minister, followed by bookmaker favourite Penny Mordaunt.

Mordaunt earlier came under blistering attack after she surged in the race to succeed Boris Johnson, as another long-shot candidate for leader was eliminated.

The little-known Mordaunt, a committed Brexiteer who was briefly Britain’s first woman defence secretary before she was demoted to less senior roles, has emerged as the darling of Tory grassroots members.

In the second round of voting by Conservative MPs, the Royal Navy reservist again came a strong second with 83 votes, behind former finance minister Sunak with 101.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss — the favoured candidate of Johnson loyalists — was third with 64, after formally launching her campaign with vows of tax cuts and a smaller state.

Promising “an aspiration nation”, Truss said she would be ready “from day one” to fix the enfeebled UK economy and take on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine.

Attorney General Suella Braverman was eliminated from the race after coming last, with the five remaining candidates proceeding to the next round of voting by Tory MPs on Monday.

Polls point to Mordaunt beating Sunak, Truss and the others comfortably, once the party members decide between the final two candidates in the coming weeks.

But Mordaunt was savaged by her former boss in the Brexit ministry, David Frost, who called her unfit for office. And she is barely known nationally.

A poll of more than 2,200 adults by Savanta ComRes said only 11 percent could identify Mordaunt from her photograph, and only 16 percent of Conservative voters. Two respondents thought she was the singer Adele.

Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, after his elimination on Wednesday, threw his support behind Sunak, whose resignation from the cabinet last week helped spark a ministerial revolt against Johnson after months of scandal.

Drawing a pointed contrast to Johnson, Hunt said the former chancellor of the exchequer was “one of the most decent, straight people with the highest standards of integrity” in politics.

 

Rishi Sunak, Britain’s former chancellor of the exchequer and candidate to become the next prime minister, delivers a speech at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London on July 12, 2022.  (Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / AFP)

 

– Character not wealth –
But the wealthy Sunak faces questions about his family’s tax affairs and his prior decision to retain US residency.

And he is opposed to immediate tax cuts to confront a post-pandemic cost-of-living crisis, stressing the need instead for fiscal responsibility.

“I don’t judge people by their bank accounts, I judge them by their character,” Sunak told BBC radio.

“And I think people can judge me by my actions over the past couple of years,” he said, pointing to the economic support he designed as chancellor during the pandemic.

Mordaunt, a junior trade minister who is relatively untainted by the scandals of Johnson’s premiership, has come up the middle between Truss and Sunak with a campaign strong on patriotic themes.

But the Daily Mail took aim at her stance on transgender people, one of Britain’s “culture war” debates that has energised the party’s right-wing.

Mordaunt was “telling lies” after previously supporting transgender women in the role of equalities minister, only to take a harder line at her campaign launch this week, the newspaper quoted a Truss ally as saying.

– ‘Grave reservations’ –
Mordaunt’s political enemies have also jibed at “Part-time Penny”, alleging she has not taken her government roles seriously.

That line of attack was given new impetus from a dramatic intervention by Frost, who resigned as Brexit minister last year.

Based on their time working together, “I’m afraid I would have grave reservations” about her entering 10 Downing Street, Frost told TalkTV, revealing that at his request, Johnson had removed her from their department.

“I’m sorry to say this that I felt she did not master the detail that was necessary in the negotiations (with Brussels, over Northern Ireland) last year,” he said.

“She wouldn’t always deliver tough messages to the European Union when that was necessary, and I’m afraid she wasn’t sort of fully accountable, she wasn’t always visible. Sometimes I didn’t even know where she was.”

Mordaunt supporters rejected the portrayal, while Downing Street refused to comment.

Several television debates between the remaining candidates loom, with the first Friday night, ahead of weeks of nationwide hustings in front of Tory members. The eventual winner is set to be announced on September 5.

Who Could Take Over As UK Prime Minister?

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on July 12, 2022 shows, top row from left, Britain’s  Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Nadhim Zahawi, Tom Tugendhat, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Kemi Badenoch. (Photos by various sources / AFP)

 

 

The race to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative leader and Britain’s prime minister is heating up, with eight candidates facing the first vote among Tory MPs on Wednesday.

While several possible successors are seen as frontrunners, there is no clear favourite — and such contests are notoriously volatile.

Rishi Sunak

The UK’s first Hindu finance minister, and Britain’s richest MP, Sunak quit last week and declared he was standing three days later.

Sunak, 42, launched his campaign on Tuesday, saying he would not “demonise” the outgoing Johnson despite helping to trigger his demise.

Long seen as Johnson’s most likely successor, his prospects were dented earlier this year by questions over his private wealth and family’s tax arrangements.

Sunak earned millions in finance before politics, and his Indian wife Akshata Murty’s father co-founded the IT giant Infosys.

His apparent reluctance to embrace the immediate tax cuts being promised by rivals could also harm his prospects.

But a recent poll of Conservative members who will eventually vote for their new leader put Sunak on top.

Penny Mordaunt

Mordaunt, 49, the first woman to have been UK defence secretary and currently a trade minister, joined the contest in a video posted to social media Sunday.

A strong Brexit supporter and key figure in the 2016 “Leave” campaign, she has been tipped as a potential unity candidate who could draw support from the Conservative party’s warring factions, and is popular among grassroots members.

The former magician’s assistant launched her campaign on Wednesday, promising a return to Conservative policies of “low tax, small state and personal responsibility” and a “relentless focus on cost-of-living issues”.

Kemi Badenoch

Former equalities minister Badenoch, who resigned last week, has one of the lowest profiles of the current contenders but is polling well among the party’s members.

Another trenchant critic of “identity politics”, the 42-year-old is a strong defender of conservativism and received a boost with the endorsement of Tory heavyweight Michael Gove.

Liz Truss

Foreign Secretary Truss confirmed her widely expected leadership bid on Sunday.

The 46-year-old is popular among Conservative members for her outspokenness.

But that has also stoked questions about her judgement, for instance when in February she encouraged Britons to fight in Ukraine.

Critics say her leadership posturing has been too overt and question her principles, after she campaigned against Brexit in 2016 only to ally herself with the Tory right.

When she headed the Department for International Trade, some MPs dubbed it the “Department for Instagramming Truss” because of her prolific output on the social media site.

Jeremy Hunt

Former foreign and health secretary Hunt, 55, lost to Johnson in 2019, but confirmed Saturday he will run again.

A supporter of remaining inside the European Union during the 2016 referendum, he has revealed Brexiteer Esther McVey will be his deputy if he wins.

A fluent Japanese speaker but lacking Johnson’s charisma, he has also vowed to cut corporation tax from 25 to 15 percent.

Nadhim Zahawi

Newly appointed finance minister Zahawi was praised for overseeing Britain’s pandemic vaccines rollout, before helming the education department.

The 55-year-old is a former refugee from Iraq who came to Britain as a child speaking no English. Before entering politics, he co-founded the prominent polling company YouGov.

But his private wealth has also drawn adverse attention, including when he claimed parliamentary expenses for heating his horse stables.

His fledgling campaign was endangered Sunday after newspapers reported he is being investigated by UK tax authorities, though he has denied wrongdoing.

Tom Tugendhat

The prominent backbencher who chairs parliament’s influential foreign affairs committee was the first to launch his bid.

A former army officer who served in the Middle East, he is also a hawk on China and has been critical of the government’s handling of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The 49-year-old committed to spending 3.0 percent of GDP on defence as he launched his campaign on Tuesday.

Suella Braverman

Attorney General and arch-Brexiteer Braverman declared her campaign in media interviews last week, even before Johnson announced his resignation.

The 42-year-old is popular within the party for her Euroscepticism and fierce attacks on “woke” politics.

She is one of 28 so-called “Spartan” Tory MPs, who refused to back ex-prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on all three occasions it was voted on in parliament.

UK PM Fights For Survival After Lockdown Party Hangover

File photo: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during an event on the sidelines of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021. COP26, running from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow will be the biggest climate conference since the 2015 Paris summit and is seen as crucial in setting worldwide emission targets to slow global warming, as well as firming up other key commitments.
Steve Reigate / POOL / AFP

 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fighting for his political future on Thursday as his Conservatives descended into open internal warfare after he belatedly apologised for attending a party during the coronavirus lockdown.

The apparent breach of coronavirus restrictions has enraged the public, who were forced to abide by rules that prevented them from visiting sick and dying loved ones, or attending funerals.

Most cabinet members rallied around Johnson after his mea culpa, but the backing given by some such as Rishi Sunak, his powerful finance minister and potential successor, was distinctly lukewarm.

The Prime Minister himself went to ground on Thursday, cancelling a planned trip to northern England after a family member came down with Covid-19, in scrupulous adherence to his government’s rules.

While expressing “heartfelt apologies”, Johnson on Wednesday sparked ridicule by saying he had believed the May 2020 gathering was a work event.

He urged all sides to await the findings of an internal inquiry.

Douglas Ross, the Conservatives’ leader in Scotland, joined at least four Tory backbench MPs in calling for Johnson to quit after the prime minister admitted joining the party in his Downing Street garden in May 2020, when Britain was under a strict lockdown.

“Regretfully, I have to say his position is no longer tenable,” Ross told STV.

Cabinet member Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissed Ross as a “lightweight” Tory figure, sparking rebukes from other MPs and warnings that the upper-crust Englishman was bolstering the case for Scottish independence.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis insisted Johnson had been “very, very sincere” in his apology, amid warnings that Conservative MPs could be mobilising for a no-confidence vote.

“He does recognise the anger and upset and frustration that people feel at what they perceive happened at Number 10. He recognises that and takes responsibility,” Lewis told BBC radio.

Labour Surges In Polls

But Lewis was forced to play down reports that Johnson had told Ross and other Tories, after his House of Commons apology, that he did not believe he had done anything wrong.

On Wednesday, Labour leader Keir Starmer for the first time joined other opposition chiefs in demanding that Johnson resign.

The prime minister’s poll ratings have slumped since “partygate” allegations related to events in 2020 emerged last month.

One new poll by YouGov in The Times newspaper gave Labour a 10-point lead over the Tories, its biggest margin since 2013, and said six out of 10 voters believe Johnson should resign.

Senior Labour MP Lisa Nandy said the prime minister was likely to face new revelations, after Johnson previously insisted in parliament that no Covid rules had been broken in 2020.

‘Horrified and Re-traumatised’

Relatives left bereaved by Covid and unable to say their final goodbyes felt “appalled, horrified and re-traumatised” by Johnson’s attendance at the party, Nandy said on ITV, urging the police to investigate.

London’s Metropolitan Police have not ruled out a criminal probe into the party, which occurred at a time when Britons were banned from outdoor socialising.

But for now Johnson’s fate appears to lie in the hands of senior civil servant Sue Gray, whom he has commissioned to look into the May 2020 event and other Downing Street gatherings that year.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak, who was noticeably absent from the House of Commons on Wednesday, said Johnson had been right to apologise and urged “patience” pending Gray’s report.

Another potential contender to replace Johnson, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, also took hours to issue any public backing, but said she stood “100 percent” behind the prime minister.

Johnson’s official spokesman insisted the cabinet was united in delivering the government’s post-Brexit and post-pandemic priorities.

“The prime minister abides by the principles of public office,” he told reporters, stressing that Johnson had promised to publish Gray’s report and then update parliament.

The government suffered a further blow Thursday with news that its deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam — a gifted and colourful communicator during the pandemic — was leaving to go back to academia.

COVID-19: UK’s Johnson Cancels Trip After Lockdown Apology

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on as he welcomes Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq for talks in 10 Downing Street in London on December 16, 2021. Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on as he welcomes Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq for talks in 10 Downing Street in London on December 16, 2021. Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP

 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled a trip to northern England Thursday after a relative came down with Covid, officials said, a day after he apologised over a lockdown-breaking party.

“The prime minister will no longer be visiting Lancashire today due to a family member testing positive for coronavirus,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

“He will follow the guidance for vaccinated close contacts, including daily testing and limiting contact with others.”

In Britain, fully vaccinated people no longer have to self-isolate after coming into contact with an infected person. But they are advised to “limit close contact with other people outside your household”.

Johnson lives in a Downing Street flat with his wife Carrie and their two small children.

READ ALSO: France To Ease UK Travel Restrictions On Friday

For his critics, Johnson’s scrupulous adherence to the rules now will contrast with his attendance at a party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, when Britain was under a strict lockdown.

After days of stonewalling the scandal, on Wednesday he issued “heartfelt apologies”, conceding that millions had observed the lockdown even at the cost of missing final farewells to dying relatives.

But opposition parties and even some Conservatives are demanding Johnson resign.

Recovering UK PM Johnson Is In ‘Good Shape,’ Says Health Secretary

In this file photo taken on February 26, 2020 Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London, to take part in Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) at the House of Commons. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 26, 2020 Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London, to take part in Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) at the House of Commons. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is recovering after contracting the new coronavirus, is “in very good shape,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday.

Johnson, 55, spent a week in hospital, including three days in intensive care, before being discharged on April 12.

“I spoke to him yesterday, he is in very good shape and is clearly recovering,” Hancock told Sky News, but said it was not yet known when he would return to work.

“I am sure he will come back as soon as his doctors recommend it,” amid speculation Johnson would return to his Downing Street office on Monday.

“The decision has not been made but he is taking calls and staying in touch.”

Hancock, who himself contracted the virus, said Johnson had spoken to Queen Elizabeth II and US President Donald Trump in recent days.

The US leader told a Washington press conference on Thursday that Johnson was full of “tremendous energy.”

“He called me a few days ago, I will tell you he sounded incredible,” Trump said.

“I was actually surprised… he was ready to go. I’m very surprised to tell you this. It’s like the old Boris, tremendous energy, tremendous drive.”

Britain has been one of the hardest hit countries by the pandemic with 18,738 hospital deaths.

However, the death toll could be much higher once officials count fatalities at care homes and in the community, which take longer to be included in the official statistics.

Johnson’s government has introduced a number of social distancing measures to stop the spread of the disease.

Hancock also said Friday that it was “too soon” to relax the measures in place over fears of a “second wave” of the virus.

AFP

Buhari To Visit UK, Meets With Theresa May

BREAKING: Buhari Leaves For UK, To Meet With Theresa May
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Monday for an official visit to the United Kingdom, the Presidency has said.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, revealed this in a statement signed by him on Sunday in the Federal Capital Territory.

The President will hold discussions on Nigeria – British relations with UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings scheduled for April 18 to 20.

He is also expected to meet with the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Plc, Mr Ben van Beurden, in connection with Shell and other partners’ plan to invest $15b in Nigeria’s oil industry.

According to the presidential aide, these investment ventures will lay the foundation for the next 20 years production and domestic gas supply, bringing with it all the attendant benefits both to the economy and the wider society.

President Buhari is also due to renew discussions with the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Rt. Honourable Justin Welby, a good friend of the President on inter-religious harmony in Nigeria and worldwide.

Further meetings have also been scheduled for President Buhari to interact with some prominent British and Nigerians residing in Britain.

Brexit: British Bankers’ Association Says Big Banks Will Leave UK

hsbc-editedThe British Bankers’ Association has warned that the big banks in the UK are getting ready to leave the United Kingdom following fears and uncertainty about Brexit.

BBA head, Anthony Browne, in his writing in the The Observer says while the large banks gearing to relocate from the UK as early next year, smaller banks could transfer their operations abroad as early as 2017.

“Their hands are quivering over the relocate button,” he wrote. Most banks had backed the UK remaining in the EU.

Public and political debate at the moment is taking us in the wrong direction.” He stated.

This comments follow a similar warning he gave at the annual conference of the association last week.

On the impact of the Brexit on the UK financial system, Mr.Browne said, “Banking is probably more affected by Brexit than any other sector of the economy, both in the degree of impact and the scale of the implications.”

“It is the UK’s biggest export industry by far and is more internationally mobile than most.” He said.

He said the implication of Brexit for banks does not simply mean additional tariffs being imposed on trade but whether if banks would have legal rights to provide services.

He added that banks want to see the continuation of the EU’s “passporting” system which allows UK-based financial services to operate across Europe without separate authorization.

Banks in the UK have called for transition arrangements to be put in place after the UK leaves the EU.

But Mr Browne warned that in Europe and among UK eurosceptics the mood is getting stronger.

“The problem comes – as seems increasingly likely, judging by the rhetoric – when national governments try to use the EU exit negotiations to build walls across the Channel to split Europe’s integrated financial market in two, in order to force jobs from London,” Mr Browne said.

He concluded by saying that the reality is that the UK should be prepared to see jobs moving to Paris or Frankfurt though it might be more expensive for banks and other financial firms in France and Germany to raise investment capital than if they were in the UK.

Restricting Movement

The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, in her one of her earlier conversations about Brexit says her government will restrict free movement of people from the EU after the eventual pull-out from the bloc.

EU leaders however say the four freedoms – which include Freedom of Movement – are indivisible and non-negotiable.

If Mrs May insists on such restriction, it means the UK will have to exit the single market and lose passporting.

UK Parliament Attacks Cameron Over Libya ‘Collapse’

David Cameron, Libya, UKIt does seem like the ghost of former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, is coming back to haunt western leaders as a UK parliamentary report sternly criticised the intervention by Britain and France that led to the 2011 Libyan revolution.

The Foreign Affairs Committee accused the former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, of lacking a coherent strategy for the air campaign.

It said the intervention was flawed as it lacked “accurate intelligence”, and that it led to the emergence of the Islamic State in North Africa.

However, BBC said the UK government insisted it had been an international decision to intervene.

According to the foreign office, the action had been called for by the Arab League and authorised by the UN Security Council.

UK Prime Minister Predicts Difficulties For Brexit

 UK Prime Minister, Brexit United Kingdom Prime Minister, Theresa May, has asked Britain to be prepared for some “difficult times” ahead, even as the country leaves the European Union.

In her first major interview since taking office, Mrs May warned that although the economy has gone against negative predictions, Brexit would not be “plain sailing” for the UK, adding that formal EU talks will not begin until 2017.

The former home secretary, became Prime Minister after David Cameron resigned in the wake of the EU referendum hence the Brexit process is likely to dominate the first years of Mrs May’s premiership.

According to her, Britain’s economy will suffer as a result of the decision to leave the European Union despite signs in recent economic data that the impact has not been as severe as some predicted.

However she has expressed optimism about new opportunities for Britain outside the EU saying, Britain will “make a success” of leaving the EU.

Mrs May has also ruled out a snap election, on claims that the UK needs “stability”.

IS Soldiers Kill Priest In France

France, IS, PriestTwo armed men have killed a priest and adopted four other persons when they stormed a church in a suburb of Rouen in northern France.

Officials say the attackers, who claimed to be members of the Islamic State (IS) slit 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel’s throat during a morning Mass.

BBC says Police surrounded the church and shot dead both abductors while one of the captives is in a critical condition in the hospital.

Visiting the scene, President Francois Hollande vowed that France would fight IS by all means.

He said that the attackers had committed a “cowardly assassination”.

Pope Francis criticised the “pain and horror of this absurd violence” while UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, described the attack as “sickening” and offered her sympathies to the people of France.