Candidates face first ballot in battle to be British PM

Chancellor Philip Hammond arrives for the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday

Philip Hammond accuses Boris Johnson of 'driving UK off a cliff-edge'

In the UK, Boris Johnson enjoyed a landslide win in the first round of the Conservative Party leadership election on Thursday, . winning more than twice as many votes as his closest rival Jeremy Hunt.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson, the former Foreign Secretary and London Mayor, has confirmed that he will take part in a televised debate with other candidates on the BBC on Tuesday - although it is not known whether he will join Sunday's debate on Channel 4.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt came second in the race, and is, at this stage, Johnson's main rival for the top job. "I am delighted to win the first ballot, but we have a long way to go", Mr Johnson said on Twitter.

Three of the 10 candidates who polled less than the threshold of 17 votes on Thursday were eliminated: Mark Harper (10), Andrea Leadsom (11) and Esther McVey (9).

He also bowed to growing political pressure and agreed to debate the other Conservative Party contenders to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May on BBC television Tuesday evening.

"My own observation is that in the past when you've had loads of candidates, it can be slightly cacophonous and I think the public have had quite a lot of blue on blue action frankly over the last three years".

His closest rivals are Jeremy Hunt, now foreign minister, and Andrea Leadsom, former leader of the House of Commons.

"What European leaders say is that, of course, if someone approached them with some new ideas they would look at the whole package, and of course, they are willing to do that because they don't want a no-deal Brexit either".

The EU departure was originally due to take place on March 29, but has been delayed to October 31 because of the political deadlock in London.

May was forced to delay, with reluctant European Union agreement, the deadline for Britain to leave the European Union, which is now set for October 31.

"All those who say that we should delay".

That's because with support from well over a third of Conservative MPs Boris Johnson already has enough votes to give him a place in the last two.

"I have chose to withdraw from the race and work out what is the best way to advance the values that I care deeply about", he told the London Evening Standard newspaper.

'The stakes have rarely been higher for our country.

The ballot takes place in a Houses of Parliament committee room between 10:00am (0900 GMT) and 12:00pm (1100 GMT), with the results expected to be announced around an hour later. "This serious moment calls for a serious leader". The victor, due to be announced in late July, will become Conservative leader and prime minister.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and Home Secretary Savid Javid also made it through to the second round.

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