Question Time: Audience member concerned by Tory candidates
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The race to become the next Conservative Party leader and future Prime Minister to replace Boris Johnson stepped up pace this week, with party members casting their votes for their preferred candidate. The Tory leadership field has been narrowed down to just five candidates after Suella Braverman was the latest to be eliminated in the most recent round of voting on Thursday.
The next candidate will be shown the door on Monday when the next voting round takes place with subsequent rounds eliminating the contender with the fewest votes until only two remain – who will then go forward into a postal ballot of party members.
Brexit, which Mr Johnson listed as one of his finest achievements in his resignation speech outside No 10 last week, has become a key focal point in this contest.
Most notably Foreign Secretary Ms Truss, who has led often bitter talks with the European Union over the Northern Ireland Protocol, voted to leave the UK during the Brexit referendum in June 2016, as did Tom Tugendhat.
But the Tory leadership contenders have been warned any attempt to drag the UK back into an EU would infuriate Leave voters and lead the Tories on a path to oblivion.
Ben Harris-Quinney, Chairman of the Bow Group think tank, told Express.co.uk: “The reason Keir Starmer announced, against the wishes of his party, that Labour would not reverse Brexit, was because he knows they can’t win an election if they try to.
“For the Conservative Party that is doubly true. If a future leader of the Conservative Party attempted to undo Brexit, not only would they lose the next election, it would be the end of the Conservative Party entirely.
“For too long those that voted for and supported the Conservative Party have been betrayed, and no further betrayal will be tolerated.
He continued: “It is crucial that any future leader recognises that Brexit demanded a revolution in Westminster, which despite promises, was not delivered.
“Boris governed to the left of Blair, and a continuation of this will result in peril.
“If the Conservative Party leadership election allows the members a full say of a wide range of candidates, then they will choose someone that will implement that Brexit revolution.
“If that process is stolen by establishment and Westminster figures, then they risk a repeat of the last three leaders, or worse.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Johnson struck a defiant figure as he insisted his departure from Downing Street will not be the end of Brexit.
Conservative MP Jacob Young praised him, before adding: “How grateful we are for the support that he’s given us and for delivering on the will of 17.4 million people in taking us out of the EU.
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“Can I ask the Prime Minister is he as optimistic as I am about our future as a free and independent nation?”
The outgoing Prime Minister replied: “Jacob, my honourable friend, if anything I’m even more optimistic and my only anxiety – we all know that people think that this will be – there are people around the world who hope that this will be the end of Brexit and I can see them, look at them, did you notice, that’s them – they’re wrong and we’re going to show them they’re wrong.”
Despite Mr Johnson’s impending departure, the Government is trying to push ahead with plans that would effectively see large parts of the Protocol torn up.
MPs will continue line-by-line scrutiny of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill on Monday before concluding on Tuesday.
The Government has insisted the measures to remove checks on goods and animal and plant products travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are necessary to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement.
But many have claimed the move to override a treaty mutually agreed with the European Union is breaking international law.
Brussels has reacted furiously to the move from the UK, threatening fierce retaliation which has triggered fears of a brutal trade war between the two sides.
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