Firefighters Do NOT Back Boris Johnson For PM, Says Union Chief

LONDON ENGLAND- JUNE 11 Rory Stewart OBE MP Secretary of State for International Development formally launches his bid to become the new leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the Udderbelly Festival Southbank

Mr Hancock, who secured 20 votes in the first ballot of the contest on Thursday, said the party is looking for a candidate for the "unique circumstances that exist now".

Johnson has pledged that Britain will exit the European Union on October 31, warning his divided Conservative Party "delay means defeat".

In his campaign, on the issue of Brexit, Mr Hancock vowed to go to Brussels to broker a time limit to the controversial Irish backstop and said MPs would block a no-deal exit.

The Institute of Directors - one of the UK's employers' groups - said companies should not put faith in politicians to produce an agreement as the October 31 deadline looms.

His comments represent a u-turn in outlook as just months ago Sir Mark had said a no-deal Brexit would result in a 10 per cent rise in food prices, an inability of the police to keep people safe, and a recession.

The field of contenders vying to become Britain's next prime minister narrowed to six today when Health Secretary Matt Hancock withdrew from the contest.

Hancock said: "I've tried to make the argument about the values that the Conservative Party needs to hold dear, of free enterprise and support for a free society and being open and optimistic and enthusiastic about the future".

"I will talk to all the other candidates about how these values can be best taken forward".

But he is taking flak from other candidates as the only one yet to confirm he will take part in Sunday's Channel 4 debate.

Johnson's spokesman has said he was in "discussions" with broadcasters about participating in their debates.

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"After three years and two missed deadlines, we must leave the European Union on 31 October and we must do better than the current withdrawal agreement that has been rejected three times by parliament", Johnson said. "I'm more than happy to do the BBC TV debate on Tuesday".

Before his confirmation, Mr Johnson faced accusations that he was trying to avoid hard questions.

"We should have a proper debate on the vision for the country".

The victor will take over from Theresa May as the next British Prime Minister.

Further rounds of voting are scheduled and the Conservatives should be down to their last two candidates by the end of Thursday.

Parliament has indicated it will try to stop a no-deal Brexit, which investors warn would hurt financial markets and shock the world economy. He has so far refused to say if he will.

Another challenger, aid minister Rory Stewart, said Mr Johnson had to attend the TV debates so lawmakers could see who was his best challenger.

Rivals turned their sights on Mr Johnson, who has pledged that Britain will leave on Oct 31, whether or not a deal can be struck.

"What we need to do is to speak with confidence again about our basic Conservative message", the former foreign secretary said, according to his campaign office.

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