After a month of hustings, the winner of the Tory leadership contest will be revealed at 11.45am this morning. The winner will then enter No10 tomorrow after Theresa May is given a final send off in the Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions. Boris Johnson, who lead the 2016 campaign to leave the European Union, is the front-runner to succeed Mrs May, with opinion polls predicting him to get a huge majority.
The latest poll by YouGov, carried out between July 1 and 5, showed 74 percent of 1,119 Conservative Party members who were polled wanted the former Foreign Secretary to triumph.
After Mrs May resigned on May 24, 13 new hopefuls threw their hat into the ring, including fellow Vote Leave frontman, Michael Gove, and the pro-EU Rory Stewart.
But after the overcrowded list of hopefuls were quickly whittled down, Mr Johnson’s rival over the past few weeks has been former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who voted “remain” in the Brexit referendum.
Since June 20 the pair have been battling it out for the support of Conservative members.
Boris Johnson is the frontrunner to be the next Prime Minister
Both Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson want to renegotiate a new deal with the EU, so they can ditch parts of the deal Mrs May struck with Brussels last year.
Mrs May was humiliated when her deal was rejected by parliament three times.
The EU has repeatedly said it will not renegotiate the legally binding part of the deal, the ‘withdrawal agreement’ which sets out a transition period to smooth Britain’s exit.
The biggest problem for the next Prime Minister is the withdrawal agreement’s so called ’Irish backstop’.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have battled for the top job over the last few weeks
The backstop is meant to act as an insurance policy to prevent border controls between EU member Ireland and British province Northern Ireland.
However, Brexiteers fear it could leave the UK bound by EU laws with no day on their making.
EU negotiators expressed a willingness to engage with the new Prime mInister to find a way of ensuring the UK leaves the EU with a deal but have ruled out ditching the backstop.
As part of his Brexit plan, Mr Johnson has said the £39billion Brexit ‘bill’ must be suspended “in a state of creative ambiguity over the talks” while a Free Trade Agreement is negotiated.
Boris Johnson has declared the UK needs to leave the EU “do or die”
Boris Johnson supported the Leave campaign during the 2016 referendum
He added he will pay up front for a “standstill” transition period after the day of leaving, if the EU is willing to agree to this.
Mr Johnson also wants separate agreements on issues including EU civil servants’ pensions, as well as the settlement of court cases still live at the point of Brexit and address the questions posed by Gibraltar and the management of UK bases in Cyprus on a bilateral basis.
Mr Johnson also proposes that the Irish backstop be “kicked out”, so that the issue of the Irish border and “indeed every other border” is instead settled “where those questions logically belong in the context of the Free Trade Agreement”.
He said: “We’ll get a great deal; we’ll get a protraction of the existing arrangements; then we’ll come out and solve the Irish border problems in the negotiations on free trade.”
However, he has refused to rule out a no deal Brexit if the EU fail to alter the terms of the UK’s exit from the Brussels club, saying the UK must leave the EU on October 31, “do or die”.
The two Tory leadership candidates have taken part in various hustings
The policy has left Mr Johnson at odds with many MPs in his party even before the result of the leadership election has been announced.
Alan Duncan dramatically quit from the Foreign Office yesterday over his opposition to Mr Johnson becoming Prime Minister.
Rory Stewart has also reiterated his objection to working under Mr Johnson.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond told the BBC on Sunday he plans to resign from his role if Mr Johnson is elected.
Justice Secretary David Gauke also told the Sunday Times that he would also resign for the same reason.
Mr Hunt’s Brexit plan involves doing a better deal with the EU.
Theresa May announced she was quitting as PM after her deal was brutally rejected
He thinks there is a prospect of getting a deal by October 31 but he is prepared to delay Brexit beyond that date if he believes more time is needed.
Voting opened to the Conservative Party’s 160,000 members on July 6.
The deadline for them to vote was Sunday July 21, and now votes are being quickly counted.
The candidate who achieves more than 50 percent of the vote will be the winner.
Tomorrow Mrs May will then give her final Prime Minister’s Questions, before going to Buckingham Palace to resign as Prime Minister to the Queen.