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British Politics Just Got Even Crazier

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In the rowdy world of British politics, it’s another day of surprises: The race to succeed the outgoing David Cameron as prime minister took an unexpected turn when former London Mayor Boris Johnson announced he would not be running. Johnson had led the charge for the UK to exit the European Union in the Brexit vote, and he was expected to officially launch his campaign to lead the ruling Conservative Party Thursday. Instead, he declared it “cannot be me,” reports the Telegraph, an announcement that followed another stunner by just a matter of minutes: Justice Minister Michael Gove, who had been expected to back Johnson, instead announced that he would be running.

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“I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead,” said Gove. The Guardian provides some analysis: “For Johnson, to be abandoned by the guarantor of his candidacy and his most exalted supporter—and at this particular stage—is the worst setback in his political career.” The moves will apparently leave Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May as frontrunners to become the next prime minister in September, and to formally begin the process leading to the UK’s exit from the EU. May, unlike Gove, voted to stay in the EU but has said she would respect the referendum’s outcome. All this comes as the rival Labour Party is in disarray of its own: Leader Jeremy Corbyn lost a confidence vote but refuses to leave.

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