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UK parties head for leadership battles amid Brexit fallout

(Agencies) Updated: 2016-06-30 11:15

UK parties head for leadership battles amid Brexit fallout

(L-R) Britain's opposition Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, deputy leader Tom Watson and Shadow First Secretary of State Angela Eagle arrive at the launch of a Labor In election poster in London, Britain, June 6, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - Britain's main opposition Labor Party headed for a leadership battle, mirroring a fight for control of the ruling Conservative Party, after the decision by voters to leave the European Union last week led to upheaval in Westminster.

Angela Eagle, a senior Labor lawmaker, will announce on Thursday that she will challenge leader Jeremy Corbyn who has been facing a growing revolt within the party, media reports said on Wednesday.

Eagle, a former pensions minister, quit as Labor's top business official on Tuesday, one of more than 20 people to resign from Corbyn's opposition policy team.

Among the Conservatives, a leadership battle is already underway after Prime Minister David Cameron responded to his stinging defeat in last week's EU referendum by announcing he would resign.

A former defence minister, Liam Fox, said he would announce his bid to succeed Cameron on Thursday, when Boris Johnson, a leader of the victorious "Leave" campaign in the EU referendum, is also expected to confirm his challenge.

UK parties head for leadership battles amid Brexit fallout

Vote Leave campaign leader Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Britain, June 29, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Johnson's main rival to run the Conservatives and take over as prime minister is likely to be Theresa May, Britain's interior minister, who was on the "Remain" team.

An opinion poll, by polling firm YouGov for The Times newspaper, showed May would have the support of 55 percent of Conservative Party members, ahead of 38 percent for Johnson, if the two of them made it to a final shortlist of two candidates.

May launched a barely disguised attack on Johnson in a column in the The Times newspaper, portraying herself as representative of ordinary Britons, and more understanding of their lives, than her rival who went to Britain's most elite school Eton.

"Frankly, not everybody in Westminster understands what it's like to live like this. And some need to be told that what the government does isn't a game," she wrote.

Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb has already announced his candidacy.

Both of Britain's biggest parties have been left reeling by the EU referendum, creating a political vacuum just as financial markets have been hammered by uncertainty about leaving the bloc and fears grow of economic recession.

Many Labor MPs are angry at Corbyn for what they see as his lackluster performance in the "Remain" campaign.

UK parties head for leadership battles amid Brexit fallout

Britain's Home Secretary, Theresa May, leaves after a cabinet meeting in Downing Street in central London, Britain, June 27, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

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