News | Published July 05 2019

Voting opens for Conservative membership

Conservative party members have begun to cast their votes for the next prime minister as 160,000 members have now started to receive their ballot papers through the post.

The winner of the contest will be revealed on July 23 and take over prime ministerial duties the following day.

Meanwhile, contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have continued their respective campaigns ahead of their head-to-head TV debate scheduled for June 9.

Addressing Conservative members at a hustings in Darlington, County Durham, Johnson told voters he would review the prospect of establishing free ports in areas of the UK.

Johnson backed the establishing of small free-trade areas in which normal tax and tariff rules within the host country do not apply, as he outlined plans to generate more jobs and investment in the North East.

Johnson said: “These [free-trade zones] will be an excellent way to boost businesses and trade in regions that Westminster has neglected to pay attention to for far too long”.

In a campaign video, he also admitted he feels a “personal responsibility” for Brexit and guarantees delivering it to “end uncertainty for business”.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Sir John Major has thrown his backing behind Johnson’s rival Jeremy Hunt in the leadership race.

Major is a known opponent of Brexit but will support Hunt despite his own promise to see through the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

One of the aspects which won Major’s support is Hunt’s pledge to review spirits duty to help Scottish distributors in the “whisky boom”.

Referring to Johnson, Major told the BBC that he would not pledge his support to somebody who had “misled the country”, saying that the UK needed a “serious leader”.

Major added: “I don’t know him [Boris Johnson] very well but I do find that many of the things that have been said by Boris Johnson, and by many others, to be in conflict with reality as I understand it”.

Related Stories

Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
July 05 2019

Featured Organisations

Viridis Building Services

Working to ensure that buildings and their mechanical and electrical systems are net zero and as environmentally friendly as possible is no easy feat.... Read more

Permali Gloucester

People who know of Permali Gloucester, founded in 1937, often refer to them as being part of the “coalition of the can-do”. Their marketplace is a com... Read more


Stoke-on-Trent City Council launched Unitas, a wholly owned subsidiary, in February 2018. As a £45-million turnover company, they employ 440 people al... Read more

Latest News

Sharma pleased with Brazil climate mission

New UKGI Chair appointed