Nine candidates are vying to replace Boris Johnson in the UK

Written by Alistair Smoot

LONDON (Reuters) – The race to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accelerated on Sunday as five other candidates announced their intentions to run, many vowing to cut taxes and sideline Johnson’s scandal-ridden leadership.

Johnson announced on Thursday that he would resign as prime minister, after MPs and his Cabinet colleagues revolted over his handling of a series of scandals, including breaching confinement rules in meetings in his Downing Street office.

Johnson said he would stay until a new leader was chosen.

A member of the Conservative Party committee that sets the rules for Sunday’s leadership election said the final result would be announced in September.

Commerce Secretary Penny Mordaunt on Sunday formally announced her candidacy to join Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps. Finance Minister Nadim Zahawi and former ministers Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid, who announced their nominations in time to appear in the Sunday papers, bring the total of contenders to nine.

“This is a critical turning point for our country,” Mordaunt said in a statement. “I believe a socialist or socialist-led coalition government at the next election would be a disaster for the United Kingdom.” “We must win the next election.”

The Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee of Legislators, which sets the party’s rules in Parliament, will determine the exact timetable after Monday’s meeting.

Bob Blackman, a member of the 1922 Executive Committee, said the nominations would expire on Tuesday evening, followed by a process to narrow the nominees down to the lowest two by July 21.

Party members will elect a new leader over the summer to become prime minister.

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“On July 21 we will choose the last two candidates, so that party members have enough time to hold the voting sessions and vote by mail to elect a new leader on September 5,” he told Sky News.

Entering the race, Shapps, Zahawi, Hunt and Judd promised tax cuts, setting them against current leader former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, whose budget last year put Britain on track for the biggest tax pressure since the 1950s.

(Reporting by Alistair Smoot; Editing in Spanish by Javier López de Lleida)

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