Tax-break lure from favorite PM hopeful

Top News | 11 Jun 2019

Boris Johnson has promised tax cuts for higher earners if he becomes Britain's next prime minister as the crowded race to replace Theresa May officially begins in the shadow of Brexit turmoil.

May stepped down as leader of the ruling Conservative Party last week after failing three times to get parliament to support her European Union divorce deal.

Former foreign minister Johnson is the bookmakers' clear favorite and, according to polls, the most popular with the 160,000 party members who will ultimately decide the next leader.

His pledge to raise the point at which workers begin paying a 40 percent income tax to 80,000 pounds (HK$795,768) from 50,000 pounds led media headlines.

Johnson is one of a number of candidates who has stated that Britain would leave the European Union with or without a deal on the current date of October 31.

Dominic Raab, one of the most hardline Brexit advocates who says he would rather leave without a deal than delay the exit, will launch his campaign under the banner of "Building a Fairer Britain."

Another, Andrea Leadsom, said she was proposing a "managed exit" by October 31 while interior minister Sajid Javid said his priority was to leave with a deal.

At the other end of the Brexit spectrum, Matt Hancock, who has ruled out leaving the bloc without a deal, will launch his campaign by promising Britain "a fresh start" with a pro-business platform aimed at reaching new, younger voters.

Pensions minister Amber Rudd, who is backing Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and opposes a no-deal departure from the European Union, said: "To me, it's not enough to say we're definitely leaving by October 31 without addressing how you are going to resolve it."

Environment Secretary Michael Gove is hoping to get his campaign back on track after he admitted taking cocaine when he was a young journalist.

While the Conservative leadership battle unfolds, May remains as prime minister, with her replacement due to be in place by the end of next month.


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