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UK Tories to pick final 2 contenders for prime minister

COMBO FILE - In this file four-photo combo image of various recent dates, showing the contenders still placed to become leader of the Conservative Party, Wednesday June 19, 2019, with from left: Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid. Rory Stewart has dropped out of the contest Wednesday. Britain's Conservative Party will continue to hold elimination votes until the final two contenders will be put to a vote of party members nationwide, with the winner due to replace Prime Minister Theresa May as party leader and prime minister. (AP FILE Photo combo)

LONDON — Britain’s governing Conservatives are set to pick two candidates who will square off to become the country’s next prime minister.

Lawmakers will vote Thursday to eliminate two contenders from a four-strong field of ex-foreign minister Boris Johnson, current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Johnson has a commanding lead after three rounds of voting that cut the list from an initial 10 contenders. The three others are battling to join him in a runoff to be decided by 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide.

All the candidates are vowing to lead Britain out of the European Union, a challenge that defeated Prime Minister Theresa May. She quit as Conservative leader earlier this month after failing to win Parliament’s backing for her Brexit deal.

The Associated Press