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2 candidates battle for Britain's Tory leadership

June 17, 1997
Web posted at: 3:13 p.m. EDT (1913 GMT)

LONDON (CNN) -- Britain's Conservative Party eliminated one candidate Tuesday to replace outgoing head John Major and now faces a final vote on Thursday.

Tuesday's balloting knocked out third-place finisher John Redwood, a former Welsh secretary, leaving former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke and ex-Welsh secretary William Hague still in the running.

Clarke unexpectedly topped the vote, wining 64 of the party's 164 votes to Hague's 62. Redwood took 38.

The main difference between the remaining two candidates is their position on the single European currency. Hague has pledged to stick by the British monetary unit, while Clarke says the country should keep its options open.

Clarke claims that Hague has changed his position on the issue.

"What he has defined during this campaign is what he now says is a very clear view on the single currency, which is quite different from the one he held a month ago. That apparently is to be the one shibboleth you must pronounce as you enter the camp," Clarke said.

Clarke is the favorite among local party chairmen, members of the House of Lords and Tory members of the European Parliament. Only members of parliament, however, can cast a vote for the position.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 
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Britain Decides: CNN Special Section

THE   ELECTION   |   THE   LEADERS   |   THE   ISSUES

THE   POLLS   AND   THE   PEOPLE   |   DIGITAL   DISPATCHES


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