October 4, 2019 / 8:21 AM / 12 days ago

One-time UK prime ministerial hopeful, Rory Stewart, steps down

FILE PHOTO: Conservative MP Rory Stewart talks to media in Westminster, in London, Britain September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Rory Stewart, a one-time contender to become British prime minister, said on Friday he had resigned from the governing Conservative Party and would not run at the next election.

Stewart, a former aid minister, was one of 21 Conservatives to be expelled from the party for backing the first step last month to introduce a new law designed to block Britain from leaving the European Union without a divorce deal.

“It’s been a great privilege to serve Penrith and The Border for the last ten years, so it is with sadness that I am announcing that I will be standing down at the next election, and that I have also resigned from the Conservative Party,” Stewart said on Twitter, referring to his parliamentary seat in northern England.

Brexit, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to deliver on Oct. 31 no matter what, has divided the Conservative Party, with several lawmakers wanting to stop the government from presiding over a so-called no-deal Brexit, which many businesses say will hurt the economy.

It was not clear what plans Stewart has.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Michael Holden

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