British opposition leader Howard to quit

British opposition Conservative leader Michael Howard has said he will resign following electoral defeat by Prime Minister Tony Blair - but only once the Conservatives elect their new boss.

    Michael Howard (C) will step down as Conservative leader

    "As I can't fight the next election as leader of our party, I believe it is better for me to stand aside sooner rather than later so that the party can choose someone who can," Howard, 63, told supporters on Friday, the day after the nationwide vote.

    "I intend to stay as leader until the party has had the opportunity to consider whether it considers those (leadership) rules should be changed," he said.

     

    Under Howard, the Conservatives slashed Blair's parliamentary majority from 161 to less than 70 seats.

     

    That is a breakthrough compared with the one seat they gained at 2001's election after a rout in 1997, but the party's 33% vote share was barely higher than four years ago.

     

    Some in the party think Howard's relentless focus on emotive issues such as immigration won them seats but is not the platform on which to win power.

     

    The Conservatives now have few, if any, famous faces that resonate with the public to take the helm.

     

    Home affairs spokesman David Davis is likely to be one candidate. He is viewed as more hardline than Howard.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.