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Comic: British PM Frontrunner Boris Johnson Refuels Brexit Uncertainty With Hard Brexit Talk - Boris Johnson, former U.K. foreign minister and one of the leading supporters of Brexit during the 2016 vote, is the top choice among members of Britain's ruling Conservative Party to replace Theresa May as prime minister, according to a recent poll.

Johnson is the first choice among 39% of party members, according to the survey by YouGov for The Times newspaper, well ahead of the other 10 declared candidates in the contest to replace May, who announced last week that she would quit her post on June 7.

The betting exchanges also have Johnson, widely known as ‘BoJo’, as the frontrunner to succeed May as leader of Conservative Party and prime minister.

May's resignation deepens the Brexit crisis as the new prime minister, who should be in place by the end of July, is likely to want a more decisive split from the European Union, raising fears of a no-deal hard Brexit.

Making his pitch at an economic conference in Switzerland last week, Johnson appealed to Brexit-supporting Conservative Party members by saying: "We will leave the EU on Oct. 31, deal or no deal."

The British pound was hovering just above a five-month low on Thursday, as fears about Brexit returned to haunt the currency after a month of relative calm.

Sterling was at $1.2636, not far from its lowest level since January. Against the euro, it was at 1.1347, not far from a low of 1.1297 touched last week.

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-- Reuters contributed to this report

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