Call Us Now: +33 6 44 67 47 39
UK’s Sunak ‘certain’ to seek PM job as Johnson loyalists tweet #bringbackboris

UK’s Sunak ‘certain’ to seek PM job as Johnson loyalists tweet #bringbackboris

Liz Truss said on Thursday she would resign as British prime minister just six weeks into the job, triggering another a leadership contest – the second in just four months – for the UK’s fractured and demoralised Conservative Party.

Truss will go down in history as Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister, a leader whose grasp on power was so tenuous in recent days it spawned a jokey online contest to see whether she would outlast a head of lettuce. The lettuce won.

The Conservative Party, which holds a big majority in parliament and need not call a nationwide election for another two years, has vowed to elect a new leader by next Friday. Graham Brady, a senior Conservative lawmaker who oversees the party’s leadership challenges, said each candidate must secure 100 nominations from legislators to run.

The contest is likely to pit ex-finance minister Rishi Sunak against Penny Mordaunt, a former defence minister. But it could also see the return of disgraced former premier Boris Johnson, who was ousted in July when his ministers resigned en masse to force him out of power.

Here is a look at the main contenders potentially in the running.

  • Rishi Sunak

Britain’s former finance minister was the most popular candidate among Conservative lawmakers at Westminster in a leadership contest earlier this year but, after getting through to a run-off against Truss, he lost out in a vote involving some 170,000 party members who made the final decision.

Sunak, 42, had warned that her plans to fund the proposals through extra borrowing were reckless and could worsen decades-high inflation as well as market confidence in the UK.

Now that he has been proven right, Sunak was installed by bookmakers as the early favourite following Truss’s dramatic announcement.

But he is also viewed as a divisive figure. Many members were angry when Sunak quit the government in July, helping to trigger a rebellion that eventually brought down Johnson.

The Telegraph reported on Thursday that Sunak was “certain” to stand in the leadership contest.

  • Penny Mordaunt

A former defence secretary, Mordaunt, 49, was an early grassroots favourite to succeed Johnson in the summer – coming within 8 votes of beating Truss to make the final run-off against Sunak.

A passionate supporter of leaving the European Union, Mordaunt won plaudits for her performance in parliament on Monday, when she defended the government even as it reversed most of its policies.

One lawmaker has described Mordaunt as having “broad appeal”, referring to her ability to find friends in the various tribes of the party.

  • Boris Johnson

Johnson, a former journalist, has loomed large over British politics ever since he became London Mayor in 2008. After causing trouble for leaders such as David Cameron and Theresa May, he finally became prime minister in 2019 and went on to win a landslide election victory.

Johnson was the face of the Brexit vote and won votes in parts of the country that had never voted Conservative before. But he was forced out by a string of scandals.

He was thought to favour Truss in the summer leadership contest – although his former top aide-turned-arch-critic Dominic Cummings argued that this was because he expected her tenure to be disastrous and short-lived, paving the way for his return.

Some closest to him say at the moment he is more interested in making money on the speech circuit than returning to frontline politics. But The Times reported that Johnson is expected to stand in the Conservative Party leadership contest.

“I hope you enjoyed your holiday boss. Time to come back,” one Conservative lawmaker, James Duddridge, said on Twitter. “Few issues at the office that need addressing. #bringbackboris”.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday boss. Time to come back. Few issues at the office that need addressing. #bringbackboris

— James Duddridge MP (@JamesDuddridge) October 20, 2022

  • Ben Wallace

Britain’s defence secretary is one of the few ministers to have emerged from recent political turmoil with his credibility enhanced. Wallace, a former soldier, was defence minister for both Johnson and Truss, leading Britain’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Popular with party members, he surprised many earlier this year when he said he wouldn’t run for the leadership, saying he wanted to focus on his current job. He told the Times newspaper this week that he still wanted to stay as defence secretary.

But asked at the recent Conservative Party conference if he would consider running for the PM’s job, the 52-year-old said: “I don’t rule it out.”

Among other potential runners, new finance minister Jeremy Hunt and former cabinet heavyweight Michael Gove were both said to have ruled themselves out.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, Reuters)

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.