Who can lead the Conservatives and the UK government
After the announcement of the resignation of Boris Johnson, the ruling Conservative Party in the UK will have to choose a new leader who will become the future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom . Various politicians can claim the role of the new head of the Tories, and, accordingly, the British government. Consider their candidates.
Photo: Global Look Press
The 42-year-old chancellor of the exchequer (actually head of the Treasury) with Indian roots, who left in protest against the policies of Boris Johnson, was seen by many Conservative MPs as the leader in the race among possible successors Johnson.
An exclusive Sky News poll in January showed that nearly half of Tory members believe Rishi Sunak will make a better leader and win more seats than Johnson in the next election. But people's love is an unstable thing. After Sunak made a series of political moves (such as increasing national insurance contributions) that did not sit well with Conservative MPs, his popularity plummeted.
In addition, he was covered in the Partygate scandal. Nor did he gain popularity from the fact that his wife, multimillionaire Akhshata Murthy, did not pay, as it turned out, British taxes on her significant international income. True, amid outrage, the woman confirmed that she would do it.
On the other hand, Sunak, during the coronavirus pandemic, took a prominent role in the government's response to the rampant COVID-19, announcing a number of measures to support for workers and businesses.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has long been seen as a potential successor to Johnson, and polls show she is popular with members of the Conservative Party.
Lise Truss has been an MP since 2010 and has since climbed steadily up the ministerial ladder. It turned out that she is the longest serving member of the Cabinet of Ministers of all her colleagues in the government, holding various positions under David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
In the media, she is called the “new iron lady”, and the head of the Foreign Office plays along with this image with pleasure. For example, in the situation with the Ukrainian crisis and in the confrontation with Russia.
The current chairman of the Select Committee on Health and Social Assistance, Jeremy Hunt, was Boris Johnson's 2019 rival in the second round of the last Conservative leadership election. The victorious Johnson – to the surprise of many – did not play nobility and fired Hunt from the post of foreign secretary. Now this story can play into his hands – his supporters believe that his strength as a candidate for the role of the new party leader will be that he was not part of the Johnson cabinet.
Sajid Javid has held almost all senior cabinet positions: most recently, until his controversial resignation this week, he was minister of health and previously served as chancellor, interior minister, housing minister, commercial secretary and minister of culture.
The 52-year-old son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver exemplifies the self-made man who became a high-profile investment banker and then a top politician.
For a time, Priti Patel, 50, was born to Indian migrant Uganda, was considered the darling of the broad masses of conservatives. She was a major supporter of Boris Johnson's 2019 leadership bid, for which she was rewarded with an appointment as Home Secretary.
But as interior minister, Priti Patel has faced harsh criticism, in particular for her policy on illegal migrants crossing the English Channel in flimsy boats. In particular, it is she who is credited with the authorship of the famous scheme to send British asylum-seeking immigrants to Rwanda for “overexposure”.
On the other hand, her popularity among the right wing of the parliamentary party means that her candidacy should not be thrown off accounts.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has risen in popularity among party members in recent months amid the Ukraine crisis. His role in organizing the evacuation of refugees and British citizens from Afghanistan has also been praised. Considered a long-time ally of Boris Johnson, he has said he is “not interested” in leadership and considers it a privilege to be in the position he currently holds.
Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General Dominic Raab was acting prime minister when Boris Johnson contracted COVID in the spring of 2020. While his weighty positions may put him in a good starting position in choosing a new Tory leader, his 2019 bid for the post was unsuccessful and many doubt he will be able to garner enough support from Conservative MPs this time around.
Fired by Boris Johnson on July 6 for criticizing the prime minister as secretary of housing, communities and local government, 54-year-old Michael Gove is considered one of the most experienced candidates if he decided to run for the leadership of the conservatives. Long experience in government speaks in his favor, as well as conflicts with Johnson.
Not considered a favorite, Tom Tugendhat, current chairman of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, is ready to try his hand at the leadership struggle among the Conservatives after the departure of Johnson .
The former soldier has been sharply critical of the British government's handling of the Afghan crisis. Tugendhat has stated that it would be a “huge privilege” for him to become prime minister, a job he once compared to winning the lottery.
Despite his lack of ministerial experience, the name Tugendhat is increasingly emerging as a suitable candidate for the next leader of the Conservative Party.
Dealing the final blow to Johnson 36 hours after his appointment as Treasury Secretary, Nadhim Zahavi, could also claim the role of Tory leader. After serving in various junior ministerial positions, his success as minister of vaccines led to him being promoted to minister of education. And this week, he succeeded Rishi Sunak as chancellor, but called on Johnson to resign.
Wild images of Boris Johnson: footage of the British prime minister before his resignation
See related photo gallery