LONDON ( Associated Press) – It was the most important moment ever in the competition for the new leader of the UK Conservative Party, The remaining five candidates were asked to raise their hands during a televised debate on whether they would allow Boris Johnson to serve in his cabinet. Not a single hand was raised.
Claimants to replace Johnson are scrambling to distance themselves from the scandal-tainted politician who has resigned as party leader But Britain remained prime minister for a few more weeks – despite the fact that most of him had served in his government over the past three years.
Meanwhile, Johnson has largely disappeared from view. He has not attended any government emergency meetings regarding the heat wave, which is projected to bring temperatures of 40 °C (104 Fahrenheit) to Britain.
On Friday, Johnson visited the Royal Air Force Base and took a ride in a Typhoon fighter jet, with “Top Gun”-style footage later released by his office. He spent the weekend at Checkers, the country house that came with the job of prime minister, throwing farewell barbecues for employees and friends.
On Monday, Johnson attended the Farnborough Air Show and will return to parliament for the last time as prime minister to bolster his achievements ahead of a largely symbolic vote of confidence called by the government in itself.
Steven Fielding, professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, likened Johnson to “an angry teenager in the bedroom who does what he wants and occasionally yells at parents.”
Political and media attention has turned to his future successors, who are slinging mud at each other as they try to convince Conservative Party members that they can rebuild confidence in politics and win the next election. The opposition can defeat the Labor Party. 2024.
Front-runner Rishi Sunak, who served as Treasury chief under Johnson until he resigned earlier this month, has been criticized by rivals for spending and paying for billions to keep workers and businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. It is under attack to raise taxes to help.
In a televised debate on Sunday, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss accused Sunak of raising taxes to the highest level in 70 years. He argued that the hike was necessary to quell rising inflation, and accused Truss, who promised immediate tax cuts, as “nothing economics for the few”.
Penny Mordant, a trade minister who has emerged as a strong challenger in the competition, has in vain appealed for an end to the “slime”, much of which has been directed at her. He has been accused by opponents of wanting to make it easier for people to change gender – a hot-button issue for some conservatives – and of neglecting his government duties to prepare a bid for his leadership.
Conservative lawmakers will hold the latest in a series of elimination votes later on Monday to reduce the number of candidates – already from a starting 11 – from five to four. Sunak, Mordent and Truss are widely expected to remain in competition, with Backbench MP Tom Tugendhat or former Equality Minister Kemi Badenoch facing elimination.
Further rounds of voting are to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare the two finalists. The final pair would face the vote of about 180,000 Conservative Party members nationwide. The winner is to be announced on 5 September and will automatically become prime minister, without the need for a national election.
Fielding said this could prove problematic for the new leader, as who would be chosen by the Conservative membership – “predominantly white, Southern, very well” – with political preferences very different to those of ordinary voters.
Johnson won a commanding parliamentary majority to the Conservatives in 2019, but he has since been plagued by scandal, accusing him of misleading parliament about government office parties that broke COVID-19 lockdown rules.
Johnson remained in power despite police fined “Partygate”, but finally left on 7 July after a scandal – appointing a politician who was accused of sexual misconduct – prompted ministers to resign en masse. inspired to.
Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthhouse, a longtime ally of Johnson, argued that the party’s testy debate was healthy, and predicted that conservatives would be reunited in “a spirit of harmony and love” after the leadership campaign.
But Tim Bell, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said it was overly optimistic.
“Johnson’s way of going has unfortunately put a lot of poison in the (party) bloodstream,” he said. “It will take time to work its way out.”
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