Who’ll Replace Boris Johnson? Maybe Boris Johnson

With the skill and care of a circular firing squad, British MPs are cutting through the ranks of candidates to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Last week they reduced the field of participants from eight to five in two rounds of voting. There will be two left by the end of this week. The finalists will then face party members who will elect a new leader in early September. One of the finalists will almost certainly be Rishi Sunak, Mr Johnson’s former Treasury Secretary. The other will likely be Trade Secretary Penny Mordaunt, or perhaps Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, or former Equality Secretary Kemi Badenoch, who is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants and would become Britain’s first black woman Prime Minister.

The Labor Party should fear only one Conservative at election time: Boris Johnson. A week and a half ago his own ministers stabbed him at the front. Even in good times, it would have been risky to sack the Prime Minister who delivered Brexit and the largest majority since 1987. These aren’t good times. Inflation threatens to hit double digits, the economy slides into recession, energy prices are skyrocketing, the opposition is ahead in the polls and Britain is committed to an open-ended proxy war in Ukraine.

The prospects for the US, or any other liberal democracy, are little better. President Emmanuel Macron struggled to form a coalition in the French general election in June. The Italian coalition collapsed last week. Acting Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered his resignation, but the President refused to accept it. In the US, President Biden’s poll numbers are plummeting. Not since the 1930s have liberal democratic governments seemed so powerless, so unimaginative, so distant from their constituents.

In Britain, the Conservatives have been in power since 2010, and when their would-be leaders promise bold new policies, they implicitly reject their old policies. Not that they have any new guidelines. Instead, all candidates ritualistically invoke Margaret Thatcher with the same cynicism as Ronald Reagan’s Republican incantations. The Conservatives are now a heavily taxing, spending-happy party of regulation, deficits and low growth with an unworldly commitment to a “net-zero” economy and, as Mr Sunak and Ms Mordaunt have recently shown, a fashionable inability to define it a woman.

Conservative MPs favor Mr Sunak, who is campaigning for his own policies with promises of a Thatcher cure. That’s not the only responsibility he bears. Mr. Sunak, whose parents were born in India, is an immigration success story and, in some ways, a victim of complications arising from that success. While he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, he secretly held a Green Card which made him an official resident of both the US and 11 Downing Street. He also urged the British public to tighten their belts and pay higher taxes, while his wife, the daughter of an Indian billionaire, avoided millions of dollars in British taxes by claiming non-domicile status. (After this became public, she said she would pay UK taxes on her global income.)

Mr Sunak promises to ‘make Brexit sing’. However, voters appear to favor Ms Mordaunt. She has no fixed ideology. In a party devoid of ideas and talent that allows her to hit the sweet spot of the middle. But given the state of the economy and little chance of improvement before the next election, which has to be held by January 2025, she’ll likely slam it face first.

Meanwhile Mr. Johnson is outside but not downstairs. He will remain at 10 Downing Street until early September. In his resignation speech, he avoided the word “resign.” He spoke of “resigning” in response to attacks from his fellow MPs and insisted he still had a “mandate” from the electorate. This is a constitutional innovation. Unlike American or French presidents, British prime ministers are not directly elected to office. Party members elect a leader, but the parliamentary party – elected lawmakers – can overrule membership and install a prime minister who takes office without having won an election.

That happened to Thatcher in 1990 and is happening to Mr Johnson now. Will he continue to allow it? Six weeks is a long time in politics, and ownership is nine-tenths of the law. Mr. Johnson’s would-be successors will tear each other apart, making him look almost statesmanlike. When he “descends” it won’t be far. If Mr Sunak or Ms Mordaunt fail to lift the Conservatives in the polls, where else can the party turn?

Mr. Green is a Contributor to the Journal and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

https://www.wsj.com/articles/who-replace-boris-johnson-election-uk-resignation-voters-prime-minister-rishi-sunak-penny-mordaunt-11658069831 Who’ll Replace Boris Johnson? Maybe Boris Johnson

Alley Einstein

USTimesPost.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@ustimespost.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button