Tuesday, November 22, 2022
HomeUncategorizedRace for British prime minister is on (again) after Liz Truss quits

Race for British prime minister is on (again) after Liz Truss quits

LONDON — After a chaotic two months packed with political crisis, Britain finds itself right back where it was before — with some of the same faces competing to become the third prime minister in just eight weeks — and a dumbfounded public watching from the sidelines.

















Supporters for the three presumed front-runners — Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and, yes, Boris Johnson — were out of the blocks early on Friday, setting out their pitches for why their person should get the keys to 10 Downing Street, the prime ministerial residence.

Could Boris Johnson stage an extraordinary political comeback? What about Rishi Sunak, the bookies’ favorite who fell to Liz Truss in the last contest? Or Penny Mordaunt, who is not widely known but polls well with the Conservative Party members? Or might someone else emerge as the leading hopeful to become the next Conservative Party leader?

The Friday front pages of Britain’s famously boisterous tabloids already had Truss firmly in their rear-view mirrors as they focused on “Boris v Rishi: Fight for the soul of the Tories,” in the words of the Daily Mail. The Telegraph, the Sun and the Daily Express all put Johnson on their front pages, while the left-leaning Mirror just called for a general election “now” in enormous print.

It has been less than 24 hours since Truss said that she was stepping down as leader, giving her the unenviable title of shortest-serving prime minister ever. The party is working on an astonishingly short time frame and plans to have the contest wrapped up in a week.

No one has officially declared they are running but backers for the top three — and the new rules ensure there cannot be more than three — have started declaring their support.

Rishi Sunak is the bookies’ favorite. The runner-up in the last leadership contest has been notably quiet himself, but his “Ready for Rishi” team has started cranking into gear. They point out that during the last contest his candidacy received the most support from his colleagues and say that many of his economic ideas turned out to be prescient.

His critics contend that he betrayed Johnson and blame him for helping to bring that era to an end. But according to the Daily Telegraph, he has more public declarations of support than any other candidate.

Dominic Raab, the former deputy prime minister under Johnson, who also stood in for his former boss when he was sick in hospital with covid, is among those backing Sunak.

“He has the plan & credibility to: restore financial stability, help get inflation down & deliver sustainable tax cuts over time; and unite the Conservatives by bringing the best talent into govt to deliver for the British people,” he tweeted.

Boris Johnson speaks outside Downing Street in London on Sept. 6.
Johnson’s supporters want him to return from his plow — like the classical-era hero Cincinnatus brought back to deal with a crisis, whom Johnson referred to in his resignation speech.

Rumors are swirling that Johnson, who was the 55th British prime minister, might also want to be its 57th British prime minister. Those in the “Bring Back Boris” camp argue that Johnson is the only candidate who has a “mandate” to lead. In 2019, Johnson helped his party to a whopping great win in the general election. It is not certain if anyone else could galvanize the population to the same extent — or if Johnson himself even still can.



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