The first candidates for the U.K’s Prime Ministers job appear

Conservative Party gets rid of its leader when they start hitting the image of the party.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India, portal publishing news and current affairs. He holds an M.B.A in International Business from the Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA. Twitter: @chackojoseph *views are Personal.

The longevity of the Conservative Party is explained by the fact that it “gets rid of its leaders when it thinks they are hurting the party”, Which allows it to say, “look, we have completely changed”. Boris Johnson’s approval rating had fallen from 66% favourable opinions in April 2020 to 23% at the end of June. Between 69% and 72% of Britons wanted him to quit, according to the latest two weekly polls.

Although, Boris Johnson survived a vote of no confidence from members of his Conservative Party on June 6. more than 40% of MPs say they no longer have confidence in the Prime Minister. 

How did Johnson rise and fall?

Pro-Brexit champion Boris Johnson was elected leader of the Conservative Party on July 23, 2019. Ultra-popular BoJo in December 2019 won a historic majority in the House of Commons for the Conservatives. In April 2021, the Prime Minister was criticized since the start of the pandemic for his management of the crisis. But, the Prime Minister’s party is still gaining ground against Labor in local elections on May 6, 2021.

The “partygate” scandal, its variable explanations, the police investigation and the administrative inquiry denouncing the lax culture in Downing Street got the better of the confidence of the country. 

A final scandal, that of the deputy chief “whip”, accused of touching and whose past Mr. Johnson knew, was the last nail in his coffin. On July 7 at 10 a.m. (9 a.m. GMT, 5 a.m. EDT), nearly 60 cabinet members resigned.

Open to a new leader

Conservative Party is now open for a new leader after the announcement of the resignation of Boris Johnson (BoJo). This position will make them the Prime Minister of the U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace is emerging among the favourites, but different names have appeared on the pitch. Despite growing distrust of him, one factor that helped save Johnson was the lack of a clear alternative for the Tory leadership. 

Here is the list of possible names

Rishi Sunak – The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, aka Finance Minister, has long been listed as the most likely successor. And yesterday, his resignation, together with that of his colleague Sajid Javid, triggered the crisis that finally snowballed into Johnson’s resignation. The brilliant 42-year-old politician of Indian origin appears to have two handicaps. One, like BoJo, was fined for violating the lockdown as part of the partygate. And it turned out that his wife, Akshata Murty, daughter of an Indian billionaire Narayan Murty, had used non-resident status to avoid paying taxes in Britain.

Liz Truss – The 46-year-old foreign minister, has long been seen as a pretender to leadership. But many reproach her for wanting to imitate Margaret Thatcher too much and for some of her excesses, such as when she said she approved British volunteers ready to fight for Ukraine.

Sajid Javid – The 52-year-old former health minister was the first to step down from his post yesterday. Born in Britain into a Pakistani immigrant family, he ran for the Conservative leadership in 2019 by finishing fourth.

Jeremy Hunt – Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Health, 55-year-old Hunt is now an influential Conservative MP. In 2019 he finished second behind Johnson in the race for the party’s leadership. Johnson offered him the post of defense minister, but he refused.

Michael Gove – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Governments, 54-year-old Gove was one of the most influential members of the Johnson government. But after yesterday he sent ‘Bojo’ to resign, he dismissed him by calling him the “snake”. A former BBC reporter and Times columnist, he ran unsuccessfully twice for the leadership of the Conservatives.

Nadhim Zahawi – Appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday following Sunak’s resignation, 55-year-old Zahawi has solidified his reputation as undersecretary for vaccinations during the covid pandemic. Iraqi Kurdish born in Baghdad, he arrived in Britain at the age of 11 as a refugee. Before entering politics, Nadhim was one of the co-founders of the market research firm YouGov.

Ben Wallace – The 52-year-old defense minister bolstered his image by showing competence in organizing military support for Ukraine after the Russian invasion. Former soldier, he is the son of a soldier. At the time of the referendum, he was against Brexit. Internal conservative polls point to him as Johnson’s successor.

Some vocal contenders

Conservative British MP Tom Tugendhat announced on Thursday evening that he was entering the race to succeed Boris Johnson, thus opening the ball of candidates since the Prime Minister’s announcement.

In a column published in the Daily Telegraph, Mr. Tugendhat, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament, confirmed his intention already expressed before, explaining that he wanted to bring together a “broad coalition” for a “new start”.

Meanwhile, Brexit supporter Steve Baker, from the Conservative Party’s right-wing, said he was “seriously” considering running.

According to their respective entourages, former Health Minister Sajid Javid, who announced his resignation from the government with a bang on Tuesday, and Transport Minister Grant Shapps are also both seriously considering entering the race.

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