United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned as the head of the Conservative Party after 3 years of service. However, he will remain in the position till the party elects its new leader. In the UK, the outgoing PM is expected to stay in the office until a new one takes charge. According to reports, Johnson will stay on as the caretaker PM until October.
The Tory process of electing a new leader involves candidates with the support of 8 Conservative parliament members (MPs). Once all the candidates are in line, Tory MPs begin voting in a series of rounds, eliminating candidates with lesser votes, until 2 remain in the end. In the final round, not just MPs but all Tories around the country vote to elect the leader. It takes time because of a bigger player behind the curtain, the 1992 Committee. This committee consists of senior Tories and has the authority to decide whether to remove Johnson or hold another no-confidence vote.
Amid the political drama, many have been happy with Johnson’s move. Some even said that he could have left earlier and others were dismayed to see him stay on for another 3 months. However, some also debated how a PM, who gave Tories their biggest election win in 35 years, lost the support of his MPs.
Critics Remind Boris Johnson of the Past Mistakes
The opposition to Boris Johnson has strongly demanded to remove him with immediate effect. Apart from poor governance, recent controversies also played a huge role in triggering his downfall. It all started with a Tory MP named Chris Pincher who enjoyed a bit “too much” at one of London’s private members’ clubs. Investigation revealed details that started a chain of events ending with Johnson’s exit.
First, it was reported that Johnson appointed Chris Picher, who was accused of sexual misconduct in 2019, as deputy chief whip of the Conservative Party. Second, Johnson was fined for breaking COVID-19 rules by hosting a beer party at 10 Downing Street garden on his birthday during the lockdown. Later, reports said that Johnson and several other politicians had a “series on parties” at No. 10.
Moreover, his political opponents blamed him for the increase in tax and the cost of living. On the other hand, he also lost favour with his own party after failing to save one of his party members. In 2021, the House of Commons Committee recommended suspending Tory MP Owen Paterson for 30 days after accusing him of breaking lobby rules by only benefiting the companies who bribed him. Johnson and other Tories voted to pause his suspension but an outcry led Peterson to resign. Johnson admitted himself that he “crashed the car” in handling Peterson’s case.
Critics said Johnson was morally and administratively incompetent for being a PM so must leave immediately.
It Should not Be Distracting
Meanwhile, many others highlighted deeper reasons why Johnson had to resign. They pointed out it was Tories who brought him in the first place and now they are the ones trying to get rid of him. So they warned those beating the drums over Johnson’s resignation, to make no mistake as the new leader will still be from the Conservative Party.
Who Will Replace Johnson?
As Boris Johnson will face the music from the front, Tories will elect their leader behind closed doors. Several MPs who worked under Johnson have been gearing up to take on the mantle. It is likely that Tory MP, with the strongest pro-Brexit stance, would make the cut.
In this regard, Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt leads that pack and is considered the most favourite candidate to succeed Johnson. The second choice is likely to be the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. The list further includes Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Some bookies also cite former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi as potential candidates.
In any case, critics are in disbelief that it would make any difference as the Tory government will remain intact. Scotland MP Ian Blackford criticized London for electing a government that made the controversial Brexit Trade Deal. Despite choosing to stay in the UK in the 2014 referendum, Scotland intensified its calls for Scottish independence and joining the EU.