BoJo bows to the inevitable: Who comes next?text_fields
On July 7 Johnson bowed to the inevitable. The Prime Minister announced his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party. It will take up to 3 months for the party to elect a replacement, until which Johnson shall remain as PM. The incoming leader of the Conservative Party will also become PM.
Johnson was forced out by a cabinet revolt. On July 6 the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Rishi Sunak) and the Health Secretary (Sajid Javid) resigned. This led three more cabinet ministers to resign. There are 27 cabinet ministers. For five to resign on one day is unprecedented. Each cabinet minister has three or four junior ministers under him or her. 23 junior ministers resigned. Altogether, that was about a quarter of all ministers resigning in 24 hours. No cabinet revolt on this scale has ever occurred.
The Prime Minister appointed Nadhim Zahawi as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Johnson thought he could count on Zahawi. Zahawi immediately began telling Johnson that he had to go as PM.
Boris Johnson's madcap three years as PM is over. As I wrote three years ago, ''fasten your seatbelts, we are in for a bumpy ride.'' The man has psychological deficiencies. He is deeply unfit to be Prime Minister. Egotistical, utterly mendacious, merciless, lacking in empathy and totally shameless, Johnson was guided by one principle only: Boris Johnson. Whatever was good for the furtherance of his personal ambitions was morally permissible according to his warped code.
The Prime Minister was scandal-struck. He deceived Parliament on multiple occasions. His lies were not about sixpenny matters. He lied to the House of Commons regarding breaking his own lockdown laws, allegations of sexual assault against one of his protegees and suchlike.
Johnson has talents in spades. He is bonhomous, boundlessly self-assured and has a star quality that is so rare in politicians of his generation. But therein lay his fatal flaw. He was overconfident. His cavalier disregard for veracity and common decency proved to be his undoing. He lied and lied and lied. That was about serious matters such as lockdown breaches. When colleagues were proven to be in breach of parliamentary rules in a serious way, Johnson tried to save them. But loyal he was not. People were utensils to him. When no longer needed, they were thrown out.
Boris Johnson has been married thrice. He has had six children with his wives and one with a mistress. He also impregnated another mistress, Petronella Wyatt, who aborted his baby. At least two prominent London female journalists have had affairs with him. In 2021 Johnson married Carried Symonds, who is 24 years younger than him. Johnson proved he has a great sense of humour when he swore fidelity to her. His sexual mores are proof of his inconstancy.
Only days before his resignation, Johnson said he was going to continue as PM until the 2030s. Someone quipped that Johnson could continue only until 20:30 that evening!
The one thing where Johnson had a backbone was on Ukraine. The United Kingdom has been second only to the USA in arming Ukraine. The Russians are irate. Russian journalists have said that if there is World War Three, then London is top of the hit list. Ukraine was also a useful diversion for Johnson when he was caught in domestic scandals. Zelensky will be sorry to see him go. The news that Johnson is stepping down has led to champagne corks popping in Moscow.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Conservative MPs who want to be leader will need eight others to nominate them. The Conservative Parliamentary Party will hold ballots. The lowest ranked candidate will be eliminated in the first round. In the second round, the lowest ranked candidate in that round shall be eliminated. It will continue until only two contestants remain. It shall then be for the ordinary members of the Conservative Party to vote for their leader. There are 3,00,000 such ordinary members. The aim of having MPs narrow it down to two candidates is to ensure that the leader is someone whom the parliamentary party can work with. The Labour Party has only ordinary members electing the leader. The trouble with that is Labour elected Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 whom the grassroots loved but the MPs most heartily detested. Corbyn led Labour to two defeats.
Depending on how many candidates there are, this will take anything from four weeks to 12 weeks.
Once a new leader of the party is elected, Johnson shall go to Buckingham Palace and resign as PM. His final act as PM will be to advise the Queen to appoint the new leader of the Conservative Party as PM. Her Majesty always, always follows the PM's advice. Buckingham Palace will then summon the new leader of the party. He or she shall come to the palace and accept the Queen's appointment as PM, bowing to kiss the Queen's hand as he or she does so.
The new PM might call a snap election. A new PM gets a honeymoon with the public. Best to hold an election before that popularity dissipates. The conservatives are only a little behind Labour in the polls. The economy and public services are going to get much worse in 2023. That is why it would be advisable for a new Premier to hold the election immediately. Such a bold démarche has never failed.
So whose finger will be on the nuclear button?
WHO COMES NEXT?
Rishi Sunak is the hot favourite to become PM. At 41, he is just the right age. He was head boy of Winchester (one of the UK's top schools) and attended Oxford University, where he kept a low profile but gained a first class degree. He made millions at Deutsche Bank. At Stanford, he got an MBA and a bride: Akshata Murthy. His wife brought him tens of millions of USD. She is the daughter of Indian billionaire businessman, and founder of India's top tech giant Infosys. Her tax affairs were ethically suboptimal, though perfectly legal. She was registered as non-domiciled in the UK for tax purposes. He bleated that she is an Indian citizen. That is neither here nor there. You can be an Indian citizen and pay tax in the UK or a British citizen and have non domiciled tax status in the UK. His wife has now agreed to pay British tax. Sunak was fined for breaking lockdown along with Johnson. The argument will be if that contributed to Johnson resigning; how can Sunak then become PM? If he becomes PM, he will be the first non-white person and first non-Christian to hold that office.
Miss Patel is Home Secretary. She was born in the UK to Indian parents who migrated from Uganda. She has been accused of being insufficiently sympathetic to immigrants. She does not identify as Indian as she says her family left India over 100 years ago, she cannot speak any Indian language and has seldom visited the country. Being British is what matters to her. She is married to a white Briton.
Patel had to resign a few years ago over undeclared visits to Israel without a civil service chaperon. Her strident Zionism will discomfit some Muslims.
The civil service loathe Priti Patel. They accuse her of hectoring staff. Her plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is seen as unworkable. She has been fundraising for months. It says much about how the UK has changed that so many of the contenders for the Conservative leadership are non-white.
Hunt is the son of an admiral. He was head boy of his school: Charterhouse. He speaks fluent Japanese and made millions as an entrepreneur. He served as Foreign Secretary. His wife is Chinese, leading some to say she is a security risk. He was runner-up to Johnson in the 2019 Conservative leadership race. Hunt is bland and serious minded. He would be a real change of vibe from the chaotic and colourful Johnson. He is a slender marathon runner, whereas Johnson was notoriously fat and unfit.
It is said that Zahawi will stand. He is not well known to the public. He is not very exciting despite his unusual backstory. He is an Iraqi Kurd who moved to the UK as a child. He is perhaps a bit too successful. His self-made wealth might count against him.
Miss Truss is Foreign Secretary. Some see her as too ideological. She has not made the most out of Brexit opportunities. She campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU. But since the United Kingdom left the EU, she has shown the zeal of a convert. She is seen as unreliable. She was once a member of the Liberal Democratic Party. Truss also had an affair with a married Conservative politician. Miss Truss is not regarded as charismatic. She is competent and presentable.
The Defence Secretary has had a high public profile since the Ukraine War began. He is an ex-officer in the Scots Guards. He won medals for defeating terrorists in Northern Ireland. Wallace is very popular among grassroots Conservatives. He is the only contender not to have attended university.
Gove is a former Times journalist. He is only slightly younger than Johnson and was also President of the Oxford Union – the debating society of Oxford University. He is also the oldest of the papabile. He is vain and unpopular. He backstabbed Johnson in 2016, but Johnson still appointed him to the cabinet. Gove admitted that he took cocaine in his 30s.
The Deputy Prime Minister would be a serious contender, but has ruled himself out.
Other names such as Tom Tugenhadt and Penny Mordaunt have been mentioned. But they are not seen as likely. They have a 5% chance between them.
The author is a politicaly analyst from the UK. You can watch him on YouTube: George from Ireland