Boris has finally resigned, but who will replace him?
The writing has been on the wall for months. Boris Johnson finally announced his intentions to resign on 7 July 2022. His decision came as a bit of a shock, despite the fact many people wanted him out; it seemed like he would stay as long as he could.
So, who should replace Johnson at Number 10?
Looking back at Boris’s tenure as prime minister and instantly you think of COVID, lockdowns and controversy - but at one time, pre-pandemic, he seemed to have the same level of support that any Tory PM enjoys. Elected in 2019, Johnson’s campaign was based on his commitment to getting Brexit done. What we ended up with was a poor deal, if you can even call it that (there are some aspects of the agreement that are still not sorted, even now). If you really cast your mind back, you may even remember that he controversially recommended that the queen prorogued Parliament, in an attempt to ensure his Brexit deal wasn’t scrutinised in detail - a move that later proved unlawful.
There’s much more controversy I could mention concerning Boris, but I think it’s more important that we look to the future.
Who are the candidates for the next Conservative party leader and PM?
The former chancellor before his resignation, Rishi Sunak is most known for his public addresses during the pandemic that explained his actions regarding the economy. At the time, he appeared to be quite liked, and people suggested he had what it took to one day be the Tory leader. Since then, public opinion of him has suffered somewhat, not helped by the furore over his wife’s nom-dom status and his vast wealth. The economy is in a terrible state currently, which has happened on Sunak’s watch. Fuel prices are extortionate, people can’t afford their energy bills, and food prices are practically doubling. Is Sunak really able to empathise with the common man?
More recently, he came under fire after an old interview resurfaced. The clip came from the 2001 BBC documentary Middle Classes: The Rise & Sprawl, in which a much younger Sunak talks about his friends. He said, ‘I have friends who are aristocrats, I have friends who are upper class, I have friends who are working class… Well, not working class.’ The last four words are said with an air of disdain, as if the working class constitutes a different breed he would not wish to interact with. It’s not a great look, especially during a cost-of-living crisis, in which the working class needs the most support; he’s not exactly able to empathise, is he?
His campaign is centred on rebuilding the economy and restoring the public trust that has been lost following Boris’s controversy-filled tenure. In a social media video, Sunak says he will take a grip of any issues rather than tell ‘comforting fairy tales’. He seems the current favourite to take over; however, there’s no guarantee this will be the case.
Despite attracting lots of negative opinions, Liz Truss is still one of the favourites to lead the Conservative party. As it stands, she is still the country’s current Foreign Secretary - a role she appears to have conducted without any high profile controversies. A big lover of cheese, she once told us that two-thirds of our cheese is imported. She was very angry about this, calling it ‘a disgrace!’ This video clip was shared all over Twitter with many people laughing at her reaction.
Her campaign is based upon tax cuts, including national insurance. But where’s the money coming from to underpin these cuts? Who knows? Truss would also like to see the government address Covid debt on ‘a longer-term footing’.
Another favourite of the bookies. His surname often gets mispronounced, which has its own place on Twitter. He is a former Health Secretary and Foreign Secretary. He was the runner up to Boris in the last leadership competition, and is considered to be ‘something different’ - whatever that means.
Once again, tax cuts lead the campaign for Hunt, who has promised the lowest rates of business tax in the western world. This differs from his previous campaign where he raised the idea of increasing national insurance.
One of his strongest arguments is that he has kept himself distant from Boris. He never served in his cabinet and has so far appeared to escape any association with the former PM.
As harsh as it may be, he is mostly known for being Matt Hancock’s replacement as Health Secretary. Just like many other candidates, his campaign is based on cutting taxes, despite him flirting with higher tax rates before he resigned.
Javid has promised to scrap plans to raise corporation tax. He would reduce the rate to 15% instead of the 25% that the former chancellor planned to implement, up from 19%. He would also introduce an additional cut to fuel duty as a temporary measure, to ease the cost of living.
Probably not a name many people will have heard of, Mordaunt was the UK’s first female Defence Secretary, although she only held the role for 85 days. Those who are fans of rubbish British game shows may be familiar with her from her appearances on ITV’s Splash!
She appears to be well backed within the Conservative Party, which is what has seen her become another favourite. Her policies aren’t clear, despite the fact she’s released her campaign video. To increase her chances, she has sided with MPs who may feel they were ignored during Boris’s stewardship. She says, ‘Our leadership has to change. It needs to become a little less about the leader and a lot more about the ship.’
Mordaunt is also considered a woke Tory. She publicly supports trans rights and, on a recent Twitter thread, she explained her views. They’re not extreme in any way and they’re probably similar to the thoughts of the majority of people across the UK. She’s, quite rightly, very supportive of gender equality.
Mordaunt is also described as Labour’s biggest threat, due to her modern views.
The current Transport Secretary, he has the recent rail strike fiasco hanging over his head; however, Shapps still believes he has a chance at being Conservative leader and PM. His pitch is rather ambitious: he wants the UK to be the biggest economy in Europe by 2050. He has ruled out a general election should he be chosen, and instead said that he would produce an emergency budget with cuts to personal tax for the most vulnerable.
The current chancellor, he was appointed by Boris mere hours before he told the PM to resign. Before that, he was Education Secretary. During his time in that role, I met him when he visited Barnsley College. He came across well and I could tell he was passionate about education.
Like many other candidates, he could be considered a low-tax Tory, as he has also based his campaign on tax cuts. He also states, ‘Thanks to Brexit, we are now a free nation.’
Who would be your choice? Maybe you wouldn’t pick any of them. You probably wouldn’t be alone.
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