Battle for Johnson’s heir: mud flinging begins

The nerves in the Conservative Party are on the brink, the fight for Boris Johnson’s legacy is likely to turn into a fight in the mud.

“The next few weeks are going to be terrible,” an anonymous member of his cabinet quotes in the Times. Eventually the party would be disrupted. As soon as the British Prime Minister announced his retirement, the trenches opened. That evening, potential candidates and their supporters ran into each other at a party in a mixture of doom, despondency, and civil war.

There are allegations of extramarital affairs, violations of Corona rules and questionable economic ties, the Times wrote. MEPs should be reminded of what skeletons the other candidates have in their cupboards. The party wants to postpone the selection process until the parliamentary recess on 21 July. “This means next week Westminster will see a daily mix of betrayal, pacts and brutality,” commented the paper.


Fears up to 15 candidates

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, as reported by the Telegraph newspaper. The party responsible committee wants to reform the selection process at its meeting on Monday. Consequently, stakeholders would need to be backed by 20, not 8 already. This should limit the number to “serious” candidates. Up to 15 applicants are concerned.

Former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, with the backing of the high Tories, is a good example of a party split. Some praise the 42-year-old for his measures to fight the pandemic. Others slander a politician who would have been the first Asian prime minister as a socialist. Although he resisted for a long time, Sunak introduced an additional tax on profits from energy companies in the fight against rising costs. It will probably be the same with the other candidates.

Liberal analysts do not leave a good hair in the field of candidates anyway. The good news: Johnson is leaving. The bad: look who’s on the way, ”commented Marina Hyde in the Guardian. For example, former Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt. “Jeremy Hu: sorry, I was bored before I finished writing his name,” said the columnist.

Departure from the most popular Tory

If the conservative base gets its way, Trade Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Secretary of State Liz Truss have good prospects, as do Sunak. The most popular Tory, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, has resigned. The pre-selection process is carried out by 358 members of the parliamentary faction, and only when there are still two candidates left, the party members decide. How much is unknown: Estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000.

After the race is resolved – according to “Telegraph” it should take place by September 5 – the fight in the mud should not end with a long shot. Many voices are already calling for the winner to call new elections. Otherwise, opponents could easily deny the legitimacy of the new resident of 10 Downing Street.

Problem: in polls, the Tories are far behind the opposition Labor Party. This is reflected in a poll by the YouGov opinion research institute in the “Times” order: If the public had a choice, the most promising candidates would be named “none of them” and “don’t know” by a large margin.

Few people expect Johnson to quietly pull out

And then there’s Boris Johnson. The shadow of the prime minister will probably hang over his party for a long time. Especially since Johnson is unlikely to quit silently. As soon as he announced his retirement, the 58-year-old began stabbing a blow to the back legend. The party made an “eccentric” decision that new leadership was needed, despite its achievements and its “overwhelming mandate,” Johnson said. Not a trace of insight. The populist did not use the word “resignation”.

Johnson still has followers. MP Christopher Chope complained that the party would regret the day it cracked down on the prime minister. The atmosphere is hot. Culture Minister Nadine Dorries, loyal to Johnson, complained that the search for a replacement had “unleashed the dogs of hell.” The new Secretary of State for Education, Andrea Jenkyns, gave opponents of the government the middle finger. Supporters cited the role model of Johnson, Winston Churchill, who was re-prime minister in 1951 after a hiatus of several years. “Don’t scrap him”, campaign of supporters.

All previous applicants are in a hurry to break away from Johnson. A “restart” is required. For example, Kemi Badenoch announced that she wanted to tell people the truth again. But Badenoch was also a member of the government. She was silent about Johnson’s scandals, such as the Partygate scandal, and about Sunak and the Cabinet who could still apply. Opposition leader Keir Starmer mocked the leadership as “nodding dogs.” Tory how dogs nod? The party also needs to get rid of this image quickly.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220710-99-971491 / 3 (Benedict von Imhoff, dpa)

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