LONDON (dpa-AFX) – The tone in the race for the success of outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday skyrocketed. The target of the verbal attacks was former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, who was considered the favorite.
In the first round of voting, six candidates were promoted to the next round. Alongside Sunak are Secretary of State for Trade Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State Liz Truss, MP Kemi Badenoch, Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat and Solicitor Suella Braverman. In turn, former Health Minister Jeremy Hunt and Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi did not manage to exceed the minimum of 30 votes.
The next vote is scheduled for Thursday. For each additional lap, the driver who finished last is out of the race. It is expected that voting by the conservative faction will continue in the coming days until there are only two candidates left. They should then pass a second round of party members elections during the summer. Johnson’s successor is scheduled to be announced on September 5.
Culture Minister Nadine Dorries accused the Sunak team of “dirty tricks” to gain the upper hand. Sunak supporters initially lent Hunt votes to lead to an easy-to-beat candidate’s finale.
Brexit secretary of state Jacob Rees-Mogg also attacked Sunak. Rees-Mogg told Sky News the former finance minister introduced tax increases that were damaging to the economy. He even compared Sunak’s tax policy to socialism – the curse of British Conservatives. Both Dorries and Rees-Mogg are considered staunch supporters of Johnson. Both supported Secretary of State Liz Truss as his successor.
Sunak is accused of stabbing Johnson in the back while he was the secretary of the treasury. The media speculated that Johnson’s loyalists are therefore seeking to overthrow the previous favorite.
Mordaunt is considered a favorite of the party base. As a Yougov poll by the poll institute suggested on Wednesday, she could win the second round of the election among party members if she does not quit the race sooner.
Meanwhile, Johnson was defiant during weekly question time on Wednesday. “It’s true that I am not leaving during my election,” Johnson said. However, he was proud of the teamwork and leadership of his term, adding, “I’ll be leaving soon with my head held high.” Hopes that his departure heralds the end of Brexit were misplaced, continued the prime minister.
Johnson suggests Wednesday’s Question Time may have been his last eyebrow raise. Actually, there was going to be one more next week. But Johnson indicated that a successor could be named by then. What he meant by this was unclear. This could only happen if one of the last two candidates withdrew his candidacy. This happened when Theresa May was elected, but this time it had to be avoided at all costs as the base of the party was ignored.
At the beginning of the session, briefly chaotic scenes took place. Two deputies from the Scottish Alba Party loudly called for an independence referendum for their part of the country, without giving the floor. Speaker Lindsay Hoyle was clearly upset and shouted “Order!” and “Shut up or get out!” followed by the dismissal of two MEPs from the House and led out.
As the government announced after Question Time, a no-confidence vote is still to be held in parliament. However, it is meant to refer to trust in the government as a whole, not just Johnson. The government had previously blocked a planned no-confidence motion by the Labor opposition against Johnson. Johnson wants to remain in his successor election position in September. The Labor Party wanted to force him to leave office immediately with the motion. It is doubtful, however, whether a majority could be found for this purpose.
Johnson resigned as party leader last week under tremendous pressure from his parliamentary group and cabinet. The prime minister had to deal with the scandal behind the scandal./cmy/DP/stk