Johnson’s Successor: London Decision Week

Status: 07/18/2022 06:44

The process of selecting the successor of British Prime Minister Johnson enters another round today. There are five more candidates for the competition, but only two should remain by the end of the week.

Author: Annette Dittert, ARD Studio London

Boris Johnson may have quit, but somehow he’s still there. He serves as interim prime minister until early September, and while he has solemnly promised not to interfere in current politics, he does, of course. With huge support from British tabloids, he is now trying to push his Foreign Minister Liz Truss and defend his legacy, a hard Brexit, as a great success.

Truss is doing everything he can to do the same, although in reality there is little evidence that Johnson’s Brexit is a success. On the contrary: statistics and research by independent institutes increasingly show how harmful the exit from the EU is to the British economy.

Main topic: Brexit

The right wing of the party, which is supported by Truss with Johnson in the background, is of little interest. He sees the current foreign minister as the only one who will continue to defend Brexit in its pure, tough form. And because the right has a big influence on the Tories and Truss wants to win the race, she has in return promised to start a trade war with the EU if necessary.

However, in Friday’s first TV debate on Channel 4, it seemed so wooden that her actual PR performance in costumes modeled on Margaret Thatcher’s wardrobe seemed like an involuntary satire. And since it is usually only known at the very end of numerous Tory Psychodrama how it will end, the foreign minister’s chances have been very unclear since then.

Truss relied fully on the hard Brexit charter.

Image: AP

Two competitors

Her closest competitors remain two women: Kemi Badenoch, a former undersecretary of state, and a blank page with weak views but great rhetorical skills who has promised to continue the right-wing “culture wars.” And Penny Mordaunt, who has the distinct advantage of being fired from her position as Secretary of Defense by Johnson in 2019 and is now able to sell herself as a fresh start with experience.

Apparently, she has spent the time since she ended her brief career as Secretary of Defense, successfully campaigning her own grassroots party level, and is now a favorite of rank and file members who end up voting for Johnson’s successor. It advertises itself as the voice of reason, but has been extremely vague in previous appearances.

The old Brexit lies anew

She only caused confusion when, as a confessing Brexit supporter, she repeated an old lie from 2016. Namely, claiming that it was necessary to leave the EU because Turkey was about to join the EU, otherwise Turkish guests threatened to flood the island. Even when the moderators repeatedly asked it was de facto nonsense, she simply replied, “This is how I see it.” Despite her personal detachment, Johnson’s style of liberating himself from difficult situations with factual claims is ubiquitous.

Mordaunt drew attention to himself with statements that are hard to justify.

Photo: via REUTERS

Sunak is considered a heavyweight in the conservative party.

Image: AP

Johnson is still pulling the strings

Tory members who hope for a new moral beginning no longer have much of a choice. Aside from the former favorite and former finance minister Rishi Sunak, whose resignation only led to Johnson’s political end but who had supported Johnson’s lies for months before, only Tom Tugendhat remains, the only one who clearly distances himself from Johnson in interviews – and thus the party does not has almost no chance of reaching the finals.

Because one thing is clear: none of the candidates who are still running will dare to attack Johnson’s hard Brexit. The dismissed prime minister is still too busy saving his legacy in the background, and as he continues to enjoy the backing of the right-wing press, his Brexit is considered a holy cow and the discussion of the resulting economic losses remains taboo.

Tugendhat’s candidacy is considered not very promising.

Photo: EPA

Until now, Badenoch was probably unknown to the general public.

Image: AP

Tory members even more radical than the politicians

In addition, most Tory members are still in favor of leaving the EU, even as recent polls show that more and more Britons are concluding that it was not such a good idea after all. But Johnson’s successor is chosen by only nearly 200,000. conservative party members, less than 0.3 percent. populations who are even more radical than their MEPs when it comes to the EU.

For Brussels and the EU, the main problem in these elections is whether a right-wing fundamentalist can win Truss, who could sharpen Johnson’s confrontational stance, or one of the other candidates who, in case of doubt – like all Tory prime ministers before them – are also right-winged. therefore, they are unlikely to adopt a much more constructive attitude towards Brussels.

Fierce TV debate in the fight for Boris Johnson’s successor

Gabi Biesinger, ARD London, 07/18/2022 06:49

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