While Boris Johnson continues as a sort of fortunate caretaker prime minister, the race to replace him will now go before the 200,000 or so paying Conservatives who will, by mail, choose Johnson’s successor.
Most of Britain is sitting on the sidelines of all this. There will be no general election to choose the new prime minister, and although a televised debate is scheduled for Monday, many “protests” events will be informal or closed to the press.
The confrontation between Sunak and Truss presents Tory voters with a choice between a man who says he is the only adult in the race and a woman who says she is the only one who has shown real leadership.
The two contenders are both conservatives, and to the outside world their political differences are subtle.
Truss, 46, supports a range of tax cuts.
Sunak, 42, says her plan is “Fantasy Island” economics and that Britain must first get inflation under control.
Taxes for the Sunak family are a bit sore point. And earlier this year, it seemed that his aspirations for a higher position might come to an end after that Reports That his wife had avoided millions in taxes on her earnings from abroad.
Sunak, an ex-Goldman Sachs heavyweight, married really rich. Akshata Murti, whom he met at Stanford, is the daughter of NR Narayana Murthy, the Indian billionaire who founded Infosys. The pair made the Sunday Times list of the 250 richest people in Britain, with a combined fortune estimated at £730 million, or about $875 million.
Their family moved from the chancellor’s official residence amid the tax controversy in April. But Sunak remained the country’s finance minister – until his strong resignation This month he launched the rebellion against Johnson.
Truss didn’t speak out against Johnson until it turned out the tide had turned.
She is Britain’s first Conservative foreign minister, who – like Hillary Clinton – says she is ready to run the country”from day one. “
If she wins, it will be the third time the Conservative Party has placed a woman in the highest position, after the premierships of Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.
Truss has won praise for her support of Ukraine – and has been the target of criticism from Russia.
Although she opposed the Brexit referendum in 2016, she has since said she regrets that vote, and has been a leading voice of the argument that Britain needs to rewrite the Northern Ireland clauses in the post-Brexit trade agreement. . She is a passionate freelance marketer.
Sunak was the leader during the first parliamentary stage of the competition, winning every round. Now, even though the finalists are giving their bids to the activists, polls suggest he’s the underdog. a YouGov Poll Of the Conservatives who posted on Tuesday found that Sunak would lose to Truss. she also Favorite bets.
But critics say the race remains unpredictable. The telegraph The newspaper, which is loyal to the Conservative Party, warned that this leadership contest would be “the most sinister” in the party’s history. In a televised debate last weekend, the candidates tore bits off each other.
“Liz, I was once a Liberal Democrat and a stayer,” Sunak told Truss at one point. “I was just wondering which one I regretted the most?”
Truss said she was not “born into the Conservative Party” – and that her parents were “left-wing activists and I’ve been on a political journey ever since”. She added that she became conservative after seeing “children in my school get frustrated.” Unlike Sunak, she did not go to an expensive boarding school.
The two would spend the summer — at golf course lunches, convention centers, and secret gatherings with benefactors — pitching their ideas.
In the meantime, Johnson will be saying goodbye long. On Wednesday, he bid farewell to the House of Commons – and to fellow lawmakers who gave him the boot: “I want to thank everyone here, goodbye little girl!”
Seriously, those were his last words – a metaphor for the key phrase popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Terminator 2.”
Capitalizing on President George W. Bush’s premature declaration of victory in Iraq, Johnson proclaimed his legacy: “mission largely accomplished.”
Was it appropriate? Was it spontaneous? Was she… a genius? Johnson, a serial hardliner who enjoys the role of entertaining speaker after dinner, has won the heart of his party and the country with such lines.
And do not forget that Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California, not once but twice.
Johnson is on his way out. But many in the halls of Westminster expect that one day he will be able to bring back.
It wasn’t a sad farewell from him on Wednesday, but everything on the surface, all the talking points, all the great hits, were delivered with fist pumps and the prime minister’s trademark high-speed rhetoric.
The House of Commons was packed–and boisterous, full of the usual insults and point-scoring, as was the custom of the weekly session known as the Prime Minister’s Questions, a wrestling contest for debaters who had graduated from Oxford and Cambridge.
There was braying, there was looting, and there wassway from stable positionA legendary former House speaker once called him.
Johnson stood in the prime minister’s position in the “dispatch box” for what he called “probably, certainly” his last verbal hit.
At the end of his speech, he gave this advice to his successor:
“Stay close to the Americans, stand by the Ukrainians, and uphold freedom and democracy everywhere.”
Also: “Reduce taxes and eliminate controls where possible to make this the best place to live and invest.”
“Focus on the road ahead but always remember to check your rearview mirror,” the prime minister said.
“And remember, above all, it’s not Twitter that matters. It’s the people who sent us here,” he closed.
Early in the hour Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, asked Johnson what message the public might have because his job contenders “can’t find a single decent thing” to say about the prime minister or his government’s record. ?
“Unapologetic tv specialist. Hardcore zombie trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver.”