Rishi Sunak, Johnson's former finance minister, is

Rishi Sunak, Johnson’s former finance minister, is


In his opinion, Dominic Green, a member of the Royal Historical Society and Foreign Policy Research Institute, said about Boris Johnson’s resignation as prime minister, but also about the possibilities that the British Executive will have from now on.

In Britain, with the competence and zeal of an executive platoon in a circle, British Conservative MPs are decimating the ranks of candidates eager to replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Last week they reduced their numbers from eight to five by two rounds of voting.

And by the end of this week, there will be only two left. The finalists will then appear before party members, who will elect a new leader in early September. One of the finalists will almost certainly be Rishi Sunak, Johnson’s former finance minister.

Possibly the other finalist will probably be Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt or perhaps Foreign Secretary Liz Truss or former Equality Minister Kemi Badenoch, who is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants and is the first black Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister again?

In the current political context, the Labor Party has only one conservative to fear when the election time comes: Boris Johnson. A week and a half ago his own ministers stabbed him in the face. Even in good times, it would have been risky to fire the prime minister who achieved Brexit and won the largest parliamentary majority since 1987. And these are not good times.

From an economic and social point of view, inflation threatens to exceed 10%, the economy slips into recession, energy prices explode, the opposition is the first in polls, and the Kingdom is engaged in Ukraine in a war through intermediaries with unknown end, shows The Wall Street Journal.

In the global context, the US and any other liberal democracy have only slightly better prospects.

Thus, the result of the general elections in France in June does not allow President Emmanuel Macron to form a coalition. Italy’s coalition collapsed this week. Interim Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigned, only to be rejected by the country’s president. In the US, President Biden is exploring new depths in polls. Never since the 1930s have liberal democratic governments seemed so powerless, devoid of ideas, so far removed from their own electorate.

In this country, the British Conservatives have been in power since 2010, so when the candidates for party leadership propose new great policies they implicitly repudiate their own policies so far. Not that any of them would really come up with any new policies. No, instead, everyone ritually invokes Margaret Thatcher, about the same cynicism with which American Republicans invoke Ronald Reagan. The Conservatives are now a pro-regulatory, high-tax, deficit-tolerant, low-growth party with a quixotic commitment to a “zero net” green economy and a fashionable impotence – as Sunak and Mordaunt – to define what a woman means.

Conservative lawmakers now prefer Sunak, who promises a thacherist remedy for his previous policies. And it’s not the only vulnerability it has. Sunak, whose parents were born in India, is the success story of an immigrant and, in some ways, is a victim of the complications of that success. While a chancellor of the chessboard, he secretly held an American green card, which means that he was formally resident not only in Downing Street, but also in the United States.

He also told the British to tighten their belts and pay higher taxes – while his wife, the daughter of an Indian billionaire, faked the British tax with millions of pounds, claiming no formal residence in the country. (After the story became public, she promised to pay tax in the Kingdom for her global income.)

The promises of the two candidates

Sunak promises to “make Brexit sing.” But voters seem to prefer Mordaunt. It has no particular ideology. In a party that has exhausted its ideas and talent, this fact allows it to land firmly in that profitable center point. But given the state of the economy and the low chances of recovering before the elections, which will inevitably take place in January 2025, it will most likely land there on its stomach.

Meanwhile, Johnson got out of the equation, but he didn’t even finish all his calculations. He will remain at the helm of the cabinet until early September. In what should have been his resignation speech, he avoided uttering the word “resignation.” He only talked about “stepping aside” in response to the attacks of other parliamentarians, while insisting that he still has a “mandate” from the electorate.

This is a constitutional innovation. Unlike French or American presidents, British prime ministers are not directly elected by voters. Party members elect their leader, but party lawmakers can override the decision of ordinary members and impose a prime minister who takes office without winning an election.

That’s what happened to Thatcher in 1990 and what happens to Johnson now. Will he continue to allow it to happen to him? Six weeks is a long time in politics, and the possession of the position is as much as nine tenths of a rule. Johnson’s alleged successors will tear each other apart, making him look, by comparison, almost like a statesman. When he really “pulls away,” Johnson won’t go too far. If Sunak or Mordaunt fail to lift the Conservatives in the polls, who else could the party turn to?