Riaad Newspaper | The UK Transport Secretary is the latest Conservative candidate to join the list of hopefuls to succeed Johnson

The UK Transport Secretary is the latest Conservative candidate to join the list of hopefuls to succeed Johnson

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps on Saturday announced his candidacy to succeed Boris Johnson and become the fifth deputy conservative to take part in the race, which, despite its difficulty, is expected to attract more aspiring conservatives.

Shapps, a seasoned lawmaker who first took a cabinet position in former Prime Minister David Cameron’s government in 2010, has vowed to produce a “strategic” and “sober” government, although opinion polls do not put him in front of the contenders. do not post.

The announcement comes hours after British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace stated he was reluctant to take part in this intense competition despite the support he enjoys in opinion polls.

The election process, which is likely to take months and pose more than a dozen Conservative representatives and various ruling party groups against each other, will take its official course on Monday when a committee of backbenchers meets to agree. about the timetable and rules for the process.

So far, four conservative rivals have announced their candidacy, with former finance minister Rishi Sunak the favorite who helped launch the ministerial rebellion that overthrew Johnson on Thursday.

Sunak resigned late Tuesday, urging dozens of his colleagues to follow his example of forcing Johnson to resign as Conservative Party leader, which happened 36 hours later.

But Johnson, whose three-year presidency is full of scandals, Britain’s exit from the European Union and Covid, said he would remain in office until a successor is elected.

Members of the Conservative Party will choose their new leader from a shortlist of two people after several rounds of voting by MPs ahead of the party’s annual conference in early October.

Taxes are expected to be a top priority for the candidates, as well as showing firm support for Brexit, at a time when Britain is facing high inflation, growing price increases and relatively high tax rates.

Along with Sunak, former attorney general and staunch supporter of Brexit Soyla Braverman, the relatively little-known former equality minister Kimi Badenoch and Tory MP Tom Tagendat announced their candidacy for party leadership and thus prime minister.

Foreign Minister Liz Truss and the new finance minister, Nazim Zahawi, who replaced Sunak at the treasury department on Wednesday, are expected to join the packed arena of contenders that could have up to 15 candidates.

Supporters of former Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt, who challenged Boris Johnson in 2019, also told British media that his candidacy was “virtually certain” again.

However, Wallace, whose performance as defense secretary impressed him and was among the frontrunners in several recent polls, said he would not participate after discussing the matter with his colleagues and family.

“It was not an easy choice, but my focus is on my current job and keeping this wonderful country safe,” he said on Twitter.

Sunak, who was in the latest poll among party members just before Terrace, received immediate support from several senior lawmakers after announcing his bid in a video posted on social media late Friday.

But Sunak was soon attacked by Johnson loyalists in a sign of the intensity that could hurt the competition.

In a veiled critique of Sunak, Shapps said in his candidacy announcement that he “has not spent the past few turbulent years planning or speaking out for the prime minister (…) (or) mobilizing a campaign to to take leadership behind his back. “

“maelstrom”

And the Financial Times reported Saturday that there was outrage among the outgoing prime minister’s team over Sunak’s resignation, and a senior official described him as “the son of a traitor hybrid.”

After nearly 60 resignations prompted Johnson to step down as leader of the Conservative Party, the latter formed a new oversight team and announced a series of appointments late Friday.

Downing Street said in its first hastily convened cabinet meeting that Johnson, 58, acknowledged on Thursday that “key financial decisions should be left to the next prime minister”.

Conservative candidates run several rounds of elections to win the highest number of party votes of 358, excluding the lowest-ranked each time, before party members vote to elect a president from the first and second most supportive candidates.

The Conservatives refused to say how many party members would be eligible to vote, but in the last election in 2019, more than 160,000 turned up.

As the list of candidates grew, some senior lawmakers warned that the list needed to be reduced quickly.

Jeffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 committee that administers the election, told The Times the final shortlist of two candidates will be drawn up within weeks, ahead of Parliament’s summer recess, which begins after July 21.

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