Prominent conservative figures struggle to succeed Johnson

LONDON – Several names of the Conservative Party are trying to replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was forced to resign under pressure from a series of scandals that weakened his position after fighting his persecution for months. The list has expanded to include more candidates for the Conservative Party leadership and prime minister after three senior lawmakers officially announced their candidacy, bringing the number of contestants announced so far in the race to eight, while the number of candidates is expected to reach 15.

These three are former Health and Finance Minister Sajid Javid, current Finance Minister Nazim Al-Zahawi, and former Health Minister Jeremy Hunt, who competed with Johnson in 2019 for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps has also announced his candidacy to succeed Johnson and become the fifth Conservative MP to take part in a race that, although difficult, 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, even if opinion polls do not put him ahead of the claimants do not. .

The announcement of his candidacy came hours after British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said he did not want 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, is expected to take its official course on Monday when a committee of rear-end representatives meets to agree on the timetable. and rules for the process.

Four conservative contenders also announced their candidacy earlier, the favorite among them being former finance minister Rishi Sunak, who helped launch the ministerial rebellion that ousted Johnson last 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 presidency has been riddled with scandals for three years and a witness to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and the Covid pandemic, said he would remain in office until a successor is elected.

Conservative Party members will choose their new leader from a shortlist after several rounds of voting for MPs, before the party’s annual conference takes place in early October.

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

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

Foreign Minister Liz Truss is expected to join the packed arena of contenders, which could feature a list of up to 15 candidates.

Wallace, whose performance at the Department of Defense impressed him and was among the frontrunners in many recent polls, said he would not run 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 added on Twitter.

Sunak, who was just ahead of Terrace in the latest poll of party members, received immediate support from many senior MPs after announcing his participation in the competition in a video posted on social media late Friday.

But Sunak was soon attacked by Johnson loyalists, showing the intensity of the competition.

The Financial Times reported on 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 caretaker working group and announced a series of appointments late Friday.

Downing Street said in a hasty first meeting of its top ministers that Johnson, 58, acknowledged on Thursday that “key financial decisions should be left to the next prime minister”.

Conservative candidates compete in several rounds of voting to get the highest number of the party’s 358 deputies’ votes, while the lowest-ranked are excluded each time, before party members vote to elect a president from the first and second most-supported candidates.

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, predicted on Times Radio that the final shortlist of two candidates would be drawn up within weeks and before Parliament’s summer recess, which begins after July 21.

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