The race to replace Boris Johnson on Downing Street promises to be crowded, paved with unrealistic promises and all right-leaning. On Monday 11 July, five days after the charismatic but deceitful and cynical leader was forced to resign from his own camp, eleven candidates were already rushing to take his place at the helm of the British executive. The name of the lucky winner will be known on 5 September, after the internal primaries open only to Conservative MPs.
Among the suitors, well-known names, ministers who had been preparing their candidacy for weeks such as Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Sajid Javid, the former Minister of Health, whose resignation, last July 5, precipitated the fall of Mr. Johnson. Or Liz Truss, the foreign minister, and Jeremy Hunt, a former health minister, who had already tried his luck during the domestic campaign to replace Theresa May in mid-2019. Others line up with little chance of winning (Suella Braverman, Rehman Chishti), probably to promote a specific agenda or secure a place in the future government. And on Monday evening the Minister of the Interior Priti Patel was also thinking of entering the battle.
Worried that this plethora of suitors would slow the process of appointing the future prime minister, members of the 1922 Committee, an internal conservative club responsible for setting party rules, agreed on a tight schedule and draconian conditions for keeping in the race.
Only candidates who have obtained the support of at least twenty Conservative deputies by Tuesday evening will be able to take sides. After three or four preliminary votes with the college of 360 Conservative deputies – the first round will take place on 13 July – only two names will have to remain on 20 July, due to the summer closure of the Parliament. These last two candidates will then be decided by the approximately 180,000 members of the Conservative Party and the identity of the future premier, known on 5 September.
Rarely has an internal primary of the Tories presented such diversity: at least four women want to try their luck. And six of the eleven candidates on Monday are children of immigrants. The parents of Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman are of Indian origin, those of Sajid Javid and Rehman Chishti of Pakistani origin; Nadhim Zahawi arrived in the UK as a child, fleeing Iraq with his family of Kurdish origin, Kemi Badenoch is of Nigerian origin.
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