The maneuvers began on Friday to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after his resignation caused by an unprecedented political crisis, and his former finance minister Rishi Sunak was one of the very first to position himself for his succession.
Mr. Johnson resigned Thursday, let go by the conservative party exhausted by the repeated scandals which marked the 2 years and 349 days in power of the former charismatic Brexit hero.
Between Tuesday and Thursday, some 60 members of his government — ministers, state secretaries and other collaborators with lesser responsibilities — had resigned after a new scandal, leaving him no other option.
“I am running to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and your Prime Minister. Let's restore confidence, rebuild the economy and bring the country together, ”said Rishi Sunak on Twitter on Friday evening, who is among the favorites in a still very open race. “My values are non-negotiable, patriotism, justice, and hard work,” he added in a video where he notably underlines the importance of his family.
The former Minister of Finance The 42-year-old was one of the first to throw in the towel on Tuesday night, apparently without even telling Boris Johnson, along with Health Minister Sajid Javid. These two resignations a few minutes apart had paved the way for dozens of others, elected officials criticizing Boris Johnson for his lack of integrity.
If the Prime Minister has resigned, he has not yet left Downing Street, specifying that he will remain in power until his successor is appointed. This situation, which could last until the fall, is making people cringe, while the country is facing record inflation of 9%, the worst of the G7 countries, and a rise in social movements, in a context of war. in Ukraine.
Mr Johnson 'is a proven liar drowned in corruption, we can't go another two months like this,' Deputy Labor Opposition Leader Angela Rayner said on Friday calling for the appointment of a new caretaker prime minister, on the BBC. “If they don't, we are very clear that we will present a motion of no confidence before the parliamentary recess” on July 22, she added.
Mr Johnson's spokesman, however, ruled out Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab taking over as interim. “The Prime Minister acts in accordance with the convention. He remains Prime Minister until a new party leader is in place and the work of government will continue during this time,” he said.
The newly appointed Minister of Education, James Cleverly, assured that the process of appointing the new Conservative leader would be carried out “professionally, but quickly”. Some elected officials, however, fear a chaotic summer.
Mr Johnson assured after his resignation that his hastily reconstituted government (12 ministers and secretaries of state were appointed on Thursday and 7 on Friday) would not seek to implement new policies or make major changes. The big budgetary decisions will be left to the next Prime Minister.
Details of the procedure to succeed him will be announced on Monday by the 1922 Committee, a Conservative parliamentary group. The appointment of the new leader of the party, who will become prime minister – the party having the majority in the House of Commons – must take place before the party's annual convention on October 2 in Birmingham.
MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament, has already announced himself as a candidate. Attorney General Suella Braveman has also expressed interest.
Among the candidates approached, the best placed would be the Minister of Defense Ben Wallace. Next are Rishi Sunak, Foreign Trade Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Health Minister Sajid Javid.
And already the knives are out: Jacob Rees – Boris Johnson loyalist Mogg, whose minister for Brexit opportunities he is, launched an all-out attack on Friday against Mr Sunak, whose resignation would have enraged Boris Johnson. “Rishi Sunak has failed as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was a high-tax chancellor, who was unaware of the problem of inflation,” he said even before his candidacy was announced.
In announcing his resignation, Mr. Johnson, 58, had not had a word for the unprecedented wave of departures in 48 hours, or the turmoil of his tenure and accusations exposing his lies and lack of integrity.
He said he was “tremendously proud” of his record, and denounced the “powerful herd instinct” at Westminster, a direct attack on those who had abandoned him en masse.