LONDON | They are eight candidates officially in the running to succeed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson but only two of them will be selected for the final vote: the skimming of suitors in Downing Street begins on Wednesday in the United Kingdom.
After obtaining the necessary sponsorship on Tuesday to start the race, these eight Conservative candidates must secure the support of 30 deputies from their camp on Wednesday in a first vote, the result of which is expected in late afternoon.
So far, only ex-finance minister Rishi Sunak and ex-defence minister Penny Mordaunt — favorites according to the bookmakers — seem to have reached this threshold in terms of their public support. /p>
The head of diplomacy Liz Truss should also obtain these 30 supports, carried by the faithful of Boris Johnson.
Mr. Johnson resigned on Thursday after about 60 members of his executive walked out, tired of repeated scandals and his lies. However, he remains Prime Minister until his successor is known on September 5.
The other candidates, mostly unknown to the general public, are MP Tom Tugendhat, new Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi, Government Legal Adviser (“Attorney General”) Suella Braverman, the former Secretary of State for the 'Tie Kemi Badenoch and former Minister of Health Jeremy Hunt.
If more than two candidates pass the first vote on Wednesday, a second round will be organized on Thursday and if necessary a third in the following days, until only two candidates remain before the parliamentary recess on July 22.
The name of the future Prime Minister will be known in September after a final vote open to party members -160,000 voters in the last internal election of 2019.
In the meantime, the candidates are busy convincing the deputies in meetings that take place behind closed doors. They were several to be thus auditioned on Wednesday internally by conservative deputies. Several TV debates are also planned, on ITV on Sunday and on Sky News on Monday.
The campaign, which is aimed only at members of the conservative party, is clearly marked on the right and collects its share of low blows, attacks and polemics.
Favorite, Rishi Sunak is the object of virulent attacks on the part of the Johnson camp which accuses of having led the Prime Minister to his downfall by resigning on July 4, taking with him about sixty members of the executive.
Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, a staunch supporter of Boris Johnson, has called the former finance minister a “socialist” chancellor for having raised taxes under his mandate.
Rishi Sunak, however, said that his economic approach would be “Thatcherite common sense” if he were elected, in reference to the former ultraliberal Prime Minister, while refusing the “fairy tales” which consist in announcing significant cuts in taxes in a context of high inflation, at 9.1%.
But Boris Johnson's faithful prefer another admirer of Thatcher: Liz Truss, who remained in government despite the massive hemorrhage last week .
Ironically, observers note, Liz Truss becomes Brexiters' favorite candidate despite having initially positioned herself for remaining in the European Union while Rishi Sunak, a convinced Brexiter, gathers more moderate conservatives.
Johnson in Parliament
Also a serious candidate, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Penny Mordaunt kicked off her campaign on Wednesday by comparing the Tories to Beatles legend Paul McCartney at the Glastonbury Festival.< /p>
“We indulged in all these new tunes, but what we really wanted was the good old hit we knew the words to: low tax, reduced state, personal responsibility” , said the former Minister of Defense.
In this context, Boris Johnson finds himself in front of the deputies on Wednesday for one of his last weekly sessions of questions to the Prime Minister.
< p>On Tuesday, the Labor Party had tabled a motion of no confidence in the House of Commons deeming it “intolerable” that it remains in power until the end of the summer. However, the government refused to grant parliamentary debate time for such a vote, which could have triggered if the general election were successful.