Conservative party bosses have announced that their new leader and the UK’s next prime minister will be announced by September 5. To weed out any radical contestants, they also plan to make the competition harder to enter as well as progress.
By the end of this week, the Conservatives will most likely have an idea of their final two candidates, after back-to-back ballots. By July 14, a second ballot is expected to determine the final two candidates, but a third ballot is possible on July 18, with the final two names due to be announced on July 21. This will be followed by 160,000 party members making a final choice through the postal ballot.
Boris Johnson, who currently serves as caretaker prime minister, has refused to back any candidate to keep things “even-handed”. But Home Secretary Priti Patel, a hard-core Brexiteer like himself, should she decide to throw her hat into the leadership ring, could make this contest relatively more challenging and interesting.
How it all began ?
Prime Minister Johnson’s resignation as party leader came on Thursday after he was forced to resign by other parliamentarians, amid 59 resignations. Although Johnson fought tooth and nail to continue as British Prime Minister; everyone in the country knew that his resignation came a bit too late for the common good. He had woven a ‘web of lies and broken promises’, from pledging £350m-a-week funding for the NHS instead of spending it ‘on the EU’ before he even stood in the leadership race. He was also seen standing in front of promotional buses, endorsing the same. In 2016, the UK Statistics Authority described the claim as “potentially misleading” and still a clear misuse of official statistics.
After he became Prime Minister on the basis of Brexit and won the snap election by a landslide, people were ready to forget his deceptions – after all, he was a successful London mayor.
Boris would make “Britain great again” and fulfill voters’ desire to “make Brexit happen”. But then came Covid, testing his true leadership skills. It closed the country later than it should have, twice, resulting in thousands of deaths and serious illnesses. Despite all sorts of “tricks” to applaud frontline staff for their sacrifices, institutional discriminations and lack of necessary support, such as with adequate and appropriate PPE, among others, have claimed many untimely victims. Some people were never able to say goodbye or perform last rites of loved ones, and discontent with the government began to mount.
Then came Johnson’s vaccination efforts, which were not only successful, but saved lives. With the efficient furlough of his Chancellor and other monetary backers, he was nothing short of a hero again. He fought Covid himself, had two children, got married – all while in Downing Street and things got better, as the country slowly opened up for business and travel. But neither could businesses bounce back like before, nor could people forgive his mistakes that cost them their lives. Investigations have begun; political ambitions have turned friends into enemies.
Then came a series of scandals that ultimately cost Johnson his expensive seat.
Renovation of the Downing Street apartment which The Independent suggested cost over £200,000. After that came the Partygate scandal, where government officials partied or attended rallies, while ordinary people were locked in, prohibited from meeting elderly relatives or dying loved ones.
The police fined everyone who broke the laws, but Johnson got away with just one fine, although at first he claimed to know nothing about these parties, or believed that he These were simple business meetings, but later he turned out to be actively involved, giving speeches and enjoying birthdays and departures. It was the beginning of the end.
Despite his heroism around anti-Russian policies, his support for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Britain, his party lost two by-elections which he dismissed as a mere “theater stunt”. The rising cost of living, energy crises and staff shortages have pushed people over the edge. Many are still forced to choose between eating and heating, but the Prime Minister remains indifferent to such tragedies.
Ultimately, the then-Chancellor and Health Secretary’s dramatic fallout with Johnson over the Chris Pincher scandal, after he allegedly groped two colleagues at a social event while drunk, led to Johnson’s resignation, despite an initial apology for appointing the shamed MP to a top job. .
Popular among foreign friends, hated by his own
Despite the hatred, anger and loss of confidence of his own cabinet, parliamentarians and many voters, Johnson was popular and adored by foreign countries, their leaders and sometimes even citizens. Her fluffy, blonde, mostly unkempt hair has always been a subject of curiosity and subtle banter – all in an affectionate way. His unwavering support for Ukraine, visits to Kyiv have been met with mutual warmth and gratitude from the Ukrainian people.
Considered India’s ex-son-in-law (his ex-wife Marina Wheeler was half-Indian), he was showered with attention and love during his visits to India or by the Diaspora, especially in the Kingdom -United. His relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also remained unique, with their photo hugging at COP26 becoming a symbol of unity among leaders in the fight against climate change. The Indian diaspora in the UK, who have converted to Conservative voters since the party’s pro-India stance during David Cameron’s time as Prime Minister, also overwhelmingly voted for Johnson in 2019. But now, with the hope and possibility of the UK’s first Indian-born prime minister, they are eager to see if Rishi Sunak has a chance of winning the party leadership race.
With the pound rising against the dollar, at the time Johnson resigned, people showed doubts about his successor’s ability to provide the same support to Ukraine and continue the Brexit dialogues with the same conviction. People are also wondering if the FTA negotiations between the UK and India, which were due to be completed by Diwali this year, will now actually be delivered on time.
Mohit Mathur, an entrepreneur, has lived in the UK for two decades. Speaking to The Week, he said: ‘The political unrest at this critical time is worrying. There is no solution to our problems of staff shortages or inflation. We don’t know who the next prime minister will be, and I wonder if Rishi Sunak even has a chance. His wife’s tax scandal is not forgotten and he served as chancellor throughout the period of this economic crisis. So what hopes do we have of the same people? Although he did the right thing by stepping down, it all came a bit too late, and I find Johnson’s role as ‘acting prime minister’ unacceptable.”
Sunak, who is running alongside Suella Braverman (former Fernandes), Sajid Javid or Rehman Chisti among others, would clearly divide the South Asian voices. If Priti joins the race, as a hardcore Brexiteer, she will get incredible support from Leave supporters. But the man to be wary of, including the Labor Party, is Tom Tugendhat. Although underrated as a candidate, due to his rare appearance saying anything of significance in public, he served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is a fairly respectable parliamentarian with vast knowledge of foreign policy.
While most of the candidates’ promises revolve around tax cuts, Sunak plans to repeat his mockery to his colleagues, offering big tax cuts like “fairy tales.”
Chartered Accountant, Anirban Mukhopadhyay told this magazine: “This resignation, which comes at a time when the economy is already in trouble, is a matter of great concern. The resulting political instability will further harm the economy.
Teacher Chandrani Patel added: “Conservative supporters should not vote for a candidate just because he or she is of Indian or Pakistani descent. Their commitment must be genuine, practical and deliverable, or we will continue to suffer from bad policies.
The author is a foreign correspondent, writing on UK-India relations, the diaspora and race relationss