Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak had weeks to convince members of their party of their qualities for the office of British Prime Minister. Now one of them will move into Downing Street.
The day of decision has come: the British will find out who will govern them from now on. The Tory party wants to announce this Monday afternoon who will succeed Boris Johnson as head of the Conservative Party and thus also as Prime Minister. The favorite is the current Foreign Minister Liz Truss, who is well ahead of her rival and ex-Finance Minister Rishi Sunak in polls.
Up to 200,000 party members have been able to vote by post or online over the past few weeks on who will lead the new government and move into Downing Street. Sunak and Truss had previously prevailed in several rounds of voting by the Conservative MPs – among these, however, Sunak was still the clear favourite.
The expected next Prime Minister Truss is assigned to the right wing of the party. In the inner-party election campaign, the 47-year-old was particularly convincing with her plan to immediately lower taxes despite enormously high inflation. She also scored points with the party base – which is significantly older, more male and wealthier than the average British population – with a confrontational line towards the EU and populist statements about refugees, left-wingers, environmental activists and social minorities.
Sunak accused his rival of telling “fairy tales” with her economic plans and portrayed himself as a politician who is not afraid to speak unpleasant truths in times of crisis. He would not consider tax cuts until inflation is under control again.
After the announcement of the winner, the change at the top of the British government will take place on Tuesday. Johnson will address the population one last time as prime minister and then resign from office.
Both he and his probable successor then travel to Scotland and are received one after the other by Queen Elizabeth II, who is spending her summer holiday at her country estate, Balmoral Castle. The fact that the audiences will take place there and not in London’s Buckingham Palace is extremely unusual and has to do with the mobility problems of the now 96-year-old monarch.
After numerous scandals, Johnson is leaving office under pressure from his cabinet. The “Partygate” affair about banned lockdown celebrations in Johnson’s official residence had shaken him. Several other scandals and his handling of them ultimately brought him down. When prominent members of his cabinet resigned, triggering a mass exodus from the ranks of the government, the 58-year-old felt compelled to resign.
However, a possible comeback is not ruled out. Johnson himself made hints with the words “Hasta la vista, baby” in the London House of Commons. The politician, who will initially remain a simple MP, still has a strong support base in the party.
According to reports, some of them are already preparing a vote of no confidence against his successor in order to bring Johnson back to office as quickly as possible. The decisive factor will be whether a parliamentary inquiry into the “Partygate” affair concludes that Johnson knowingly misled Parliament. This could possibly lead to the loss of his mandate.