Jay (16) is too young to vote, but will decide on the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom: that’s how it is

Jay (16) is too young to vote, but will decide on the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom: that’s how it is
Jay (16) is too young to vote, but will decide on the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom: that’s how it is

Jay Chan, 16, moved from Hong Kong to Birmingham, England, two years ago. Yet he has already cast his vote that will help determine who will be the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. This is how the British system works.

Jay attends a ‘hustings’, a Conservative Party meeting. Here, party members engage in conversation with the two candidates for their party’s leadership. On the basis of those conversations, they determine who they will vote for, and thus who will become the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Anyone can join the Conservative Party, there is no age limit.

No new elections

Boris Johnson stepped down not only as prime minister at the beginning of July, but also as party leader of the Conservation Party. Because there is no obligation in the United Kingdom to call new elections if a government falls, Johnson’s party will remain the largest after his departure.

The candidate who will soon be elected as the new leader of the Conservative Party will therefore also be the prime minister on behalf of the Conservatives. And so the future party leader can go straight to Queen Elizabeth after his victory, to be named the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

A different prime minister every week

That’s just how the British system works, says deputy editor-in-chief Henry Hill of the leading platform Conservativehome.com. “Few people are excited about this. In principle, the British Parliament could appoint a new prime minister every week if they wanted to.”

The Conservative Party is not even obliged to ask its members who they think should be the new leader. That the party does this now is a choice, says Hill.

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‘An honor to participate’

It is doubtful whether the members of the Conservative Party reflect British society. Details about exactly who the members are are difficult to ascertain, according to Hill. But it is known that there are some 160,000 members, that they are mainly older and wealthier than the average Briton and that they mainly live in London and the south-east and east of England.

Representative or not, Jay thinks it’s great that he can participate in this election: “I’m from Hong Kong. I’m an immigrant, I came to this country for freedom and democracy. I am honored to be a part of participate in this democratic process.”

Truss of Sunak

He already knows who Jay will vote for: Liz Truss, because of her foreign policy and her decisive appearance. And he is not alone in this. Truss is ahead of her opponent Rishi Sunak in all polls. However, there are still supporters of Sunak at the meeting in Birmingham.

Grahame Taylor, for example, who allowed himself to be convinced by him during the evening: “I think he showed so much charisma tonight and clicked so well with his audience, he absolutely won me over. And I think that a likeable leader always does well in elections.”

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However, the chance that Sunak will still win does not seem great. Rishi Sunak argues for more government spending and even wants to raise certain taxes. Truss is a classically conservative candidate, who is in favor of tax cuts and small government.

Although she was once against Brexit, she now has a strong EU-skeptical profile. And that, according to deputy editor-in-chief Hill, is exactly what members of the Conservative Party are now looking for. “Sunak needs a miracle to bridge the distance.”

View the TV report here.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Jay young vote decide Prime Minister United Kingdom

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