The United Kingdom will soon know who will succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister: Liz Truss seems to have the best chance

The United Kingdom will soon know who will succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister: Liz Truss seems to have the best chance
The United Kingdom will soon know who will succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister: Liz Truss seems to have the best chance

Since British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation as party leader at the beginning of the summer, the British Conservatives have been engaged in a succession struggle. After a weeks-long elimination race, two candidates remain: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak. They have been scouring member evenings all over the country in recent weeks, because it is the party members who are in charge.

Head Start

Truss has had a comfortable lead in the polls for weeks. According to the latest poll by research agency YouGov, the 47-year-old Oxford politician gets 66 percent of the members behind him. Sunak would have to make do with 34 percent of the vote.

The 42-year-old former Chancellor of the Exchequer from Southampton seems to have to pay for Boris Johnson’s defenestration: in early July, Sunak, along with then Minister of Health Sajid Javid, became the first heavyweight in the Johnson government to close the door after a series of scandals. Truss simply remained in post and will not miss an opportunity to emphasize her enduring loyalty to Johnson. The resigning prime minister therefore remains popular among the members: if Johnson can enter the race, he easily beat Truss and Sunak, according to YouGov.

No file eater

Not only does Truss remain loyal, her management style also resembles Johnson’s. She promises a lot, but is not immediately known as a big file-eater and puts pragmatism above great ideological considerations. In addition, she likes a good swipe at the media or the EU, just like BoJo.

Only Liz Truss lacks the flamboyance and charisma of Johnson. During debates, she finds it difficult to get out of her words. Observers sometimes compare her to a robot. The bizarre speech she once gave about how the British should be proud of their apples, pears, cheese and pork is now legendary. Truss raves about Margaret Thatcher, but regularly comes across as rude. For example, in recent years she has worn an outfit that seems to come straight from the closet of the now deceased Iron Lady. She herself does the comparison or as nonsense.

More charisma, image against

Sunak has more charisma than his rival, but he has his image against him. Truss invariably portrays him as a rich man who has no connection with the common people. The scandal that erupted last spring surrounding the special tax status of his immensely wealthy wife, the daughter of the Indian billionaire and founder of IT company Infosys, is not doing that reputation any good. The former Treasury Secretary also made himself unpopular with the Tories by pushing for tax hikes and advocating them again over the course of the campaign to curb inflation.

Whoever the new resident of 10 Downing Street becomes, he or she will immediately get a collection of crises on the board. Inflation in the UK is higher than anywhere else in Europe, one profession after another is going on strike for higher wages and energy prices are going through the roof. Meanwhile, Brexit continues to cause supply problems and long queues in Dover.

sad eyes

The average Briton sees the battle between Sunak and Truss with sorrow. The decision on the next prime minister rests with some 160,000 members of the Tory party, barely 0.3 percent of the total British electorate. In addition, according to the BBC, the party is 63 percent male, its members are predominantly white and nearly 40 percent of Tories are over 65, not exactly a representative sample of the British population. The new prime minister may soon call snap elections, as Johnson did a few months after he became prime minister, although that will depend largely on the polls.

The Conservatives could vote until 5 p.m. local time on Friday evening. Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of the Conservative Group in the House of Commons, normally announces the name of the winner. The palace will then invite the new Tory leader for an audience with Queen Elizabeth, who will appoint him or her Prime Minister. According to British media, that will happen on Tuesday, and for the first time from Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s summer residence in Scotland.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: United Kingdom succeed Boris Johnson prime minister Liz Truss chance

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