Four MPs have so far applied to succeed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as head of the Conservative Party. Most recently, the previous Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities, Kemi Badenoch, announced her candidacy in a guest article for the newspaper “The Times” (Saturday).
She wanted to tell people the truth again, wrote the 42-year-old, who resigned on Wednesday, referring to the months-long scandals and affairs surrounding Johnson. “But he was a symptom of the problems we face, not the cause. People are tired of platitudes and empty rhetoric. It is not enough to love our country, our people or our party.” Badenoch is seen as an outsider.
The best-known candidate so far is former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, whose resignation on Tuesday evening helped initiate Johnson’s downfall. In doing so, he triggered a wave of resignations in the conservative government faction. “Let’s restore trust, rebuild the economy and bring the country back together,” Sunak wrote in a message on Twitter. He also posted a high-quality video with his family history.
Sunak was once considered the most promising candidate to succeed Johnson. He benefited above all from the popularity of the so-called Furlough program, a measure modeled on the German short-time work scheme that saved millions of people from losing their jobs during the pandemic. Several influential Tory politicians, such as former General Secretary Oliver Dowden, spoke out in his favour.
Attorney General Suella Braverman, long considered a Johnson ally, and Foreign Affairs Committee chief Tom Tugendhat are also running. It was expected that political heavyweights such as Secretary of State Liz Truss, Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace and ex-Secretary of Health Sajid Javid would also be in the running.
Any candidate will first need the support of at least eight Tory MPs. Then comes the voting in the parliamentary group, in which the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated in each election round – until only two are left. The party members decide on the winner in a run-off election. In September, the new party leader or the new party leader should be determined – he or she will then also move to Downing Street.