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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Who Could Replace Boris Johnson As New UK PM?

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Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak, the United Kingdom’s health and finance ministers, resigned late on Tuesday. This could be the final nail in Boris Johnson’s coffin.

Johnson’s position was already under threat after a series of scandals that rocked 10 Downing Street. These include multiple violations of Covid lockdown protocols and inquiries into refurbishments of the PM official residence – 10 Downing Street.

Last month’s confidence vote secured a narrow win for Johnson who gains immunity from another no-confidence motion for the next 12 months. According to the Hindustan Times, even that may not be enough to protect him now that Sunak and Javed have walked out. Lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party are already working to shorten that period. Boris Johnson’s time as UK prime minister, it appears, is nearing its end.

What is next in store for Boris Johnson?

The easiest thing for Johnson to do would be to resign on his own volition after deciding that he has lost support of his own party. This doe not seem likely as Johnson has not shown any signs that he is willing to do this. As the he fought off the “Partygate” scandal in January, April and May, Johnson showed he was not willing to step down.

If he does not step down on his own accord, resignation of other, such as foreign minister Liz Truss and defence minister Ben Wallace, may force him to do so. But reports say neither Truss nor Wallace have shown any indication of quitting.

Who could be Johnson’s replacement at PM of UK?

Liz Truss: Having regularly topped polls of party members carried out by the website Conservative Home, the foreign secretary is the favourite of the Conservatives. Having championed Brexit as international trade minister earlier and being promoted to lead negotiator, Truss may stand a good chance of being made PM.

Jeremy Hunt: The 55-year-old finished second to Johnson in the 2019 contest. He is seen as a serious and a less controversial character which makes him very appealing to many. He has said earlier this year that his ambition to become prime minister ‘hasn’t completely vanished’.

Ben Wallace: Due to his astute handling of the Ukraine Crisis, defence minister Wallace is a popular candidate. Having served in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and central America, Wallace’s reputation has burgeoned over the past three years.

Rishi Sunak: Till last year, Sunak was the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Johnson. He won acclaim for his handling of the country’s economy during the Covid Pandemic. However, he has also come in for criticism over the domicile status of his wife Akanksha Murthy, the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy.

Nadhim Zahawi: Having just being appointed as Sunak’s successor, Zahawi made his mark as vaccines minister after Britain achieved one of the world’s fastest roll-out rates. Last week, Zahawi said it would be a ‘privilege’ to be prime minister.

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