Great Britain: Sunak against Johnson? - Competition for Truss successor begins

A duel between ex-Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson is emerging in the contest for the post of British Prime Minister.

Great Britain: Sunak against Johnson? - Competition for Truss successor begins

A duel between ex-Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson is emerging in the contest for the post of British Prime Minister. Sunak is considered the favorite with more than 120 public supporters.

"Britain is a great country but we are in a serious economic crisis. That's why I want to lead the Conservative Party and become the next Prime Minister," Sunak wrote on Twitter on Sunday, stressing that he wanted to lead the country through the crisis with integrity and professionalism .

His most dangerous rival is the scandal-ridden Boris Johnson. This will also "clearly compete and has broad support," emphasized the ally and Brexit hardliner Jacob-Rees-Mogg on Sunday. The campaign team said Johnson had already reached the threshold of 100 supporters necessary for a successful candidacy. However, doubts quickly arose because only about half as many publicly spoke out in favor of the 58-year-old.

The Tory party is seeking a successor for outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss, who resigned on Thursday after six unprecedentedly chaotic weeks in office after pressure from her party.

No deal between Johnson and Sunak

Ex-Prime Minister Johnson, who returned with his family from a shortened vacation in the Caribbean on Saturday, met with Sunak that same evening. British media speculated the two could agree on a deal to avoid further dividing their party. For example, the scenario circulated that the favorite Sunak could offer Johnson a role in a future cabinet. On Sunday, however, it became clear: There will be no such deal. Sunak supporter Dominic Raab stated: "A deal is not the right way forward".

Third in the running is Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs Penny Mordaunt, who is reported to have the least supporters so far. However, she is competing to win and ruling out a deal with Johnson, Mordaunt said when asked in the BBC interview. On the other hand, she did not want to commit herself to answers about her specific policy plans - such as the reform of the underfunded health system or defense spending.

Voting scheduled for Friday

Nominations can be received until Monday afternoon. If more than two candidates receive the necessary support from 100 MPs, the circle should be reduced when voting in the parliamentary group. If there are two finalists after that, the party base can vote online until Friday.

A duel between Sunak and Johnson could become a bitter fight between old rivals - or the "mother of all leadership struggles," as the "Politico" portal wrote at the weekend. With his resignation as finance secretary from the Johnson cabinet in the summer, Sunak played a key role in bringing down the then prime minister. The relationship between the men was previously considered tense and has since been broken.

Johnson's possible comeback sparks controversy

Several MPs have threatened to refuse allegiance to the prime minister or even leave the party if Johnson returns to office. An investigation is still pending over the scandal politician as to whether he lied to parliament in the "Partygate" affair - which would be considered a political knockout criterion. Influential MP Steve Baker described a Johnson comeback on Sunday as "guaranteed disaster".

In addition to Baker, Sunak has other Tory heavyweights behind him: Grant Shapps, who helped lead the Johnson campaign to success in 2019, has joined the Sunak camp this time. The fact that Trade Minister Kemi Badenoch from the right-wing fringe of the party spoke out in favor of the 42-year-old is considered an important sign that different wings of the party could possibly unite behind Sunak.

There is enormous frustration in the opposition parties and also in large parts of the public that the Tory party will again decide who will govern the country in the future. The leader of the Labor Party, Keir Starmer, called for a new election in the BBC interview. The "ridiculously chaotic circus in the Tory party" must finally come to an end, according to Starmer.

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