Boris Johnson resigns as UK PM, Rishi Sunak among frontrunners: What’s next


With a thumping victory and a maverick image, Boris Johnson walked into 10 Downing Street as the PM and less than three years into the job he is walking out in the most unsavoury of circumstances with the country and his cabinet losing trust in his leadership.

Boris Johnson is the first British PM to have suffered such a record number of resignations from his ministers.

This certainly was not part of the plan when Johnson eyed the premiership. His legacy will be marred with lies and his accomplishments overshadowed by incompetent leadership.

WHAT AND WHO NEXT

According to procedure, the race for a new leader will begin as soon as Boris Johnson stands down as the PM and as the leader of the Tory party.

If there are more than two MPs in the race, Tory MPs will bring down the number to two for the final vote. Whoever wins this contest becomes the leader of the party and takes the position of the PM after the Queen invites him or her to form the government.

Also Read: | Rishi Sunak, UK’s Indian-origin minister, grilled over wife’s Infosys link with Russia

The timeline for the vote, in case there are more than two candidates, will be set up by the 1922 Committee of Backbench MPs, that collectively co-ordinates and holds the party views and values and is also responsible for setting up party rules.

According to some reports, Boris Johnson agreed to resign before this committee.

Under normal circumstances, Boris Johnson should continue as the PM till autumn, unless he decides to go immediately. In this rare situation, the Queen will appoint an acting leader.

IN THE RACE TO BE UK’S NEXT PREMIER

The frontrunners in the race for the premiership include former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

In the odds game with the bookies, Rishi Sunak is neck-to-neck with Mordaunt.

Also Read: | Defiant British PM Johnson vows to ‘keep going’ amid flurry of resignations

Other names in the mix include Defence Secretary Ben Wallace; former Health Secretary Sajid Javid; new Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi; former Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove and former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

WHO IS RISHI SUNAK

Born in Southampton to a general practitioner father and a pharmacist mother, Rishi Sunak, in conversation with the Indian Journalist Association, said that he grew up doing book-keeping for his mother.

“Helicoptered” to the second-most important job in the country – the chancellor, Rishi soon gained many admirers within the party and outside.

If he does become the PM of Britain, then he will be the first person of Indian or even Asian origin to hold the post.

Also Read: | Big blow to UK PM Boris Johnson as 2 key ministers resign amid series of scandals

His handling of the economy during the pandemic was viewed positively, but his image suffered a blow over his wife Akshata Murty’s non-domicile status, which allowed her not to pay tax in the UK on her overseas income. Akshata Murty is the daughter of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy.

Along with Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak was fined for flouting lockdown rules.

Handing in his resignation just in time and serving the final and fatal blow to Boris Johnson’s premiership, Sunak could redeem some of his lost reputation.

POSSIBILITY OF AN ELECTION

Elections are due in January 2025 and the possibility of snap polls is low unless the new leader calls for one. The Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, has been pushing for one. The Tories would not like a snap poll as their party’s image has been dented – which was also reflected in the opinion polls, unless the new elected leader of the party decides otherwise.

Also Read: | Who is Rishi Sunak, one of the favourites to replace Boris Johnson as UK PM

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