Above and below: who counts and who disappears in the UK’s ‘Truss era’ | International
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In the brief days during which the campaigns of the different candidates to succeed Boris Johnson emerged, many political races continued or stopped dead. It was that delicate and transcendental moment in which sides are chosen, with all its consequences. Those who bet on Liz Truss, when all the media filled covers and minutes with Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, the two initial favorites, have secured a place in the sun for the coming months.
Kwasi Kwarteng. The Secretary of State for Business – a good friend of Spain, who has not missed the dinners convened in London by the Chamber of Commerce – will be, with total certainty, the new Minister of the Economy. The son of two immigrants from Ghana, Kwarteng, 47, shares with his friend Truss a deep neoliberal vision of the economy, and has already begun to prepare the promised tax cut. He admits that, together with direct aid to households to deal with the energy crisis, the tax cut will in the short term alter the budgetary orthodoxy that has always been part of the conservative “Bible”, but promises to maintain the solvency of the United Kingdom and behave in a “fiscally responsible manner” as soon as circumstances improve.
james cleverly. It is ruled out that he will be the new Foreign Minister. With an English father and a Sierra Leonean mother, Cleverly (London, 53 years old), combined his work in different publishing companies and his years of military service with his affiliation with the Conservative Party. An MP since 2015 and an active participant in the Brexit campaign in 2016, he has held various mid-level positions (he only became Education Minister during the three days that Boris Johnson was desperately fighting to replace the cascade of ministers who resigned because of his scandals). It was his position as Truss’s number two during her time as foreign minister that cemented their close relationship.
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Suella Braverman. The one that until now has been the Solicitor General of the State (who in the United Kingdom is the highest-ranking legal adviser to the Government) is emerging as the new Home Secretary. His are the opinions with which he tried to give legal authority to some of Johnson’s most controversial decisions, such as the law that overturned the international commitment acquired with the EU through the Northern Ireland Protocol, or the immigration policy that led to Rwanda to people who crossed the waters of the English Channel to reach British territory. The daughter of two Indian immigrants from Kenya and Mauritius, respectively, Braverman (London, 42 years old) tried to compete in the conservative primaries, and was for a few hours the favorite candidate of the eurosceptics, until she ended up being eliminated and diverted her efforts to boost the Truss campaign.
Jacob Rees Mogg. The most eccentric and haughty Eurosceptic of the Conservative Party, who rose to fame from his post as President of the European Research Group (European Studies Group), the internal current that brought together the staunchest defenders of Brexit, has remained faithful to Johnson until the end, and has gone so far as to define the maneuvers to force the resignation of the previous prime minister as anti-democratic, in whose Government he was as Minister of Relations with the House of Commons. He later took over the Brexit Opportunities ministry, with more propaganda than cash value. Rees-Mogg (London, 53 years old), a fervent Catholic who never takes off his pinstripe double-breasted suit, opted from the first minute for Truss’s candidacy, and the winner of the primaries is counting on him for her new government.
ben wallace. The defense minister was one of the most heavily supported favorites when he began the race to replace Johnson. Surprisingly, he promptly announced his decision not to compete for the job, thereby relieving the rest of the rivals of a major concern and ensuring that whoever won, they had him for the future. Wallace (Orpington, United Kingdom, 52 years old) has had a firm and impeccable performance during the response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine, with a boost of British military aid to the kyiv Government and constant visits to the area. It is ruled out that he will continue to lead the ministry.
Theresa Coffey. The current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is a friend and has been a loyal companion to Truss for years. She was part of her campaign from the first minute, and the poisoned responsibility will fall on her, as the new Minister of Health, of trying to rebuild the National Health Service (NHS, in its acronym in English). For years it was the jewel of the British welfare state, and one of the institutions of which the British were most proud – a group of nurses with their stretchers came to pay tribute to it in a choreography, during the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012- , but its current state is disastrous, with long waiting lists, services that are never provided and ambulances that arrive at the emergency room hours late. Truss has also promised to solve this problem.
Rishi Sunak. The former Minister of Economy fought Truss to the end in the battle of the Conservative primaries, and the more than 60,000 votes received (more than 42% of the total support) have made it clear that he is a political force to be reckoned with. bill. The son of a married couple of Indian immigrants, Sunak (Southampton, 42 years old), with a successful academic past and in private business, has already made it clear that he would not enter a Truss government even if it were offered to him, although he will lend all the help he is required of him to preserve the unity of the Conservative Party and contribute to a possible new electoral victory. Hooked on politics, he will keep his seat in the House of Commons, and will wait to see if time and circumstances give him another chance.
Michael Gove. Michael Gove is a character in British politics as fascinating as he is complex. He collaborated with Johnson on the 2016 Brexit campaign, pledging to lead his campaign to replace David Cameron as prime minister. The night before the candidacy was launched, he stabbed her in the back. He not only gave up supporting his friend and political ally, but also questioned his stature to lead the country’s destiny. Despite everything, Johnson brought him back as minister in 2019. Gove (Aberdeen, Scotland, 55 years old) is brilliant in his oratory, cunning in his political strategy and smart as a fox. The least important is the ministry that he occupies. It is convenient to have it nearby to solve wrongs. However, Gove decided to bet until the end on Rishi Sunak, and went so far as to disqualify Truss as prime minister, because he “does not have the right answer for the world we are facing,” he wrote in a column for the newspaper The Times.
It was Gove who told Johnson, in a private meeting when his downfall was a foretold chronicle, that the dignified thing he could do was resign. The Prime Minister took delayed revenge on his ally and expelled him from the Government with intemperate boxes, before resigning himself as Prime Minister. Gove has already assumed that he “does not expect to be part of another government again.” In politics, however, it is clear that he “never” means “for now.”
Pritti Patel. She was one of the most controversial figures, but also the most relevant, of the Johnson Government. Late this Monday, Patel anticipated any possible decision and announced that he is leaving the Executive. Patel (London, 50 years old), the daughter of Indian parents established in Uganda before emigrating to the United Kingdom, was the Home Secretary responsible for the drastic tightening of British immigration policy, as a result of the Brexit victory. A staunch defender of leaving the EU, she showed no sign of weakness despite the legal setbacks that her department had to face, especially when she wanted to implement the strategy of deporting to Rwanda the immigrants who arrived from irregular way to British soil. Her decision, first, not to compete in the primaries, and later to maintain neutrality and not support any candidate, has worked against her. Truss has taken advantage of this distancing to remove her from the Government, get a controversial figure out of the way and avoid an image of continuity in the new Executive.
Dominic Raab. Of an accommodating nature and little given to complaining, Raab (Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom, 48 years old), has held all the most relevant government positions without leaving a relevant mark. He was minister for Brexit under Theresa May, and foreign minister under Johnson, before the fiasco of the hasty withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan – Raab did not even want to interrupt his vacation – forced his dismissal. He went on to occupy the portfolio of Justice, and even acquired the title -more honorary than practical, in the British constitutional system- of deputy prime minister. He became acting prime minister for a few days, when covid-19 sent Johnson to the ICU and the British feared for his life.
Raab has backed Sunak during the campaign, and has ruled out Truss offering him a job in the new government. If he did, however, he has already made it clear that he would accept, because he adapts to everything.
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