UK: Quick guide to understanding ‘another’ historic day for British Conservatives | International
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The UK Conservative Party may be going through its lowest hours in years, but it has provided priceless entertainment to the rest of the world. Finished the umpteenth juggling of Boris Johnson to occupy, once again, the center of attention that he never gives up, this Monday, early in the afternoon, it will be known if the country has a new prime minister -the fifth in six years- or if the competition lasts a few more days. Yes there will be coronation or vote.
The improvised rules drawn up by the 1922 Committee, the parliamentary institution that brings together all conservative deputies without portfolio in the Government, have accelerated the process, to avoid prolonged uncertainty at a delicate moment in the national economy, with restless markets. The committee, and its president, Graham Brady, have been entrusted by the party with organizing the primaries to elect a new leader (and a new prime minister, since the Conservatives retain the parliamentary majority they won in 2019).
Brady announced the following schedule last week: this Monday, at 2:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. in Spanish peninsular time) would be the limit for candidates to present the necessary 100 endorsements from fellow deputies, in order to compete. In last summer’s contest – the one that Liz Truss ended up winning – the threshold was 22 endorsements. Many have suspected from the beginning that the new number served the dual purpose of reducing the number of applicants as much as possible – especially adventurers – and of complicating the feared return of Boris Johnson.
With 357 deputies in the parliamentary group, only a maximum of three candidates could have come out ahead. If this had been the case, at 4:30 p.m., Spanish peninsular time, the conservative deputies would have carried out a first discard vote, to eliminate the third party with the least votes. Then, with little pause, they would vote again between the two finalists. In this case, only for an orientation purpose, so that the affiliates knew the preferences of the parliamentary group. From that moment on, the electronic ballot boxes would be opened, and the bases Tories they could vote online until Friday, when the winner would be announced.
The ‘coronation’ of the victor
But the new rules also made it clear that if just one candidate passed the 100-endorsement threshold, he or she would immediately be the new leader and prime minister, without the need for a vote by affiliates. Everything suggests that the former Minister of the Economy, who already has at least 176 supporters (the majority of the parliamentary group), is on his way to being crowned by his colleagues, thus becoming the first Briton of Indian origin and Hindu religion to occupy Downing Street. . A fact that cannot go unnoticed, at a time when the country is intensely debating the sins and virtues of its colonial past.
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Third in contention, Penny Mordaunt, finished the weekend with fewer than 30 endorsements. Some of his supporters, such as deputies Roger Gale or Andrea Leadsom, continue to work hard since early Monday morning to accumulate support, in the hope that many of the allegedly 102 deputies who backed Johnson could come over to his side. . Mordaunt was briefly the favorite of many Conservatives in past primaries. Her brief role as Leader of the House of Commons, in the six weeks that Truss’s term has lasted, provided her with an important public face. But this doesn’t seem to be her time. The last relevant supporters of Johnson, such as the current foreign minister, James Cleverly, or the former interior minister, Priti Patel, are passing over to Sunak’s team, and assume that his election is now inevitable.
Until the last minute, however, nothing can be ruled out. There are relevant voices in the formation that question the idea that the deputies appoint a new prime minister without going through the affiliates, and suggest that the way to avoid it would be to promote Mordaunt in these last hours, to force a vote of the bases. Others, however, believe that the 160,000 voting members are dominated by the most radical wing of the party – as Truss’s election demonstrated this summer – and that the Conservatives cannot afford to go back. to fail in their election, if they intend to avoid the electoral advance that the opposition insistently demands.
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