Explainer: After Boris Johnson, who will become prime minister?

Several of Boris Johnson’s former Cabinet members have already entered the race to become the next prime minister of Britain.

After his Cabinet colleagues deserted him due to never-ending scandals and political U-turns, Johnson announced his retirement last Friday. Despite Johnson’s repeated assurances that he would “fight on,” 59 Conservative parliamentarians, including junior ministers and advisers, resigned in just two days, driving him out of power.

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Johnson reportedly decided to resign, though, after meeting with the head of the 1922 Committee, a group of 18 Conservative parliamentarians who do not hold office in the government. The influential parliamentary body supervises party choices and has previously removed Conservative party leaders.

The choice of the next leader of the Conservative Party will be made by the Conservative members of Parliament through a series of ballots. In contrast, a general election determines which MPs represent particular constituencies; the party with the most votes wins the election, and the head of that party is appointed prime minister.

The Conservative Party elects a new leader and governs the nation until the next election after Johnson resigned rather than being removed by a vote of no confidence. Labour, the opposition party, has no influence over who will hold the party’s highest office.

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Sunak, who was well-liked by his party and the general public in his first year as the British equivalent of the secretary of the treasury, the chancellor of the exchequer, had long been seen as Johnson’s replacement. However, rumours that he was a “multimillionaire in his mid-twenties” and that his father-in-law is reportedly worth £3.5 billion, as well as a number of controversies involving Johnson, such as going to a party when COVID was on lockdown, have hurt his popularity.

Minutes after his colleague Sajid Javid submitted his resignation letter on Twitter, Sunak became the second minister to leave Johnson’s Cabinet. The 42-year-old former chancellor started his “Ready for Rishi” campaign just three days after resigning. The website domain was reportedly registered six months before to Johnson’s resignation. Sunak’s group has asserted that it wasn’t initially their domain and that it was formed by somebody else.

When it was discovered that Sunak’s wife had claimed non-domicile status on her tax returns earlier this year, saving millions of pounds in taxes on income she received from her family’s Indian information technology company, she came under fire.

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Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister and justice secretary who would have taken over as prime minister if Johnson had resigned instantly, praised Sunak and said he would “make things happen.” Raab stated on Tuesday that “Rishi’s principles are our values, and he has always had the bravery of his convictions.”

In his first interview for the campaign, Sunak declared his intention to reduce the taxes he enacted while serving as Johnson’s chancellor. The former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who diminished the influence of unions and privatised state-owned enterprises, was next compared to by the speaker.

Sunak will become the first person of colour and of Indian ancestry to hold the position of prime minister if he wins.

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Penny Mordaunt

As well as being Britain’s first female trade minister, Mordaunt was the country’s first female defence secretary. Because she maintained a low profile while holding her Cabinet positions, she is regarded as the underdog in the campaign for the Conservative leadership.

Mordaunt, 49, outraged many in the LGBT community with a thread she wrote on Twitter about what a biological woman was only days before she declared her candidacy. She said, “I am a woman physiologically.I am still a woman even after a hysterectomy or mastectomy. And I am a woman in law. Legally, some men who were born men and went through the gender recognition process are also women. That DIFFERS from being a biological woman, like I am.”

Liz Truss

Liz Truss, the British Foreign Secretary, has also declared her candidacy for the position of next prime minister. Truss, 46, has pledged to reduce taxes, especially corporation taxes, in line with other candidates.

She told the Telegraph that raising taxes at this time was inappropriate. “To help Britain attract business and investment, I would reverse the national insurance hike that was implemented in April, maintain a competitive corporation tax rate, and restructure the COVID debt.”

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Despite the fact that Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries, two of Johnson’s loyalists, have publicly supported Truss, the press secretary was obliged to deny orchestrating a smear campaign against Sunak. Johnson’s office stated on Wednesday that the man was remaining impartial in the debate.

Former Leveling Up Minister Kemi Badenoch, Johnson critic and veteran of the military Tom Tugendhat, and Attorney General Suella Braverman are among contenders for the position of prime minister. Like Sunak, Braverman would be the country’s first prime minister of Indian descent.

How will they be chosen?

MPs cast their votes in the first round of the leadership election on Wednesday. Candidates had to have at least 30 MPs’ support. Sajid Javid, a former health secretary, and Rehman Chishti withdrew from the race after receiving less than 20 nominations. Following the vote on Wednesday, newly appointed chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt were eliminated from the race.

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The second vote will go on until there are only two MPs left on Thursday. The vote that determines the future prime minister will then pit the two Conservative politicians against one another.

Who is most well-liked?

On Wednesday, Sunak received 88 votes, followed by Mordaunt with 67. Sunak won the Conservative primary.

Mordaunt is by far the most well-liked candidate, per a survey of Conservative Party members conducted by the market research firm YouGov.

When will the upcoming leader be revealed?

On or before September 5, when the British Parliament reconvenes after its summer recess, the next British prime minister will be named.

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