Secretary of State for International Trade, Penny Mordaunt, 49, was the last to announce her candidacy on Sunday morning. Mordaunt, a former Navy reservist, was the first woman to hold the position of Secretary of Defense in 2019.
The candidates’ declared desire appears to come out of the never-ending series of scandals that have plagued Boris Johnson’s tenure, until he had no choice but to step down Thursday after a torrent of withdrawal announcements in his cabinet. This competition for the leadership of the Conservative Party and, consequently, the leadership of the next government, portends a hot summer that will bring much controversy and quarrel.
Former ministers Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid announced their candidacy on Saturday night in articles in the Sunday Telegraph. Both pointed to the tax cut plans, a move away from the line of Rishi Sunak who wants to wait for fiscal consolidation before considering a similar project in the UK, which has been facing unprecedented inflation for 40 years.
“Without tax cuts, we will not see growth,” Javid told the BBC on Sunday. Javid announced his resignation on Tuesday, giving the via to a series of almost sixty resignations, which constituted the coup de grace for Boris Johnson. Sajid Javid, 52, was followed by Finance Minister Rishi Sunak nine minutes later. But he pointed out that they had not coordinated the move.
Wallace rejects the appointment
Rishi Sunak is very popular due to the various economic support measures that were deployed at the height of the pandemic, but has long been undermined by revelations that his wealthy wife has resorted to a tax system that benefits them. However, it appears that he has managed to make a comeback, as he has the support of many deputies. However, Sunak risks the wrath of Johnson’s camp, suspected of treason, as he apparently did not inform the prime minister before leaving the government.
Another serious candidate is Nadim Al-Zahawi, who led Britain’s Covid vaccination program when he was Minister of State, before moving from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Finance last week. And the beginning of his electoral campaign was heavy as revealed by the newspapers about a tax investigation against him. However, he confirmed that all of his financial interests had been duly declared.
Other contenders whose chances of success seem much lower are Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps and Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Tom Tugendhat, as well as Attorney General Suila Braverman and former Secretary of State for Equality Kimi Badnock. The party is still waiting for Secretary of State Liz to enter in race, while his Department of Defense colleague Ben Wallace announced Saturday that he will not run.
In total, the party authorities are expecting about fifteen nominations. The head of the 1922 Committee, responsible for the party’s internal organization, said via the BBC on Sunday that he was “confident” that the two finalists would be known by 20 July. Despite the tight schedule, the goal is to ensure that a final vote, open only to Conservative Party members, leads to the nomination of the winner by early September.