Tags: Brexit | David Cameron | boris | cameron | brexit | eu

Who Will Step In for Boris Johnson?

Who Will Step In for Boris Johnson?

By Thursday, 30 June 2016 09:28 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The face of Brexit, Boris Johnson, announced today his own exit — and abandoned his candidacy for prime minister.

Former London Mayor Johnson excluded himself from the race for leader of the ruling Conservative Party (the winner of which will automatically become prime minister) after his former ally and expected campaign manager Michael Gove became a candidate himself.

This high drama occurred hours after the official announcement of candidacy for leadership by Home Secretary Theresa May, long considered the leading alternative to Johnson (whose flamboyant antics and appearance are frequently likened to those of Donald Trump).

“Tessie” May, who was on the “remain” side with Cameron during the Brexit debate but said or did little, told reporters she was committed to following the will of the voters and taking the United Kingdom out of the EU over the next two years.

“Brexit means Brexit,” she said without hesitation.

Meanwhile, longtime conservatives within the Conservative Party made clear they were not impressed with the current field and expected to enter a new candidate of their own in the mold of the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

“Gove is very bright but he isn’t a conservative,” Ben Harris-Quinney, president of the Bow Group (the oldest British conservative think tank) told me. “His campaign manager is Nick Boles [a noted centrist in the Conservative Party] and he was nominated by [Education Minister] Nicky Morgan, about as far left as the Conservative Party goes.

“Gove is a modernizer in the mold of [former Labour Prime Minister] Tony Blair.”

Harris-Quinney went on to reveal he and his allies on the right would back Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom on a ticket with former Defense Secretary Liam Fox slated for a top Cabinet position if she became prime minister. Leadsom is a favorite of the right and Fox was a leading opponent to Cameron in the leadership race a decade ago as well as a supporter of the “leave” effort.

Nominations for candidates will be held until Thursday afternoon. Conservative members of parliament will then hold ballots with the bottom candidate eliminated on successive ballots. The contest is then go to a “primary” of the 150,000 dues-paying Conservatives nationwide and the winner announced Sept. 9.

From London to Washington, D.C., however, the news that Boris Johnson was out left most observers reeling. Johnson, whose friendship with Cameron dates back to their days at Eton and Oxford, appeared to have backstabbed him by being so vocal in the Brexit campaign and moving so quickly in the succession race.

Gove, who had been poised to become Johnson’s campaign manager, told reporters he had concluded “Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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Thursday, 30 June 2016 09:28 AM
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