UK’s Next PM To Be Chosen By October 28 – Party

Liz Truss (Photo by Daniel LEAL / POOL / AFP)

 

British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Thursday announced her resignation just six crisis-filled weeks after taking office, becoming the shortest-lived premier in UK history.

The Conservative party vowed a rapid election to have a new leader chosen by October 28, avoiding the drawn-out contest that saw Truss defeat Rishi Sunak over the summer following Boris Johnson’s own resignation.

Truss admitted she “cannot deliver the mandate” on which she was elected, bowing to the inevitable after her right-wing platform of tax cuts disintegrated and as many Conservative MPs revolted.

Labour leader Keir Starmer, whose opposition party has surged in opinion polls on the back of Truss’s short, eventful tenure, demanded a general election “now”.

“This is not just a soap opera at the top of the Tory party,” he said, warning of “huge damage” to the UK economy, although the pound perked up a little on Truss’s dramatic announcement.

Speaking in Downing Street, Truss said she would stay on as prime minister until a successor is chosen to serve as Tory leader.

“We’ve agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week,” she said, after senior backbench MP Graham Brady told her the game was up.

“This will ensure that we remain on a path to deliver our fiscal plan and maintain our country’s economic stability and national security.”

Without going into details, Brady told reporters that the new leader would be in place by Friday next week, in time for new finance minister Jeremy Hunt to deliver a crucial budget statement on October 31.

Brady’s statement suggested the party could find a way of bypassing the Tory rank and file who elected Truss, in the face of warnings by Sunak that her debt-fuelled programme threatened higher inflation and market turmoil.

– Sunak the favourite –

Sunak’s warnings were vindicated, and the former finance minister quickly emerged as the bookmakers’ favourite on Thursday. But he remains held in deep suspicion by Johnson loyalists.

The end for Truss came after a key minister resigned and many Tory MPs rebelled over an important vote in chaotic scenes at the House of Commons late Wednesday.

By Thursday morning, more than a dozen Conservative MPs had publicly urged Truss to resign, after her tax-cutting plans caused a market meltdown during an already severe cost-of-living crisis.

Many more were reported to have submitted letters to Brady calling for Truss to be removed, although party rules would have forbidden another leadership campaign for 12 months.

“The prime minister acknowledges yesterday was a difficult day and she recognises the public wanted to see the government focusing less on politics and more on delivering their priorities,” her official spokesman told reporters.

Barely two hours later, she quit, and will fall well short of Tory predecessor George Canning who served 118 days as prime minister in 1827 before dying in office.

Amid Russia’s war in Ukraine and growing economic problems, Britain’s allies have been observing the tumult with concern, with political instability recurrent since the country voted in 2016 to quit the European Union.

“It is important that Great Britain regains political stability very quickly, and that is all I wish,” French President Emmanuel Macron said after Truss’s announcement.

For its part, the Russian foreign ministry said Britain has “never known such a disgrace as prime minister”.

Events reached a head after what right-wing tabloid The Sun called “a day of extraordinary mayhem” on Wednesday.

Interior minister Suella Braverman left, apparently at Truss’s demand after she sent a government document in a personal email.

But Braverman, an arch right-winger who enjoys strong support among the Tory membership, used her resignation message to attack Truss in blistering terms.

There then followed farcical scenes in parliament as many Tory MPs rebelled against the government’s demand that they drop the party’s manifesto commitment to maintain a ban on fracking.

Accusations swirled of heavy-handed efforts to whip MPs into line, some of whom later briefed the media that it was the nail in the coffin of the Truss premiership.

Conservative lord Ed Vaizey said the “only way out of this mess is for Liz Truss to stand down and for somebody to be appointed as prime minister by Conservative MPs”.

– ‘Serious concerns’ –

The prime minister’s woes began when her showpiece tax-slashing policy sparked market chaos that threatened the country’s pension funds, forcing her into a series of humiliating U-turns.

Braverman’s departure on Wednesday triggered the second reshuffle this month after Truss sacked close ally Kwasi Kwarteng over the budget debacle, replacing him with Hunt, who swiftly reversed almost all the policy announcements.

Truss appointed Grant Shapps to replace Braverman despite firing him as transport secretary when she took office.

Both Shapps and Hunt had supported her rival for the leadership, Sunak, leaving her isolated in her own cabinet.

In her resignation letter, Braverman flagged up “serious concerns” that Truss was breaking manifesto promises.

“Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see we’ve made them, and hoping things will magically come right is not serious politics,” Braverman wrote.

AFP

Boris Johnson To Resign As British Conservative Party Leader

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 29, 2022 Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives to attend a Service of Thanksgiving for Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in central London.  AFP

 

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson will on Thursday resign as leader of the Conservative Party, but he will continue as Prime Minister until the autumn.

A Conservative leadership race will take place this summer and a new Prime Minister will be in place in time for the Tory party conference in October.

It is the third day of a steady stream of resignations from Boris Johnson’s government, with over 50 members gone.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister was on the brink after two of his senior ministers quit in protest at his scandal-hit leadership, piling on the pressure as he faced a grilling from angry MPs.

READ ALSO: UK PM Johnson On The Brink Over Ministerial Resignations

The 58-year-old leader’s grip on power became more precarious within 10 short minutes on Tuesday night when Rishi Sunak resigned as finance minister and Sajid Javid quit as health secretary.

Both said they could no longer tolerate the culture of scandal that has stalked Johnson for months, including lockdown lawbreaking in Downing Street that enraged the public who followed the rules.

Sunak and Javid will now sit on the Conservative backbenches at the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions at 1100 GMT, which promises to be even more combustible than usual.

Johnson then faces an hours-long grilling from the chairs of the House of Commons’ most powerful committees, who include some of his most virulent critics in the Tory ranks.

The exits of Sunak and Javid came just minutes after Johnson apologised for appointing a senior Conservative, who quit his post last week after he was accused of drunkenly groping two men.

Former education secretary Nadhim Zahawi was handed the finance brief. “You don’t go into this job to have an easy life,” Zahawi told Sky News on Wednesday.

“Sometimes it’s easy to walk away but actually, it’s much tougher to deliver for the country.”

 

Johnson Vows To Get Brexit Done After Election Victory

Britain’s Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson speaks during a campaign event to celebrate the result of the General Election, in central London on December 13, 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday hailed a political “earthquake” after securing a sweeping election win, which clears the way for Britain to finally leave the European Union next month after years of political deadlock. PHOTO: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday hailed a political “earthquake” in Britain after a thumping election victory which clears the way for the country to finally leave the EU next month after years of paralysing deadlock.

With all but one result declared for the 650-seat parliament, Johnson’s Conservative party has secured 364 seats — its biggest majority since the heyday of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

Condemning more than three years of political wrangling over Brexit,Johnson vowed in his victory speech on Friday to “put an end to all that nonsense” and “get Brexit done on time by January 31, no ifs, no buts”.

By contrast the main opposition Labour party suffered its worst electoral performance since before World War II, forcing leader Jeremy Corbyn to announce plans for his departure.

Sterling jumped overnight to its highest level since mid-2018 on hopes that Johnson will deliver his promise to “Get Brexit Done” after years of uncertainty and deep divisions over Britain’s future.

Early Friday it had pulled back a little to trade at $1.3403.

With such a large majority of MPs, Johnson will be able to get the divorce deal he struck with Brussels through parliament in time to meet the January 31 deadline.

Ratifying the deal would formalise the end of almost five decades of EU-UK integration, although both sides still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement.

EU Council President Charles Michel said the bloc was set for talks but would do its utmost to protect European priorities.

“My point is very clear: we are ready. We have decided what are our priorities,” Michel said as he arrived at an EU summit where leaders would discuss the aftermath of the UK vote.

The result of Thursday’s election — the third in almost five years — signals a personal victory for Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign minister who helped lead the Brexit campaign to victory in the 2016 EU referendum.

US President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations on a “great WIN!” and said London and Washington would be able to strike a “massive new trade deal” after Brexit.

“This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!” he said.

Taking the north

The Conservatives had been ahead in opinion polls for weeks but the scale of their victory, after a wet and windy pre-Christmas election, was unexpected.

The party took a string of traditionally Labour seats that had not voted Tory for decades, but many of which had backed “Leave” in 2016.

“We must understand now what an earthquake we have created,” Johnson later told party staff, according to the Press Association news agency.

He earlier declared when he was re-elected as an MP that voters had given him “a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done”.

Johnson now has up to five years to govern until he is obliged to call another election.

Labour collapse

Labour was heading to its worst result since 1935, losing 59 seats to 203, after what Corbyn admitted had been a “very disappointing night”.

He said he would be stepping down after a period of “reflection”, and would not be leading the party into the next election, which is due by 2024.

Corbyn had promised a second referendum on Brexit in a bid to appeal to half of British voters who still want to stay in the EU.

But he had focused Labour’s campaign on a radical programme of economic change, including re-nationalising some key industries, which failed to woo traditional voters.

Speaking in the early hours of Friday, Corbyn defended his “manifesto of hope” and maintained his policies were “extremely popular” during the campaign.

But he said: “Brexit has so polarised and divided debate in this country, it has overridden so much of a normal political debate.”

Corbyn is personally unpopular and dogged by accusations of sympathising with proscribed terror groups and failing to tackle anti-Semitism within the Labour party.

This is Labour’s fourth successive electoral defeat — and the second under Corbyn.

Softer Brexit?

The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats also did poorly and announced they would replace Jo Swinson as leader after she lost her seat in western Scotland to the Scottish National Party (SNP).

The Lib Dems were predicted to win 11 seats, down one on the last election in 2017.

Analysts said Swinson’s campaign to reverse Brexit without even a new referendum was unpopular, while efforts to create a “Remain” alliance to stop Brexit failed.

By contrast the Scottish National Party (SNP), which wants to stop Brexit and deliver an independent Scotland, gained 13 seats to reach 48.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party failed to win any seats, but he claimed to have helped Johnson standing down his own candidates in Tory-held seats.

Johnson has promised to put his Brexit plan to parliament before the Christmas break, although it will not likely be ratified until January.

He has then just 11 months to agree a new partnership with the EU before a post-Brexit transition period ends in December 2020.

But with a comfortable majority in parliament, analysts note he could choose to extend that time and negotiate a closer trade deal than previously envisaged.

“Ironically, this is a freer hand for Johnson to negotiate a softer version of Brexit,” said Simon Hix of the London School of Economics.

AFP

Theresa May Seeks New Brexit Delay, Offers To Work With Labour’s Corbyn

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May gives a statement inside 10 Downing Street in London on April 2, 2019, after chairing a day-long meeting of the cabinet.
Jack Taylor / POOL / AFP

 

Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday she would ask the EU to delay Brexit again to avoid Britain crashing out of the bloc next week, signalling she could accept a closer relationship with Europe to break months of political deadlock.

After more than seven hours of talks with her ministers, May said she would request a delay that was “as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal” through the British parliament.

In a move which enraged the Brexit-supporting wing of her Conservative Party, she also offered to work with the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who favours closer ties with the European Union.

“This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands. And it requires national unity to deliver the national interest,” May said in a televised address.

Corbyn responded saying he was “very happy” to meet.

READ ALSO: Theresa May To Make Statement After Brexit Cabinet Talks

Brussels has set Britain an April 12 deadline to pass the divorce deal it agreed with May four months ago, settle on an alternative, or leave the EU without an agreement.

In reality, the deadline is even closer as the EU has called an emergency leaders’ summit for April 10.

EU president Donald Tusk responded cautiously to May’s statement, saying: “Even if, after today, we don’t know what the end result will be, let us be patient.”

Break The Logjam

Britain voted by 52 to 48 per cent to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. However, the exit process has only exacerbated divisions among the public and politicians, including May’s cabinet.

Her statement follows weeks of turmoil.

MPs have rejected May’s divorce deal three times, but after seizing control of the process, were unable to come up with their own plan.

May said she was “taking action to break the logjam”.

She noted calls in her own party for Britain simply to end its 46-year-old membership of the bloc without any agreement with the EU, but she said that “leaving with a deal is the best solution”.

May said she believed her existing deal was still necessary for an orderly Brexit, but offered to talk to Labour about a new plan for future trade ties.

Corbyn has called for a new customs union with the EU and close alignment to the bloc’s single market, two things that until now, May has strongly opposed.

“I recognise my responsibility,” Corbyn said, stressing that the most important issue was “to make sure we don’t crash out of the EU next week with no deal”.

Corbyn said any new proposals could be voted on by parliament “early next week”.

If May and Corbyn could agree on a plan that MPs supported, the prime minister said she hoped to take it to the April 10 Brussels summit.

If not, she promised to allow MPs to direct what she does, expressing hope that Britain could still leave with a deal before May 22, so it did not have to take part in European Parliament elections.

The political chaos has already forced May to ask the EU to postpone the original Brexit date of March 29, but European leaders have warned they will not delay Brexit indefinitely.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that while he was “open” to a lengthy delay on certain conditions, it was “neither certainty nor automatic”.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned that the other 27 EU nations were prepared for a “no deal” situation, and “it becomes day after day more likely”.

Future Relationship

The EU has repeatedly refused to renegotiate the Brexit divorce deal it agreed with May last November after almost two years of negotiations but has said it could revise the accompanying political declaration on future relations.

“What we need to focus on is our future relationship with the EU,” May said of her talks with Corbyn.

Key Conservative Brexit-backers slammed May’s move.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said it was “very disappointing” that Corbyn was being given a key role in the Brexit process.

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP suggested the Labour leader could undermine the referendum.

“Getting the support of a known Marxist is not likely to instil confidence in Conservatives,” he said.

AFP

 

Shehu Explains Why Presidency Refers To Jonathan Administration’s Mistakes

garba Shehu, London Telegraph, Boko Haram,The presidency in Nigeria has again said it will continue to hold a memory of Goodluck Jonathan administration’s mistakes to guard against repeating them. 

It said the mistakes led to a glide of the nation’s economy into recession.

The presidency also enumerated efforts the current administration is making to reflate the nation’s economy that is in recession.

A spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Friday, said that while the government was doing its best to revive the economy, a fiery memory of the past must be kept to ensure that the mistakes of the past were not repeated.

Episodes From Jonathan’s Era

Mr Shehu said: “The future must of necessity be built on the foundations of the past.

“The Conservative Party took power in Britain six years ago from Labour. Check the British press, they are talking about Labour 24/7, is anyone complaining?

“People are still talking about who ran governments in 1865 (and) you want us to forget those who left government last year?”

“To avoid repeating the past mistakes, Nigerians must come to terms with what went wrong with the past, how bad were things, what was done wrongly, what the past government should have done, before we come to what needs to be done to right those wrongs.

“Believe me, episodes from the Jonathan era can fill books, and other possibilities such as courtroom drama thriller”.

One of the mistakes of the past which the presidency said must be avoided was what it called failure to save when crude oil price was high.

Mr Shehu pointed out that Nigeria “solely relied on oil, the price of which was as high as $140 per barrel. Government simply reticulated oil revenue through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries.

“This was done rather than investing in what would grow the economy”.

According to him, the development broke the nation’s economy, reminding Nigerians that “just as they do the broken leg, you must bear the pain of fixing it.

“The current situation was caused by years of mismanagement and corruption”.

On what the current administration is doing to address the economic recession, the spokesman for President Buhari said the government was making efforts to recover stolen funds, reduce cost of governance and increase spending on capital projects.

“Today, the current civilian administration is investigating military finance and accounts which the military could not do to themselves.

“The current administration is sanitising the huge salary bill by eliminating payroll fraud. So far, the federal payroll has been rid of about 40,000 ghost workers. More than eight billion Naira stolen monthly has been saved.

“We are also saving on wasteful expenses like First Class Travel and Private jets for official trips.

“The Federal Government is not limiting the reforms to the centre but forcing State Governments to reform their spending and build savings or investments.

“Government is also increasing spending on capital projects especially on infrastructure needed to make Nigerian businesses competitive and create jobs.

“The administration is at the same time blocking leakages that allowed government revenues to be siphoned into private hands,” the presidency said.

Mr Shehu said that the government was also focusing on key sectors (apart from oil) that could create jobs and generate revenue such as Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Manufacturing.

Economic Policy Of Present Administration

Responding to critics’ comments on the economic policy of the present administration, which they said was unclear, Mr Shehu claimed that “more than any other time before, there is a clear direction and strategy for achieving growth and development.

“Revisionists may not agree, but the truth of the matter is that the previous administration only had one issue, which was how to spend money (oil revenues and borrowed money). As mentioned earlier this spending was focussed on the wrong things and even though the economy seemed to be growing it was not sustainable, it was, as described by Minister Adeosun, a classic “boom and bust” driven solely by the oil price.

“Unemployment was and remained high (never forget the NIS jobs that exploited thousands of desperate graduates in a scam that was used to fund house purchases in high brow areas and claimed so many lives).

“Inequalities were growing (our then President boasted about the highest number of private jets when most Nigerians could barely afford to eat). Terrorism and social unrest were growing. Real development was lacking. As soon as the oil price fell, these vulnerabilities were exposed.

“From its records so far, this administration is trying to reset the Nigerian economy and ensure that it attains its potential and is diverse and resilient. We are doing this at a time when the global economy is in crisis due to the oil price collapse. Even rich nations like Saudi Arabia are experiencing problems

“The Government is people-focussed and wants the economy to grow in a way that will create a more stable future which is not dictated by world oil prices (over which we have no control). No more boom and bust (thanks Minister Adeosun).

“Nigeria wants to take responsibility for its own destiny, therefore our policies will ensure that Nigeria returns to growth in a sustainable manner. No more dependence on oil. Every part of Nigeria has a role to play in contributing to our growth. We will create an environment where people can thrive and where business can grow,” he highlighted.

Re-orientation Of Agencies

Reeling out further strategies of the government to revive the economy, the presidency spokesman said all relevant agencies had been reoriented to focus government’s spending on infrastructure which will create jobs and opportunities for Nigerians across a number of sectors (not just oil), ensure that the nation reduces reliance on oil by developing other revenue streams such as taxes, efficient customs collections and other government revenues and develop key sectors in which we have comparative advantage.

Other strategies he said were to encourage development of agriculture to ensure food security for our huge population, develop petro-chemical industry on the back of the oil industry, develop solid mineral extraction and develop light manufacturing to provide locally made basic needs and reduce importation.
Emphasising the current government’s drive to tackle corruption, Mr Shehu stated that the current pain Nigerians are facing is due to the mismanagement of the past. What Nigeria is currently experiencing was inevitable.
How Past Deceit Caused High Food Price

Part of the pain that Nigerians are feeling is the high cost of food items , a development that the president’s spokesman in his statement said was also caused by past deceit.

“For example, the previous government purchased fertiliser in 2014, worth 65 billion Naira and left the bill unpaid.

“In 2015 the suppliers could not supply fertiliser which resulted in a low harvest, shortages and high food prices.

“This government had to pay off the debt so that the suppliers could begin to supply fertiliser again.

“Across Nigeria a green revolution is occurring as Nigerians are going back to the farms, from rice in Kebbi and Ebonyi to Soya and Sesame in Jigawa and Kano.

“At the same time Nigerians are looking inwards to identify commercial opportunities from agri-businesses,” the statement read.

He further urged Nigerians to endure the pains of the economic recession, saying that “any process that will endure, must involve some pain but things will begin to improve.

“There is always a time lag between policy and effect. That is why the bad effects of past policies are manifesting now, he said assuring Nigerians that the positive impact of the work being undertaken to fix Nigeria’s problems would soon begin to show.

“We will emerge from this period stronger, wiser and more prosperous.

“There is hope for Nigeria, a hope that was previously clouded by corruption, greed and lack of focus.

“Nigeria is starting over and everyone has a role to play. Look back, look ahead,” he added.

David Cameron To Resign On Wednesday

UK Prime Minister, David Cameron
UK Prime Minister, David Cameron

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, says he is resigning on Wednesday, making way for home Secretary, Theresa May, the only remaining candidate in the Conservative Leadership race, to become Prime Minister and Tory leader.

As a result, the planned vote of the party’s 150,000 members will not take place.

Before Mr Cameron can resign, he will see the Queen to tender his resignation, and advise her to call for the person she thinks is best placed to command the confidence of the House of Commons.

At a press conference, where he made the announcement, Mr Cameron said it is clear Theresa May has ‘the overwhelming support’ of Conservative Lawmakers, and that rival in the race, Andrea Leadsom, made the right decision to withdraw from the race, ending the Conservative Party’s leadership race.

Leadsom withdrew after a weekend uproar over comments she made suggesting that being a mother would be an advantage in the job.

It wasn’t clear whether the flap affected her decision to drop out. She said simply that she did not believe she had sufficient support within the party to remain in the race.

Tory Leadership: Theresa May Gains More Backing

Theresa MayTheresa May’s bid to become the next conservative leader has won the support of two more cabinet ministers and the Daily Mail.

Michael Fallon and Patrick Mcloughlin both say they back the home secretary.

Ms. May has also received pledges of support from many more lawmakers than the other four candidates, with at least three more cabinet members among her backers.

Rivals Micheal Gove, Stephen Crabb, Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox are also in the running to lead the Conservative Party and become UK Prime Minister.

Mr Gove was a surprise addition to the race, having been expected to back Boris Johnson, who shocked the political world by ruling himself out on Thursday.