Sunak Still on Top in UK PM Race, Suella Braverman Out
By ASHISH RAY
LONDON – UK’s former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak remained on top in the race to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the second round of voting among Conservative Party MPs on July 14, but Indian-origin Attorney General Suella Braverman was knocked out.
Sunak, with 101 votes, maintained his lead over Trade Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who got 83 votes. In the first round on July 13, he got 88 votes, with Mordaunt in second place with 67 votes.
In the July 14 vote, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss remained third with 64 votes, Equalities and Levelling Up Secretary Kemi Badenoch got 49 votes, and backbench MP Tom Tugendhat got 32 votes.
In an era of social media and hashtags, three-word political messaging was the order of the day. Brevity not gravity is the mode of communication.
In Britain, Boris Johnson, now ousted as Prime Minister, achieved runaway success with a simple slogan of ‘GET BREXIT DONE’.
This helped him sweep the 2019 general elections. He judged the public frustration about the delay in implementing the 2016 referendum verdict of British voters to leave the European Union correctly. And he kept his promise simple.
The candidates vying to succeed him have replicated his concept. Most of them have a three-word campaign message.
Rishi Sunak, who won the highest number of votes signaled ‘readyforrishi’.
Penny Mordaunt, who came second, is all acronyms — ‘PM4PM’. Liz Truss, who came third, has ‘LIZ FOR LEADER’ as her pitch, while ‘Kemi for Prime Minister’ is Kemi Badenoch’s appeal. Tom Tugendhat has coined ‘TOM A CLEAN START’, while Suella Braverman said ‘Suella4Leader’.
Meanwhile, Johnson has thrown an extraordinary spanner in the works by tabling a confidence motion on his government. If he loses the vote, there could theoretically be a mid-term general election, thus jettisoning the current leadership contest for his replacement. If he wins, then, technically, it could raise the question as to whether his resignation last week is still valid.
The opposition Labor party had moved a motion in the House of Commons against Johnson to cut short his caretaker role. This was disallowed.