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What Awaits Boris Johnson's Successor in the UK?

The still Prime Minister tendered his resignation on July 7, leaving a tough agenda for his successor in the UK government

Boris Johnson

Photo: UK Government

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio

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Leer en español: ¿Qué le espera al sucesor de Boris Johnson en el Reino Unido?

The United Kingdom is at a crossroads, it seems that time has turned back some seven years in which the issue of Scotland and Brexit monopolized the spotlight. The person responsible for this has been the one who promised to end the problems: Boris Johnson, who in the face of poor results and the scandal has tendered his resignation as Prime Minister. The challenge now will be for the new tenant of 10 Downing Street who will take office on September 5. The countdown has already started.

Boris Johnson's departure

Johnson came to the government in a critical atmosphere. David Cameron managed to stop the issue of Scottish independence but, in an attempt to gain popularity and sympathy towards the most conservative in the United Kingdom, he promised the Brexit referendum. Despite his campaign to remain in the European Union, Brexit won, thus resigning Cameron from office. With this came Theresa May, also a Conservative, with the aim of achieving an orderly and effective Brexit, but she did not succeed. Boris Johnson, a Conservative and member of May's Cabinet, took office with historical support for his party. Johnson had it all: popular support, that of his party, and his charisma. He coincided in time with Donald Trump, with whom he was frequently compared. Everything was going well for the British prime minister, he managed to formalize Brexit, and then everything fell apart. The Conservative Party imploded and everything turned into chaos.

Added to this were scandals in his government's handling of fiscal matters, resignations of senior members of his cabinet, complaints of harassment among his government officials, and accusations of "dishonesty" from his party colleagues. As if that were not enough, relations with the European Union are not the best, the handling of the pandemic and the economic crisis makes the British tense and, to top it off, there is the war between Russia and Ukraine in which the role of the European powers, including the British, has not been able to find a solution to the problem that has generated an inflationary effect. The economic and energy crisis is already felt in the pockets of citizens.

The Line of Succession to the "Throne"

The Conservative Party faces the challenge of electing a new leader, certainly, since David Cameron they have had three consecutive governments in power. However, all three have been unstable and have ended in crisis. This has not been enough for the Labor Party to return to power, the Conservatives will have the fourth consecutive government but with increasing problems. Naturally, the names that most "sound" to succeed Johnson are among the former members of his government, at least nine candidates have expressed their intention. Three figures stand out, the first is the former Minister of Finance, Rishi Sunak, who was one of those who submitted his resignation in recent days due to differences in fiscal policy, Sunak does not promise to reduce taxes, but he does promise a tight control of the debt in an inflationary moment that worries the world.

The second is former Health Minister Sajid Javid, who resigned almost at the same time as Sunak. Almost in line with Johnson, Javid looks to tax cuts as the solution to the UK's economic problems. It seems that the tax issue will be decisive in choosing Johnson's successor.

The third firm name is that of a woman: Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary, who also advocates a tax cut. To these names have been added those of Rehman Chishti, the prosecutor Suella Braverman, Tom Tugendhat, president of the foreign commission of the House of Commons, and the list continues to grow, which is seen as an intense battle to occupy the position.

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Scotland and Brexit, in Force Almost a Decade Later

Among all the problems that afflicted the Johnson government is that of Scotland, whose independence movement has generated tensions in the last decade. A Scottish independence referendum was held in the government of former Prime Minister David Cameron. By a narrow margin, won permanence in the United Kingdom because of the promise to remain within the European Union, which would be difficult to achieve after independence. But the promise was short-lived for the Scots, in 2016 they voted in favor of Brexit in the United Kingdom, also leaving them outside the European Union, which the Scots considered a hoax. This has been taken advantage of by the pro-independence parties in Scotland which, through Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, has long been promoting a new referendum for independence. The new prime minister will have to curb Scottish aspirations, either by legally blocking the referendum or, if the vote goes through, promising and accommodating Scotland's main demands. Thus, the explosion that Brexit represented has not yet finished settling the rubble.