Candidates jostle to replace UK PM Johnson in packed race

LONDON: The contest to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gathered pace on Sunday (Jul 10) as five more candidates declared their intention to run, with many pledging lower taxes and a clean start from Johnson’s scandal-ridden premiership.

Johnson on Thursday said he would resign as prime minister, after lawmakers and Cabinet colleagues rebelled over his handling of a series of scandals, including breaches of lockdown rules in gatherings at his Downing Street office.

He said he would stay on until a new leader was elected.

A member of a Conservative party committee which sets the rules for leadership elections said on Sunday the final result would be announced in September.

Junior trade minister Penny Mordaunt officially declared she was running on Sunday, joining transport Secretary Grant Shapps, finance minister Nadhim Zahawi and former ministers Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid, who announced their candidacies for the leadership in time for the Sunday newspapers, taking the total to nine.

“This is a critical inflection point for our country. I believe that a socialist or socialist-led coalition government at the next election would be a disaster for the UK,” Mordaunt said in a statement. “We must win the next election.”

The Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee of legislators, which sets rules for the party in parliament, will set out the exact timetable after a meeting on Monday.

Bob Blackman, an officer on the 1922 Committee’s executive, said that nominations would close on Tuesday evening, followed by a process to whittle candidates down to a final two by Jul 21.

Party members would elect a new party leader over the summer, who would then become prime minister.

“We’ll (select the final two) by the 21st of July, to allow the party membership sufficient time to have husting sessions and a postal ballot to then lead to a new leader being in place by the fifth of September,” he told Sky News.