Following the United Kingdom’s decision that it will leave the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement that he is resigning, effective later this year. However, the big question now is around who will be the next Prime Minister of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
According to the Financial Times, David Cameron’s resignation will trigger a leadership election within the Conservative party, the governing party in the United Kingdom. However, following the referendum campaign, the party is distinctly split, and that’s likely to have sway over the party’s next leader.
Whilst announcing his resignation, David Cameron set out something of a timetable for the country’s new leader to be put in place. The Conservative party is set to hold its annual conference in October this year, with Cameron expressing that the party is looking to have a new leader in place by that time. However, the process is expected to be a long and difficult one, with a number of potential candidates who are set to seek election as the next leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
It will be the responsibility of Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, to oversee the process of choosing the country’s next prime minister. Candidates will need to apply to Brady if they wish to be included in the leadership election. After garnering the support of enough parliamentary representatives, each candidate in the race will then need to put their case to the members of the Conservative party, who will essentially choose the country’s next prime minister.
That being said, the Conservative party is different from other political forces in the United Kingdom. Whilst the Labour party is able to put forward an essentially unlimited number of candidates before its membership, Conservative MPs will need to whittle the candidates down to two options for the party’s electorate to choose between.
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According to the Telegraph, most of the candidates for the next leader of the Conservatives will come from the Brexit-supporting side of the party. With that in mind, the current stand-out frontrunner is former London mayor Boris Johnson. Johnson is consistently seen as a favourable figure within the Conservative party, especially since he took the decision to support the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, placing him in a solid position to become the next prime minister.
Johnson isn’t the only candidate with a chance of securing the party leadership, however. Over the course of the campaign, his key ally, Michael Gove has found himself rising in terms of popularity within the party, which could put him in a good standing to take the leadership for himself. However, the much more likely outcome is that Michael Gove would serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer within Boris Johnson’s Brexit government.
The race won’t be purely dominated by leave campaigners. A number of remain campaigners, including current Chancellor George Osborne and Theresa May are also thought to be considering a bid for the leadership. However, given their leaning in this referendum, the party accepting Osborne or May as their leader isn’t likely.
The political scene in the United Kingdom is set for a good deal of change over the course of the coming months. Not only will the country begin its process of withdrawal from the European Union, but its largest party will also search for a new leader and prime minister. As it stands though, David Cameron will remain as the United Kingdom’s leader until a replacement is found later this year and the country begins its exit from the European Union.
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