Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London who helped lead the Brexit campaign, will not be running for prime minister of Britain.
An ally of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, recently announced he will be campaigning for the position, according to the New York Times. Prime Minister David Cameron is stepping down from his position because of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
“My role will be to give every possible support to the next Conservative administration, to make sure that we properly fulfill the mandate of the people that was delivered at the referendum, and to champion the agenda I believe in,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he still passionately supports Britain’s choice to exit the E.U., but he does not feel he can lead Britain out of it.
Michael Gove has been seen as the architect of the Brexit campaign, and he was expected to help Boris Johnson become prime minister by being his campaign manager, according to the Washington Post. The decision for Gove to run and Johnson to drop out is being viewed as a betrayal by many. Even though Johnson and Gove worked together during the Brexit campaign and have known each other for a long time, Gove released a statement before announcing his candidacy saying that he had come “to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.”
Many who had supported Boris Johnson abandoned him after Gove made this statement.
Gove will be in stiff competition with Theresa May, the domestic security chief from David Cameron’s party who’s seen as more conservative than he is.
“Whether you supported Leave or Remain in the referendum campaign – and whether you predicted the sky would fall in or whether you didn’t – the result means we face a period of uncertainty that needs to be addressed head on,” May said while announcing her candidacy. “The country needs strong leadership and a clear sense of direction, to give confidence to investors, to keep the economy moving, and to keep people in work.”
Boris Johnson was the favorite to win the race, but it appears he’s been pushed out by his own allies. Many believe he helped lead the Leave campaign solely for the purpose of getting David Cameron out of his prime minister position, according to the Daily Beast.
“I have never seen anything like it,” Lord Heseltine, the former Conservative deputy prime minister, said of Boris Johnson not running after Brexit. “He’s ripped the Tory party apart, he has created the greatest constitutional crisis in peacetime in my life. He’s knocked billions off his value of the savings of the British people. He’s like a general who marches his army to the sound of the guns and the moment he sees the battleground he abandons it.”
If Theresa May wins the election, she will be the second female British prime minister in history. She has often been compared to the first female British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Boris Johnson’s exit doesn’t just leave the candidacy to Gove and May, though. Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox and Andrea Leadsom are also running for prime minister. That said, it will be down to two candidates soon. The Conservative Party leaders will pick two candidates out of the existing five within the next two weeks, then they will vote for who should be the next prime minister.
The public doesn’t get a say in this situation. The final verdict for who will be the next leader of Britain will be delivered by September.
[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]