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8 Jul, 2022 17:48

Bid to replace Boris Johnson announced

The former chancellor of the exchequer is campaigning to replace Boris Johnson as head of the Tory party
Bid to replace Boris Johnson announced

Former UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak is campaigning to replace Boris Johnson as head of the Conservative Party and PM, he announced on Friday, releasing a campaign video under the brand “Ready for Rishi.”

Acknowledging the UK faces “the most serious [challenges] in a generation,” Sunak insists in the video that he is the man for the job, declaring he ran “the toughest department in government during the toughest times when we faced the nightmare of Covid” – a crisis which pitched the UK economy into the worst recession since World War II. 

Do we confront this moment with honesty, seriousness, and determination, or do we tell ourselves comforting fairytales that might make us feel better in the moment but will leave our children worse off tomorrow?” he asks rhetorically, with the words “honesty,” “seriousness,” and “determination” timed to coincide with honest, serious, and determined-looking photographs of the would-be PM. 

HIs campaign narrative appears to play heavily on his immigrant background, with the three-minute clip describing how his grandmother arrived in the UK from India to work before paying to transport the rest of the family. However, it does not mention his own background – prior to becoming a Conservative MP in 2015 – as a hedge funder and Goldman Sachs banker, nor does it mention his wife is a billionaire.

The former financier’s Twitter, which also bears the tagline “Ready for Rishi,” vows to “restore trust, rebuild the economy and reunite the country.”

Sunak resigned from his post on Tuesday at the same time as Health Secretary Sajid Javid, making them the first two of what soon became a flood of dozens of departures from Johnson’s administration over the past several days. The two men issued a call for the PM to resign that was subsequently taken up by a considerable faction of the party.

While Johnson initially refused to step down, he finally declared his impending departure on Thursday, announcing he would stay until a successor is selected. While he has promised not to make any major changes in the meantime which could hamstring future PMs, many in the party – particularly those who resigned their positions over 10 Downing’s seemingly endless string of scandals – want him out immediately nonetheless, with one former party leader warning it was “unwise and may be unsustainable” for Johnson to finish out the season as a caretaker PM. 

A recent YouGov poll of Britons’ top choices to replace Johnson placed Sunak third, behind defense secretary Ben Wallace and trade minister Penny Mordaunt.