Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservatives, will announce the name of the next UK PM on September 5
he United Kingdom is set to get its next prime minister on Monday, September 5. Former chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are the two final contenders for the slot. Boris Johnson was forced to step down over his mishandling of sexual assault allegations against former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservatives, will announce the name of the next PM of the United Kingdom.
The outgoing prime minister remains at 10 Downing Street in a caretaker role until his successor is picked. The race for the next PM that started with 12 Tory MPs is finally down to two. Either Sunak or Truss will be the 58th PM of the UK. This means that whoever becomes the next PM of the UK could run the country for three more years without being elected by the British public.
Liz Truss has built an unassailable lead in the Tory party leadership race. Her maverick ‘boosterism’ is having a better effect on the party members than Sunak’s ‘wonkery’.
A Panelbase survey of 1,133 adults in Scotland showed that 49 percent support independence and 51 percent the union. However, support for staying in the UK falls slightly to 48 percent if Truss becomes prime minister in two weeks.
The foreign secretary’s aggressive stance against the Scottish National Party is unpopular north of the border. Most Scots understand that a Tory government in London will not have much in common with an SNP-run Holyrood. But they reasonably expect their democratic decisions to be respected. Boris Johnson was unpopular in Scotland, but he had learnt that Britain did not gain by squabbling with the SNP. The best way of preserving the union is to emphasise its benefits. Unfortunately, Ms Truss has gone out of her way to pick a fight with the SNP.
Addressing the Pakistani friends of Conservatives earlier this week Truss said that efforts would be made to negotiate a trade deal at the Commonwealth level. “Such a deal will be an immediate cause to increase trade with Pakistan,” said Liz Truss. She said the UK was facing an energy crisis, tax reduction, high cost of living and high fuel prices. “These are the major issues for the coming prime minister that need to be addressed. I have a plan to create jobs to get the unemployed back to work,” said Ms Truss. Responding to a question, Truss said that Kashmir was a long running dispute between India and Pakistan. “It should be resolved between the two countries. Britain can help to resolve it if both sides agreed to it,“ said Liz Truss.
“The UK is facing an energy crisis, tax reduction and rising cost of living and fuel prices. These are the major issues for the coming prime minister... I have a plan to create jobs to get the unemployed back to work,” said Ms Truss.
Lord Zameer Chaudhary and Foreign Office Minister Lord Tariq Ahmed introduced the speaker at the session. The Pakistani Tory members also met in Wycombe at the residence of district chairman Mehboob Hussain Bhatti. Addressing the meeting, the Tory MP from Wycombe Steve Bakers said that Liz Truss was the best candidate for the next prime minister of the UK. He expressed the hope to cater for the issue of the cost of living, the energy crisis and the resolution of the Kashmir problem.
Meanwhile, the Conservative’s race for new leadership is underway. All told, 12 meetings are to be organised by the party across the UK where party members will question both candidates. Out of the 12, 11 have already taken place in various cities. The last and final husting will be held in London where both candidates will face the audience’s questions.
During the last meeting held in Birmingham, Lis Truss had defended herself against accusations that her proposal of a tax cut would fuel inflation. She had also responded to a question about bringing back grammar schools. “Yes, I will allow new grammar schools as I am a big fan of the children across the country having the opportunity to attend grammar schools.”
Truss has vowed to reduce taxes, raise defence spending by 3 percent of GDP over the next 10 years, and increase police forces to tackle gun and knife crimes. Addressing the meeting in Birmingham on Tuesday night, she refused to commit to the appointment of an “ethics advisor”. The previous ethics adviser Christopher Geidt had resigned after conceding the prime minister may have broken ministerial code of conduct over the party-gate scandal.
Her opponent Rishi Sunak warned that millions of households in the UK could face “destitution” “without further aid this winter, and Ms Truss’s tax-cutting agenda could stoke inflation.”
“She has made a U-turn on cutting VAT. It’s not perfect,” Sunak said. He added that he will deal with the “practical reality of the situation in a way that will make a difference to people in a few weeks”. Responding to questions, Sunak said an increase in stop-and-search would be introduced.
On the NHS, Sunak said, “patients will pay penalties if they miss medical appointments”. Fines will encourage people to cancel appointments in advance and free up time for those in need.
Sunak said he believed that China represented the biggest threat to UK’s economic and national security, but the UK s policy on Taiwan will remain intact. Sunak said he will carry on with the current government’s policy on Northern Ireland.
The next PM must face the issues of strikes by eight different workers’ unions, including rail, health, aviation, transport, harbour, ports and newspapers.
Climate change will be another issue to address for the next PM as the UK government pledges to reach net zero by 2050, making the UK one of the first countries to commit to a climate change emergency. The UK is currently on track to cut 40 percent of the emission required to reach zero.
The writer is a correspondent for Geo News, daily Jang and The News in London