Britain to learn who succeeds Boris Johnson as Prime Minister today

Whoever emerges victorious will inherit an economy heading into a potentially lengthy recession and will need to jump straight into tackling the cost-of-living crisis walloping the UK

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, September 05, 2022, 12:16 PM IST
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Liz Truss, right, and Rishi Sunak on stage after a Conservative leadership election hustings at Wembley Arena in London, Wednesday, August 31 | AP

Britain finally learns who its next prime minister will be on Monday after two months of political uncertainty during which energy prices skyrocketed and tens of thousands of workers went on strike.

The governing Conservative Party plans to announce whether Foreign Secretary Liz Truss or former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak won the most votes from party members to succeed Boris Johnson as party leader and thus prime minister.

Whoever emerges victorious will inherit an economy heading into a potentially lengthy recession and will need to jump straight into tackling the cost-of-living crisis walloping the UK.

A divisive race

After weeks of an often bad-tempered and divisive party leadership contest that pitted Truss against Rishi Sunak, a former finance minister, Monday's announcement at 1130 GMT will trigger the beginning of a handover from Boris Johnson. He was forced to announce his resignation in July after months of scandal.

On Tuesday, the winner will travel to Scotland to meet Queen Elizabeth, who will ask the new leader to form a government.

The formal handover will take place on Tuesday. The Queen is recovering from the outgoing prime minister’s tenure in her Scottish pile Balmoral and will appoint the new PM there, which will be a challenge as it requires the winner to leave Westminster.

Who is the frontrunner?

The new leader and prime minister of the UK is widely expected to be Liz Truss.

Truss, tipped by pollsters to win the contest, has promised to announce further help to shield consumers within a week of taking over.

She then plans to deliver £30bn in tax cuts through an emergency Budget later this month, arguing the UK's tax burden is behind sluggish growth.

Her rival, former chancellor Sunak, has signalled he believes he has lost, saying his job "now is just to support a Conservative government".

Economy at the forefront of concerns

Thanks to global gas price volatility triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the average UK household energy bill is jumping to more than 3,500 pounds ($4,000) a year — almost triple the level a year ago.

Inflation is above 10% for the first time since the 1980s. The government is facing increasingly urgent calls to deliver financial support to help millions pay for essential heating and electricity to get through the winter.

The opposition Labour Party and other critics accuse the government of being “missing in action” during a summer of discontent that saw tens of thousands of rail staff, port and postal workers, lawyers and garbage collectors go on strike to demand better pay to keep up with spiralling costs.

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