Monday proved yet another defeat for the UK as Iceland beat England 2-1 in the ironically named Euro 2016. Tweets and Facebook posts mocking the UK’s downwards spiral came pouring in as the country turned into a laughing stock.
To add to an already saddening turn of events, a senior Leave MP has stated: “There is no plan. […] Number ten should have had a plan”.
The UK’s political future seemed even more uncertain as Corbyn’s shadow cabinet ministers did not stop dropping in numbers. Indeed, Sky News revealed footage of Corbyn’s new shadow cabinet Tuesday morning with more than half of Labour’s frontbench posts left unfilled due to resignations.
Tuesday afternoon, Corbyn lost the “no confidence” vote among Labour MPs by 176 to 40, further deepening the divide in the Labour party. One of the big questions remaining at this time of unpredictability is who is going to replace David Cameron? And more importantly who will be the one reshaping the UK after the Brexit outcome of the referendum?
Huge responsibility resting on shoulders of next PM
Cameron has purposely left a ticking time bomb in the hands of the next PM, not wanting to deal with the consequences of activating Article 50 himself and leaving a potential window of opportunity for the reversal of Brexit.
His announcement on Friday that he will resign by October left many Conservative MPs demanding for “things to hurry along”. In response to aggravating concerns on the stability of the UK’s future, the 1922 Committee has decided to set a tighter schedule for the selection of a new leader, expecting a new PM to be in office by 2 September. The nominations for the Conservative leadership will start Wednesday morning and will close at noon on Thursday.
In his recent speech to Parliament, Cameron stated that “a lot of work can still be done before the new PM arrives, especially when it comes to the subject of the common border area”. However, he has also admitted that the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be determined by the next PM.
Cameron met Tuesday with the European Council at the Summit in Brussels to clarify the UK’s position and relationship with the EU. He explained that he wants to discuss, but not negotiate, Brexit and be “as constructive as possible” in the hope of seeking a close relationship with the EU. He was told in no uncertain terms by Jean Claude Juncker that there would be “no notification, no negotiation”
How will the election process unfold?
Now that the process for finding a new Conservative leader has been given a push, which shape will the electoral process take?
First of all, the 1922 Conservative Committee will oversee this process whilst electoral procedures will be approved by the Board of the Conservative Party. Candidates will need to be put forward and supported by a party member.
As nominations come to a close this Thursday, a list of valid nominations will be published. In the unlikely case of a single valid nomination, that person will be elected. If two candidates are nominated, both names will go forward to the general membership of the party. In the more likely case of more than two nominations received, an exhaustive ballot system is used to select two candidates to go forward to the general membership of the Party.
The first ballot will be held on Tuesday 5 July and a second ballot, if required, will be held on Thursday 7 July. All subsequent ballots will be held on alternate Tuesdays and Thursdays.
What is the line up looking like?
So far, the only one to have declared his nomination is Stephen Crabb (REMAIN), the Secretary for Work and Pensions, who has announced he will be running for leadership with Sajid Javid (REMAIN) as his would-be Chancellor. Other likely potential candidates include Boris Johnson (LEAVE), Theresa May (REMAIN) and Jeremy Hunt (REMAIN).
Johnson stands out as a favourite, having been one of the leading figures in the Leave campaign and being one of the most familiar faces in British politics. However, his lack of a realistic Brexit plan and his temperamental character may affect the Conservative party’s belief in whether he can be the next leader under these trying circumstances.
Johnson has already claimed publicly that his plan for Britain includes remaining a member of the EU’s single market while introducing a points-based immigration system to limit the right of EU citizens to work in Britain. His plan, however, has come under the firing lines of several EU heads of state, with Merkel making it known that she will not allow “cherry-picking” nor let the UK stay in the free market without free movement.
The Sunday Telegraph has reported that Johnson will announce his candidacy in the coming days, having already been backed up by his brother, Jo Johnson.
Theresa May seems to be the second favourite, having not been as vocal about her position to remain in the EU. Polls are showing that Johnson and May are expected to go head to head for the leadership spot. A Times/YouGov poll has May as the favourite, ahead even of Johnson, by 31% to 24% among Tory voters. A ConservativeHome survey resulted in similar findings.
On the other hand, Stephen Crabb is said to be extremely popular within the Conservative party, having openly talked about his working-class background and his family’s dependence on benefits. Nonetheless, doubt remains over if the 43 year old has sufficient experience to be the next PM.
Jeremy Hunt has also expressed his interest in the position, stating that the UK should lean towards a model based on Norway. He has suggested that the next Prime Minister should be allowed to “negotiate a deal” with Brussels and “put it to the British people” by either calling a general election or having another referendum.
Other contestants still potentially in the running for the position include Liam Fox (LEAVE), Nicky Morgan (REMAIN), Justine Greening (REMAIN) and Priti Patel (LEAVE). George Osborne, on the other hand, has confirmed today that he will not be running for party leadership and is not endorsing anyone “at the moment”.
Lastly, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has used this opportunity to promise the UK he will fight to stop Brexit and he believes a general election “could be very soon”.