The final capitulation of prime minister Theresa May has triggered a leadership race to anoint Britain's next prime minister. After what can only be described as an awful three years in power, Theresa May has finally taken her last blow. With the fallout from the dismal European election results, the prime minister was left without any other option but to finally surrender. Many predicted a bloodbath, and predictably the results drove home the fact the Conservatives had done an arguably awful job on negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union.
The movement of many traditional Conservative voters to Nigel Farage’s newly created Brexit party did not help Mrs May’s cause. The former Conservative Party member only started his movement less than two months ago and managed to secure over 30% of the vote. Many commentators will note that the turnout was incredibly low - even for a European election - but even so, a large number turned out to support Mr Farage and his campaign to pull Britain out of the European Union by any means necessary. He struck a popular chord that the Conservative Party had failed to hit.
So, who is next in line for the hottest seat in British politics? Well, there are plenty of runners and riders. Almost any leading name within the Conservative Party, included several backbenchers, have already been linked to the post. Though there are many who have thrown their hats into the ring, because of the way the Conservative party leadership is voted for, there are very few who actually have a significant chance of getting the top job. For many, the leadership election gives a chance to place themselves in a position of favour with any new leader, and the political posturing over the next few weeks will be unstoppable. So, who really is going to get the job? Currently, former London mayor and foreign secretary Boris Johnson is the huge favourite. Incredibly popular with leave voters, as well as with the Tory grassroots, the incumbent MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip, Johnson is going to be incredibly difficult to beat - but this is not to say he will definitely stay in the race. Before Theresa May jumped into arguably the toughest job in Britain, Johnson was also the strong favourite for the job, but in a move that shocked the British political classes, he withdrew his bid.
If there is one predictable characteristic about Mr Johnson, it's his unpredictability. Many will be very concerned about putting such an unpredictable character at the heart of the government but there are many in the Conservative party who are understandably concerned that the European election results showed that the public had turned against the Conservative Party. It is fairly uncertain whether such a result would be replicated at a general election, but there are many Conservatives who would rather not take the chance. As a result, the likelihood of them picking a popular character such as Mr Johnson is raised, but for many people Johnson is far too controversial a figure to be considered for leader of the Conservative party, let alone the prime minister.
So, if it is not going to be Boris Johnson, then who else? There are several frontrunners for the top job in British politics, including the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, and current Home secretary Sajid Javid. These two are certainly some of the leading lights of their party, but with many of these not being fancied, the race is still wide open.
While there are plenty of names being thrown into the hat, there are also some notable absences. Former home secretary Amber Rudd is well thought of by the party, but somewhat surprisingly opted not to run for the leadership. Instead, she has opted to throw her weight behind the next incoming prime minister. This means that although she will not have the top job, she could be a power player and could serve as a powerful running mate for someone more controversial such as Boris Johnson. Johnson is very much seen as unpredictable, but the addition of Rudd could be seen as a very good option to ensure stability.
With Conservative members about to vote for the next prime minister, it appears that a relatively small number (around 124,000 based on 2018 estimates) of Conservative members will be able to decide the future of the UK. That may seem stark, but essentially the next prime minister will decide how we proceed with regards to Brexit. With the EU insisting that there are no further negotiation possibilities, the next leader will need to determine what is increasingly looking like one of two distinct paths: no deal or no Brexit.
It seems incredible that so many people are vying for what appears to be an awful job. Either way, half of the country will be upset! Conservative members have a big decision to make – if they get it wrong, they face many years in the wilderness. If, as expected, Boris Johnson does end up as Britain's next prime minister, it seems likely Britain will choose to leave the European Union in what could potentially be the most damaging way possible - a no-deal Brexit.
If the last three years have provided little certainty for migrants, then the next six months may be even worse. The infighting of the Conservative party is likely to peak in the next few months as party leadership hopefuls fight for supremacy, and it is likely EU citizens rights will come to the fore more than once. The only thing we can hope for is that sanity prevails and that the rights of Britain's three million EU migrants is protected.
Whatever happens, our team will be here to help those who may be affected by the fallout. So if you want up to the minute immigration advice, call today and our team can help you to make the best if your situation by giving you the help and advice that you need.
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