After a tumultuous journey of 45 days, Liz Truss finally put in her papers to become the shortest-serving prime minister of the UK. Resultantly, the Conservative Party will be holding second leadership polls this year and the winner will also be the next prime minister of the UK. In all likely hood, the new leader will be picked by October 28 but the question that begs an answer is who will occupy the hot seat of the country. There are a few candidates in the fray, so let us examine them closely.
The former chancellor in the Boris Johnson cabinet looked all set to be the next PM in the previous contest but eventually lost the plot to Liz Truss. His predictions regarding Truss’s fiscal plans have finally come true now and he seems to be the hot favourite to be the next leader of the party and the PM of the country. However, his role in the ouster of Johnson has not gone down well with some members of the party and even his fiscal response to Covid-19 in the UK has also been severely criticized. On top of that, his wife Akshara Murthy’s non-domicile tax status also attracted a lot of unwanted attention some months back. Yet, he is an able administrator and it remains to be seen if he can pull through the obstacles stacked against him.
Can he make a comeback to the UK’s top post as Truss’s replacement? Well, he has already made his intentions clear to occupy the PM’s seat one more time and rectify the mistakes he committed during his previous term. But will he be given another chance after his lockdown-flouting party and other misdemeanours during his previous stint? To give credit where it is due, he has the ability to succeed at polls and was found to be the most popular candidate in a survey conducted by the Conservative party on October 17-18th. Hence, despite some Tory MPs detesting him, he could still find his way back to the post he was forced to leave in July this year. So, it would be imprudent to rule out his candidature at the moment.
In the earlier game of thrones in the UK, this Brexit exponent from Portsmouth turned out to be the apple of the eye of a lot of Conservative Party members. She was even touted to be the future ruler of the country while working as Theresa May’s defence secretary in 2019—the first woman to take up the role but for a mere 85 days. However, even she is not without flaws as she attracted a lot of flak for her views on transgender issues and immaturity over tax plans. So, after the economic fiasco that resulted in the exit of Truss, can UK take another risk in the form of Mordaunt?
As the defence secretary since 2019, he has supervised the exit of British troops from Afghanistan, the military retaliation to Russia’s aggression on Ukraine and the training of Ukrainian troops with British forces. Prior to joining the cabinet, Wallace used to be a captain in the Scots Guards and served in Northern Ireland. In fact, he was a favourite among party members in the initial period of the erstwhile leadership battle but he refused to contest and backed Truss at the expense of Sunak. In the end, his discipline might be the key ingredient a country like the UK requires to overcome its various economic challenges.