Johnson cleans up Downing Street, leaving a huge crisis as a legacy

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has the party’s majority support to succeed her and is preparing a government program aimed at cutting taxes

Liz Truss has won the battle. Everything points to her appointment as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on September 5. The verdict in favor of the 47-year-old foreign minister, who is married with two daughters, is almost unanimous. Only his opponent in the conservative primary, former Treasury incumbent Rishi Sunak, is believed to have sufficient influence among the party’s estimated 160,000 voting members. Former Indian banker, married and father of two daughters, feels capable of causing a surprise and is chosen to replace Boris Johnson at number 10 Downing Street. This Saturday he received strong support from Brexit mastermind and ruthless ministerial reformer Michael Gove.

The gap between the two finalists narrowed by eight points this week, but Truss leads Sunak by 32 points in the latest YouGov poll of Tory affiliates. 57% of those polled indicated that they had already voted. Conservative Home, a digital platform for the party’s supporters, draws a similar conclusion from its most recent consultation. The “continuity” candidate, who is backed by the radical Eurosceptic factions and prominent deputies, is still in the lead with 60% support. Sunak is behind with 28% and 9% declares themselves undecided.

John Curtice, a professor of politics and opinion polling expert, believes only a “spectacular failure” of Truss at the last stage would turn the race. Now go to Sunak with 5% chance of winning. Interestingly, according to YouGov, the dethroned prime minister would have been easily re-elected if he had a chance to compete with his two cabinet colleagues. In that scenario, 46% of members would vote for Johnson, 24% for Truss and 23% for Sunak.

Moving trucks were spotted in Downing Street days ago, coinciding with Johnson’s family vacation in Greece. The acting head of government may have vacated the residence and official office, but his militancy influence and his hook among voters of other parties will weigh on his successor. The Labor Party, with Keir Starmer at the helm, adds 43% of its support to voting intent, compared to 28% for the Conservatives, according to another online poll by the same company published in ‘The Times’.

Truss has campaigned as the natural successor and loyal minister who would vote against the parliamentary committee investigating whether Johnson lied to the House of Commons about the pandemic parties, which hastened his political demise. The tax cut centers its economic program in a context of inflation and energy insecurity, leading Gove to exclaim this morning that “many have taken a vacation from reality”.

Truss stopped in Belfast, during the national tour of debates with Conservative affiliates, and vowed to process the controversial and likely illegal Northern Ireland protocol law “as soon as possible”. The proposal gives British ministers carte blanche to scrap parts of the European Union’s withdrawal agreement that union leaders and the grassroots decry. The favored candidate assured the small public in Northern Ireland that it would not capitulate to the “fundamental issues” of protecting British sovereignty and identity in the territory, even as a unilateral action by London threatens legal disputes with Brussels and obstacles for a trade deal with the United States.

Of greater urgency for the new Downing Street family is the explosive combination of exorbitant energy costs and inflation of 10.1%, which has not yet peaked. Rising interest rates and the start of a long recession projected by the Bank of England for the end of the year are in the context of the crisis that Johnson is leaving behind. Truss is relentlessly committed to lowering the tax burden on employees and businesses as an engine for investment and economic growth. He had to retract his statement in the ‘Financial Times’ that he does not like state aid and now he does not rule out helping the vulnerable and economically disadvantaged population.

The alternative, as 100 managers and doctors of the state health network (NHS) warn in a letter, is the “risk of a public health emergency.” From October, an increase of more than 50% in electricity and gas bills is expected and NGOs warn that millions of families will fall into energy poverty. Without government help, they will have to choose between heating their food or their bedroom, with unavoidable consequences for the mental and physical health of children and adults, experts say. “The country is facing a humanitarian crisis,” said Matthew Taylor, director of the NHS Confederation and coordinator of the letter to the Conservative government.

Source: La Verdad

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