May 'a caretaker prime minister' after election shock

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Updated

June 11, 2017 19:14:03

This weekend in the United Kingdom, there are few certainties.

But after the events of recent weeks, not many genuinely expect Theresa May to get anywhere near another election campaign.

Her closest advisers have walked the plank, taking the blame for some of the errors that helped the Government turn a thumping lead in all opinion polls into a hung Parliament, but Ms May’s authority in Westminster is still in obvious freefall.

Stories about the leadership hopes of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson are in the weekend papers.

A Sunday Times article suggests five Cabinet ministers have urged him to topple Ms May.

This is not a particularly surprising development — Westminster insiders have been bracing for the return of Boris ever since Thursday night’s exit poll showed the Prime Minister was unlikely to win the thumping parliamentary majority she had hoped for.

But there are three key questions now reportedly being asked behind the scenes.

When should a change happen? How should it happen? And who should take the job?

Mr Johnson, dynamic as he is, won’t be the only one with leadership aspirations.

He’s always been a divisive figure and became more so given his prominent role in the campaign for Brexit; he’s hated in some circles.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Brexit Minister David Davis are just two other names being put about.

Any new prime minister would of course have to negotiate with Europe and deal with the now wafer-thin working majority in Westminster.

Adding an internal leadership campaign to the mix could be messy and time consuming — an unopposed coronation would be cleaner.

Although parliamentary terms last five years, there is also fear a change soon could lead to another early election, which could unintentionally propel Labour into Downing Street.

All those difficulties combined means that in the short term, MPs are expected to move cautiously and perhaps wait several months.

“I think in the short term she will probably survive as a caretaker prime minister,” said politics professor Matthew Goodwin from Chatham House.

“But I think it’s fair to say Prime Minister Theresa May has been mortally wounded by this election.”

In this political climate few could rule out more bizarre twists and turns that could save Ms May.

But were vitally important Brexit talks not beginning in just a few days, she’d almost certainly be gone already.

Topics:

government-and-politics,

elections,

federal-elections,

world-politics,

political-parties,

united-kingdom

First posted

June 11, 2017 18:47:37



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