In the eyes of the political world, the succession of Boris Johnson at the head of the Conservative Party and the United Kingdom would already be played. Liz Truss, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is leading the polls against Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer. Over the past week, four of the candidates for the succession of the Prime Minister have rallied to the head of diplomacy. The latest, former health minister Sajid Javid, who had triggered the overthrow of Boris Johnson by resigning together with Rishi Sunak. He judges that “Liz Truss is the best placed” in “renewing our government with a bold program”.
The most radical candidate
Since the start of the campaign, Liz Truss has presented herself as the most radical. She announces from the outset that she will reduce taxes “within seven days” following her coming to power, that she will put an end to the “green contributions” included in each electricity bill, which notably make it possible to finance renewable energy projects and the insulation of housing. Not only has it endorsed the current policy of outsourcing to Rwanda asylum seekers who have arrived in the UK illegally, but it will seek to sign agreements with other countries. Weighty arguments in the eyes of the 160,000 members of the Conservative Party, who will vote to decide between the last two candidates in the running.
She takes ” the best of (Margaret) thatcher and (Ronald) Reagan », the two British and American leaders who revolutionized Western economic policy during the 1980s, believes Sajid Javid. The latest poll conducted on Tuesday August 2 by the YouGov institute gives him a considerable lead, at 69% against 31% for Rishi Sunak.
“Rishi Sunak runs behind the favorite”
There remains one month to the latter, however favorite of the deputies of his camp, to reverse the trend. Its program: the reduction of VAT on energy bills, the development of schools where the selection is made by competition. “Rishi Sunak runs behind the favorite, and tries desperately to say things that please the followers”analyzes Anand Menon, director of the UK in a Changing Europe think tank and professor of political science at King’s College London. “He obviously finally understood what this race requires of him. »
But he is struggling with party voters. In addition to his betrayal of Boris Johnson, whose fall he caused, his two years at the head of the national economy do not help him. Many members criticize him for having increased the public debt during the confinement and for having raised taxes to an unprecedented level. On Tuesday, he called the sharp drop in the tax rate on corporate profits “failed orthodoxy” by criticizing the couple David Cameron-George Osborne (in power from 2010 to 2016) who had reduced them from 28% to 19%, and estimated that “this did not increase business investment”. A form of suicide for this deputy who is undoubtedly too centrist and moderate for the base of his party. Which says a lot about the ultraliberal turn of the conservative electorate.