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To audible gasps, Boris Johnson has abandoned his bid to be prime minister. He dropped out after Justice Secretary Michael Gove, Johnson’s ally in the Brexit campaign, betrayed him by announcing that he would be running to succeed Cameron. Why did Gove stab him in the back? Not clear yet, but perhaps he’s channeling the ambient sense that Boris is just too much of a clown:
Some in Westminster think Cameron’s decision to announce his resignation last Friday was, in part, designed to finally checkmate his rival. “He who wields the knife never wears the crown,” has become a mantra of U.K. politics ever since Michael Heseltine’s failed attempt to succeed Margaret Thatcher after helping to oust her. By quitting Number 10, MPs wonder if the prime minister has thrust the knife into his rival’s hands.
“We need a grown up not a comedian,” one Conservative MP from a Midlands marginal seat said, echoing concerns among many of his colleagues. “We need a safe pair of hands. Boris is like chewing gum, he goes stale quickly and we can’t afford that.”
Home Secretary Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb have thrown their names into the ring. So have Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox.
My money’s on May. She’s the most grown-up of the lot, and probably the only one with the gravitas to steady the ship of state and handle the exit negotiations with Brussels. That said, significantly, she backed the Remain campaign. Will that work against her, or will it be seen as a positive qualification for repairing the party and national divisions after the referendum?
Here’s her announcement:
She will probably win, but no one envies her, since no one can deliver what the people want.
Meanwhile, Angela Eagle will challenge Jeremy Corbyn for leadership of Labour this afternoon. Corbyn just lost a no-confidence vote 172-40. That’s not a lot of confidence.