Boris Johnson Drops Out

 

BorisTo 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.

There are 52 comments.

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  1. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    It’s like the opening scene of the original House of Cards!

    • #1
  2. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: no one can deliver what the people want.

    No one ever can. This problem is not unique to Brexit.

    • #2
  3. Ruthenian Member
    Ruthenian
    @Ruthenian

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    …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?…

    I do not keep up that closely with British politics.  In one of the recent podcasts James Delingpole and Toby Young were predicting this possibility.  Why is Gove’s move a betrayal?

    • #3
  4. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Why would Boris want to drink the poisoned chalice? He’ll be back later. When the unpopular but inevitable decisions have been made.

    • #4
  5. David Knights Member
    David Knights
    @DavidKnights

    My money is on Gove. No matter how tepid May’s support for Remain was, I just think they’ll chose someone in the Leave camp.  From what Delingpole and Young say, Gove is a steady politician and a good conservative.

    • #5
  6. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Ruthenian: Why is Gove’s move a betrayal?

    Because he was expected to support Boris, not run against him.

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The only point to the US extraditing Gary McKinnon was to try him here under our laws, and the only reason to do that (in my opinion) was to prevent the nitwit security holes he uncovered from being exposed. The holes have been seen to, those responsible have been assigned to duties more in line with their talents, and the damage done was significant but short-lived. So good on May for putting and end to that.

    My knowledge of UK politicians drops off pretty fast after Cameron, Corbyn, Gove, and Johnson.

    • #7
  8. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Darn.

    • #8
  9. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: 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.

    Her story is that she is really a Brexiteer rather than a Remainiac, but felt she had to support Cameron. Thus (from her speech):

    First, Brexit means Brexit. The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high, and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the backdoor, and no second referendum. The country voted to leave the European Union, and it is the duty of the government and Parliament to make sure we do just that.

    I’m not sure what isn’t grown up about Gove, though. He’s not necessarily completely to my taste (perhaps a tad wet, although all the Cameroons are on the Bernie end of the scale in US terms), but at least he hasn’t presided over a precipitous decline in protections against state snooping.

    • #9
  10. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    Why do keep quoting left-wing analysis? Wishful thinking?

    My money is on Michael Gove. I really don’t see any problem with giving the people what they want. The problem is not giving the elite what it wants. Perhaps they’ve thrown their last tantrum. Corbin needs to go.

    According to Mr. Delingpole, Gove is “aggressively polite”. Obviously, a born British statesman.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
  11. KiminWI Inactive
    KiminWI
    @KiminWI

    The post on the member feed titled “From Inside Pandora’s Box” by member Mr Nick shares more detail on those who have thrown in their hats.

    • #11
  12. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    genferei:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: 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.

    Her story is that she is really a Brexiteer rather than a Remainiac, but felt she had to support Cameron. Thus (from her speech):

    First, Brexit means Brexit. The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high, and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the backdoor, and no second referendum. The country voted to leave the European Union, and it is the duty of the government and Parliament to make sure we do just that.

    This is laughable. She supported the Remain campaign. She is disqualified. This is as silly as Obama or Hillary saying they believe in the 2nd Amendment, except for all the ways they are going to destroy it thru “common sense”. Her speechifying to support Brexit now should be considered total BS.

    • #12
  13. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    OK, I know nothing about Theresa May other than what I saw in that speech … but I’m kind of marveling at the idea of a politician who respects the will of the people, and who approaches her job as a duty rather than a power grab.

    I wonder if she’d be interested in running for president. I certainly won’t ask to see her birth certificate…

    • #13
  14. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ruthenian: Why is Gove’s move a betrayal?

    Because he was expected to support Boris, not run against him.

    What do you mean when you say ‘expected’ here? Expected by Johnson? Expected by the MP’s? Expected by the Opposition? Expected by the voters?

    • #14
  15. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Bob Thompson:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ruthenian: Why is Gove’s move a betrayal?

    Because he was expected to support Boris, not run against him.

    What do you mean when you say ‘expected’ here? Expected by Johnson? Expected by the MP’s? Expected by the Opposition? Expected by the voters?

    Expected by the media. Hoped for by Johnson. But it looks like Gove stuck to his guns in negotiations and, for whatever reason, Johnson couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver what Gove wanted/needed. As Gove said:

    I have repeatedly said that I do not want to be Prime Minister. That has always been my view. But events since last Thursday have weighed heavily with me.

    I respect and admire all the candidates running for the leadership. In particular, I wanted to help build a team behind Boris Johnson so that a politician who argued for leaving the European Union could lead us to a better future.

    But I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.

    I have, therefore, decided to put my name forward for the leadership. I want there to be an open and positive debate about the path the country will now take. Whatever the verdict of that debate I will respect it. In the next few days I will lay out my plan for the United Kingdom which I hope can provide unity and change.

    • #15
  16. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Bob Thompson:

    What do you mean when you say ‘expected’ here? Expected by Johnson? Expected by the MP’s? Expected by the Opposition? Expected by the voters?

    Pretty much all of the above, yeah.

    • #16
  17. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Pretty much all of the above, yeah.

    Experts botch expert opinion, expertly back current expert analysis: We understand the situation and this is what will happen until it doesn’t.

    Is this any way to run a superstate on your way to one world government?

    • #17
  18. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Best screen capture ever on Ricochet. exJon take notes.

    • #18
  19. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:Darn.

    Why? Interested in your take.

    • #19
  20. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    My reading on this is Boris was going squidgy on Brexit.

    “Gideon Rachman (of The Financial Times) wonders whether a second referendum is part of the plan for Boris Johnson, ringleader of the “leave” campaign and now a frontrunner to become Britain’s next prime minister. As a journalist in Brussels during the Danish referendum on Maastricht, Johnson is familiar with re-do referendums. Last week’s vote was a means for Johnson to secure the country’s top job, Rachman writes, and once he takes over “he can reverse his position on the EU.”

    To judge from his first substantive statement after the vote, a rather curious column in the Telegraph, this isn’t so far fetched.

    • #20
  21. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    • #21
  22. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:

    Jamie Lockett:Darn.

    Why? Interested in your take.

    He was the chief leader of the Brexit campaign in the Tory party and I would have like to see what kind of deal he negotiated on the way out. I understand why he didn’t draw much support though.

    • #22
  23. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ruthenian: Why is Gove’s move a betrayal?

    Because he was expected to support Boris, not run against him.

    Sure, but it’s only a betrayal of he had already supporters him. I’m sure many people expect republican politicians to back trump. Will it be a betrayal when they don’t?

    • #23
  24. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Don’t the MPs cull the candidates down to the top two (which then are set before the party)? I wonder if Gove and Boris counted heads, then realized that Boris might not have the support to get to the leader vote itself.

    • #24
  25. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    One might ask why personality political intrigue gets more coverage from the MSM than these little tidbits?

    Brits Oppose 2nd EU Referendum By Two To One

    Just Days After Brexit, EU Releases Plan For Further Expansion, An EU Army, AND Turkish Membership

    Frontex Chief: 300,000 More Migrants Headed from Africa to Europe

    Who’s ‘Nexit’? As The ‘Patriot Spring’ Sweeps The Continent, Europeans Call For Their Own Referendums

    One might ask how it is acceptable that 500 million Europeans are being ruled by unelected bureaucrats and being represented by a parliament that can’t write any laws?

    One might ask but one won’t get an answer from the MSM.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #25
  26. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Fricosis Guy: Don’t the MPs cull the candidates down to the top two (which then are set before the party)?

    That’s the Tory policy. Each party makes its own rules to select its leader. Labour used to have a convoluted weighted system similar to the Electoral College. After they got Ed Miliband they changed it.

    • #26
  27. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ruthenian: Why is Gove’s move a betrayal?

    Because he was expected to support Boris, not run against him.

    Expected by whom?

    Eric Hines

    • #27
  28. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: 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?

    How do you know that Johnson and Gove together didn’t conclude that Johnson could not win the leadership post but that Gove could?

    • #28
  29. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: He [Boris Johnson] 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.

    Assuming facts not in evidence–at least as discerned by me.

    When was Johnson a candidate?  Others expected him to be, given his vociferous enthusiasm for the Brits leaving, but others’ expectations don’t make him a candidate.  Only he can do that.

    What betrayal?  There was quite a bit of behind the scenes communications among Gove and Johnson and their respective staffs and supporters.  The correspondence, of course, was private.  There’s no reason to believe they weren’t simply working out which of the pair would stand and thereby not divide the vote, completely amicably.  Of course, there’s also no reason to believe it wasn’t acrimonious.  There just aren’t data to conclude either way.

    Eric Hines

    • #29
  30. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    Meanwhile,

    “European stocks rallied for a third consecutive day on Thursday, with the UK’s most watched share index, the FTSE 100, closing at its highest level in 10 months,”

    Markets give Brexit a big thumbs up.

    • #30

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