London, UK — Just over a week after the UK voted to leave the European Union, British parliament faces leadership contests on both sides of the bench.
Finding Cameron’s Replacement
Conservative MPs are kicking off their campaigns to succeed outgoing Prime Minister, David Cameron following his resignation last week.
There was shock throughout the nation on Thursday (June 30th) as Vote Leave frontman, Boris Johnson announced he would not stand for the position following Justice Secretary and ally, Michael Gove’s decision to run for the position.
Emails were leaked this week between Gove and his wife suggesting that he had little confidence in the former Mayor of London’s ability to unite the country after last week’s Brexit vote.
Home Secretary, Theresa May launched her campaign on Thursday, winning the support of Conservative newspaper, The Daily Mail within twenty-four hours. Although Mrs May took a backseat role in David Cameron’s campaign to remain part of the European Union, she is currently favourite to win the leadership contest in these early stages.
Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State for Energy, has also entered the race following her prominence in the referendum campaigns. Serving as the right hand to Boris Johnson in many of the T.V debates throughout the campaign, Leadsom is Michael Gove’s main rival in the leadership contest.
Controversial Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt and former Defence Secretary, Liam Fox are also expected to run for the position.
Corbyn Under Fire
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn also faces a challenge to his leadership of the Labour Party. Following the sacking of Shadow Defence Secretary, Hilary Benn, the majority of his Shadow Cabinet resigned. In a no-confidence vote last Tuesday, only 40 out of his 229 MPs supported the Labour leader. As a result, there is doubt as to whether Mr Corbyn will be able to fill the cabinet positions he has lost in the past week.
Speaking on Corbyn’s leadership, David Cameron said in the House of Commons on Wednesday, “It might be in my party’s interest for him to sit there – but it’s not in the national interest. And I would say: for heaven’s sake, man… Go.”
On the same day, The Scottish National Party requested that it be installed as the official opposition party at Westminster following the lack of support in Corbyn’s leadership. Their hopes was quickly dashed by Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow who said he had decided Labour would remain official opposition after seeking expert advice.
Despite this, Jeremy Corbyn remains defiant and has given no public inclination that he is willing to stand down as Leader of the Opposition. Corbyn still has a significant amount of support amongst the Labour membership following his 60 per cent mandate last September.
Frontrunner to challenge Corbyn is former Shadow Secretary of State, Angela Eagle who, until last Monday served as Mr Corbyn’s second in command in the House of Commons. Ms Eagle has said today that she will run against Jeremy Corbyn in a leadership contest unless he quits.
“It’s a week since Jeremy lost that vote of no confidence and there are many other people up and down the country wanting him to consider his position”, Eagle said.
A BBC Newsnight report found that MPs in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet are making plans to let the Labour leader “retire with dignity”. It is thought that the MPs that support Corbyn are in search of a broker that would ensure that some of his key policies would be preserved should he resign as Leader of the Opposition.
Farage Resigns as UKIP leader
News has also broken this morning that leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage has resigned stating that he had “done his bit” for the political party. Farage also resigned from the position last year after failing to win a seat in parliament. Following an uproar from the party, he soon changed his mind and carried on as UKIP leader throughout the referendum campaign. The party now follows the Conservatives with a leadership contest on the cards.
With the new Conservative Party leader not expected to be announced until September, it would seem as though the UK are in for a summer of political uncertainty as they wait not only for a new Prime Minister but for Article 50 to be invoked and negotiations on leaving the EU to begin.