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Should the next PM be allowed into Number 10?

Unsurprisingly, the Conservative party membership is not representative of the UK as a whole.

Theresa May has faced her last Prime-Minister’s Questions, and she will now make way for her colleague, Boris Johnson, who moves into 10 Downing Street this afternoon.

BoJo
Boris will move into 10 Downing Street at 4.30pm this afternoon. Credit: New Statesman

Although Jeremy Hunt was favoured by most Britons to be the next PM over Boris Johnson, the 160,000 Conservative party members had the final say, with the result being announced yesterday (July 23).

Johnson secured two thirds of the party’s support, gaining 92,153 votes, to Hunt’s 46,656.

Brexit has divided the nation. It has, undoubtedly, become the ruling issue of British politics of late, demonstrated by the fact that it was Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and the pro-EU Liberal Democrats who came out on top at the European elections in May.

It is now Johnson’s job to deliver Brexit, and re-unite his party, and the United Kingdom.

However, the former Mayor of London has already sparked controversy over his opinion on a variety of issues, before he has even taken office.

Is it fair that the next person who walks into Number 10 Downing Street is decided by such a minuscule amount of people? Worse still, those people had been given a choice of only two candidates, who were selected by the 312 members of the Tory parliamentary party.

In a country of more than 65 million people, Conservative party members make up less than 0.25 per cent of the British population.

And as you would perhaps expect , their views far from representative of the UK as a whole.

97% of its members are white, 86% of its members are from the top social classes, and nearly three quarters are male.

And as well as being socially conservative, it has been revealed that six out of ten support the re-introduction of the death penalty.

So is it really fair that the next Tory leader automatically becomes the next Prime Minister, based on the views of a predominantly, overwhelmingly male, white, well-off minority?

On one hand, the Tories are currently running a minority administration. As the party in power, should the new leader not just move into 10 Downing Street, no questions asked, and replace Theresa May?

As is always the case in contemporary British politics, the answer is never as simple as that.

In the 2017 snap General Election, the Conservative party was elected with Theresa May as leader. Britain, under the current voting system, elected Theresa May to be the next PM.

Boris Johnson is not Theresa May.

May campaigned for a remain vote in the EU referendum, while Johnson was the party’s most vocal Brexiteer.

They also have differing stances on a number of issues, and clashing temperaments and personalities, something that influences people when voting for their next Prime-Minister.

Arguably, Johnson has no mandate to lead the UK into its next chapter of Brexit negotiations, having only been chosen by Conservative party members.

A YouGov poll from three weeks ago suggested that only a quarter of Britons thought that Johnson would be a good choice to lead the country.

And General Election opinion polling over the last few months has consistently placed the Tories, Labour, the Brexit Party and the Lib Dems all within the margin of error of each other.

This shows that the electorate is widely divided, and if there was a general election tomorrow, it is uncertain if the Tories would maintain their already shaky minority government, propped up by the controversial DUP.

International Secretary and PM hopeful Rory Stewart, has resigned from his position in the cabinet, as he cannot serve under a Johnson leadership.

And earlier today, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, also tendered his resignation.

While it is hoped that Boris Johnson will be the man to unite the nation, but it has become clear over the last few weeks that he cannot even unite his own party in parliament.

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