One of two members of the former ‘war cabinet’ of the ousted British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is set to become his successor following an ugly and dubious selection process by the party’s MPs.
The virulent hostility to change of the Tory media proved too much for the party’s MPs to consider an alternative to “Continuity Johnson”, as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak have been dubbed.
Both made it through to the final two in the Tory leadership race, with the less extreme figure of Penny Mordaunt eliminated from the contest in the final round of voting by MPs.
Truss is a political opportunist who has begun modelling herself on Margaret Thatcher, while Sunak is a billionaire former investment banker who has admitted knowing little about the working class.
The party membership now casts the final decision in a vote due to conclude in the first week of September.
It was no coincidence that legislation to rip up the Irish Protocol of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement was also rushed through the House of Commons in Johnson’s dying days as unionists and rightists scrambled to limit the damage from the transition.
On Wednesday, Johnson delivered a typically tone-deaf defense of his record in office during his final prime minister’s questions. He offered ‘advice’ to his successor, which began: “Number one: stay close to the Americans, stick up for the Ukrainians, stick up for freedom and democracy everywhere.”
Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard said the Tory party chaos and their actions in Westminster demonstrates they are “an untrustworthy partner” in Ireland and internationally.
Speaking at Westminster, the South Down MP said: “The internal Tory chaos has overspilled into the political discourse for over a decade. Whoever now assumes the position of British Prime Minister needs to change tack, work to restore the north’s political institutions, and they need acknowledge the primacy of international agreements and international law.
“The British government needs to honour commitments, respect the rule of law, and take seriously its obligations to rigorous impartiality under the Good Friday Agreement.
“Now is the time to assert the primacy of politics, the honouring of agreements, and respect for international law which protects the all-island economy and prevents a hard border on the island of Ireland.”