British Parties Seek New Leaders After Vote to Leave EU

London England
View of the Houses of Parliament from Whitehall in London, England (Shutterstock/Alan Copson)
  • The contest to replace David Cameron as Conservative Party leader and prime minister starts today.
  • Stephen Crabb, the up-and-coming work and pensions secretary, has declared he will stand. So have John Baron and Liam Fox, two Euroskeptics.
  • Boris Johnson and Theresa May are expected to enter the contest today. Read more “British Parties Seek New Leaders After Vote to Leave EU”

Boris Johnson Faces Rivals to Succeed Cameron

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson, then the mayor of London, visits Hampstead Heath, April 15, 2012 (i-Images/Andrew Parsons)

Boris Johnson’s bet may pay off. The former mayor of London led the campaign for Britain to exit the European Union and is now the favorite to replace David Cameron as prime minister.

But he’s no shoo-in for the position. Around half the parliamentary party supported Cameron and his bid for Britain to remain in the EU. They may not be ready to forgive Johnson for so passionately making the opposite case and there are doubts about just much he really wanted Britain to leave.

This is the same man who once said, “I am the only British politician who will admit to being pro-immigration.” The same man who once supported Turkish membership of the EU. The man who can always be counted on to argue for lower taxes, fewer regulations and less welfare. Those are not exactly the priorities of the traditionalist right wing he chose to affiliate himself with.

Johnson was something of a libertarian before he pretended to be a reactionary. The reactionary wing of the Conservative Party may remember. Especially now that the one thing that always trumped everything else to their minds — Europe — is no longer going to be an issue.

So if not Johnson, who? Read more “Boris Johnson Faces Rivals to Succeed Cameron”

Liberal Euroskeptics Have Made Treacherous Pact

British education secretary Michael Gove arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, England, March 10, 2015
British education secretary Michael Gove arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, England, March 10, 2015 (Shutterstock/Pete Maclaine)

Leaders of Britain’s campaign to leave the European Union seem to have momentarily forgotten their liberal principles to argue that an exit will enable them to nationalize industries and keep immigrants out.

Michael Gove, the justice secretary, Daniel Hannan, a Conservative member of the European Parliament, and Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, have all argued that leaving the EU would unshackle Britain’s economy from centripetal forces that stifle growth. Their vision is of a free-trading Singapore on the Thames: cosmopolitan, nimble and proud.

So why have they spent the last few weeks deriding Brussels for blocking state aid for the Port Talbot Steelworks in Wales and talking about reducing immigration? Read more “Liberal Euroskeptics Have Made Treacherous Pact”

Boris Johnson Drifts Closer to Euroskeptic Fringe

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson, then the mayor of London, visits Hampstead Heath, April 15, 2012 (i-Images/Andrew Parsons)

If Boris Johnson is trying to sabotage his chances of succeeding David Cameron as Conservative Party leader and Britain’s prime minister, he should keep doing what he’s doing.

The outgoing mayor of London took a risk when he joined the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union earlier this year, but that should not in itself have undermined his ambitions. He is likely to end up on the losing side but could have justified his holiday from the political mainstream as an idealistic, if quixotic, indulgence.

The way he has conducted himself since reveals Johnson to be something of an anti-EU fanatic, however, and that could very well ruin his career. Read more “Boris Johnson Drifts Closer to Euroskeptic Fringe”

Voters Care Less About Boris Johnson Than the Press

London mayor Boris Johnson visits Hampstead Heath, April 15, 2012
London mayor Boris Johnson visits Hampstead Heath, April 15, 2012 (i-Images/Andrew Parsons)

If a foreigner had bought a British newspaper this morning, she might have assumed Boris Johnson were already prime minister.

The outgoing mayor of London, who is a likely candidate to succeed David Cameron as Conservative Party leader at some point before the next election, came out in favor of a British exit from the European Union on Sunday night. Every major newspaper in the country apparently thought it was the most important thing in the world, for they all put him on their front pages.

This website didn’t think it worthwhile to report the news at all. Johnson is hardly the only prominent Conservative to support an exit. Several cabinet members do, including Michael Gove and Ian Duncan Smith. Johnson does lend charisma to an out campaign that has sorely lacked it. But it would have been far more newsworthy had the great flirt of Euroskeptic England thrown his support instead behind Cameron and the campaign to stay in. Read more “Voters Care Less About Boris Johnson Than the Press”

Boris Johnson Questions Own Party’s Syria Policy

Boris Johnson
London mayor Boris Johnson poses for a photo, November 24, 2011 (i-Images/Andrew Parsons)

Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, distanced himself from his own Conservative Party leader on Sunday when he questioned the wisdom of arming Syria’s rebels.

While Prime Minister David Cameron has long called for increasing Western support of “moderate” opposition forces in Syria, Johnson, who might rival Cameron for the party leadership ahead of the next election, argued in The Telegraph newspaper that they cannot be kept separate from religious extremists who are fighting on the same side. “How are we meant to furnish machine guns and anti-tank weapons to one set of opposition forces, without them ending up in the hands of men like the Al Qaeda affiliated thugs?” he wondered. Read more “Boris Johnson Questions Own Party’s Syria Policy”

London Mayor Rises as Rival to Britain’s Cameron

London mayor Boris Johnson poses for a photo, November 24, 2011
London mayor Boris Johnson poses for a photo, November 24, 2011 (i-Images/Andrew Parsons)

In the aftermath of what can be said to have been a resounding success for the city of London, hosting the Olympic Games for a third time, there has been rampant speculation that Mayor Boris Johnson may seek the Conservative Party leadership and, with it, the premiership.

Johnson’s rise in the party coincides with the resurgence of the Tory right. Boris is liked by this segment of the party for his stance on cutting the top income tax rate to 40 percent, his support for state grammar schools and his repeated calls that Britain ought to seriously rethinking its relationship with the European Union. Read more “London Mayor Rises as Rival to Britain’s Cameron”