Friday, August 19, 2022

Indian-origin Suella Braverman early contender for UK PM race

Braverman, currently Attorney General in the UK Cabinet, is among the early Tory members of Parliament to formally declare her leadership bid

London: Even before Boris Johnson stepped out of 10 Downing Street on Thursday, July 7,to deliver his resignation speech as Conservative Party leader and triggering a leadership race for a new British prime minister, at least one Indian-origin candidate has already lined up to compete for the “best job in the world”, a report in The Tribune, Chandigarh, says.

Goan-origin Suella Braverman, currently the Attorney General in the UK Cabinet, is among the early Tory members of Parliament to formally declare her leadership bid, with other Indian-origin colleagues such as recently resigned Cabinet minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Priti Patel also seen as possible contenders for the top job.

The 42-year-old barrister and the government’s senior-most legal official is likely to command some support within the pro-Brexit wing of her party.

“I am putting myself forward because I believe that the 2019 manifesto is fit for purpose, presents a bold and inspiring vision for our country and I want to deliver on the promises contained in that manifesto. I want to embed the opportunities of Brexit and tidy up the outstanding issues… and cut taxes,” said Braverman.

Another fellow staunch Brexiteer, Steve Baker, declared on air soon after that he intends to throw his hat in the ring. He is an influential Tory backbencher who served as chair of the European Research Group, in favour of a hard Brexit deal.

The 42-year-old barrister and the government’s senior-most legal official is likely to command some support within the pro-Brexit wing of her party.

But both Braverman and Baker are largely seen as outliers and now with Johnson’s formal resignation, the other more serious bids are expected to start pouring in thick and fast.

In a latest YouGov poll of Tory party members in ‘The Daily Telegraph’, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has emerged as the frontrunner to become the next prime minister. 

To take part in the race, a Tory MP has to be nominated by eight colleagues. If more than two MPs put themselves forward and secure enough nominations to run for leader, a series of secret ballots are held to whittle them down.

The YouGov survey indicates that Wallace may be in pole position if he chooses to contest and then makes it to the final two candidates. He is on 13 per cent, just ahead of junior minister Penny Mordaunt on 12 per cent. Former UK Chancellor Sunak, the British Indian minister who stepped down on Tuesday, is also seen as a contender and is at 10 per cent in the survey.

The final shortlist of candidates is expected to go head-to-head in a debate until a vote between the final two decides on the winner, who will be the new Conservative Party leader and formally succeed Johnson as the new British prime minister.

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