UK Def. Minister not to run for premiership, supports Johnson's return
Wallace announces he won't be entering the race to become the UK's next PM, and the Cabinet Minister becomes the first to declare her intention to run.
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace announced on Friday that he would not be running to replace Liz Truss as prime minister and was leaning toward backing former leader Boris Johnson.
Yesterday, Liz Truss announced her resignation less than two months after being appointed as Conservative Party leader and head of the UK government.
Contestants who aim to replace Truss are now scrambling to gather 100 votes from Conservative lawmakers that are required to run in a contest that the party hopes will reset its ailing fortunes.
"I feel that I can add the best value in keeping people safe at defence, by being the Defence Secretary," Wallace told reporters.
"It’s the job I intend to stay doing so I’m not going to be standing for prime minister this time."
Out of the few ministers to have enhanced their credibility in the light of recent political turmoils include Ben Wallace who is well favored among Conservatives and bookmakers.
Since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine have begun, Wallace has been directing Britain's response to these events.
Although no one has declared their candidacy yet, with the exception of Cabinet Minister Penny Mordaunt, the present potential contesters include Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, but neither has formally declared their candidacy yet, although a journalist at the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was flying back to the UK this weekend.
When asked who he would back, Wallace said, “At the moment, I would lean towards Boris Johnson.”
Earlier this year, Johnson was ousted by lawmakers for failing to address scandals and allegations of sexual misconduct.
According to Wallace, three determinants are considered for Johnson's victory, namely a commitment to national and economic security, a recognition of the mandate the party won at a national election in 2019 under Johnson’s leadership, and an ability to unite the party.
"This will be our potentially our third prime minister since the general election … that means we have to think about that legitimacy question that the public will be asking themselves, and also about who could win the next election," he said.
Wallace further said it would be interesting to hear what Sunak has to say about commitments to defense and security investment.
Wallace did however recognize an ongoing parliamentary investigation into whether Johnson misled lawmakers over COVID-19 lockdown breaches in Downing Street.
"I think he will still have some questions to answer around … that investigation."
Meanwhile, UK Cabinet Minister Penny Mordaunt announced today that she will be running to replace Liz after being "encouraged by support from colleagues".
"I'm running to be the leader of the Conservative party and your prime minister -- to unite our country, deliver our pledges and win the next GE (general election)," she said in a tweet.
I’ve been encouraged by support from colleagues who want a fresh start, a united party and leadership in the national interest.— Penny Mordaunt (@PennyMordaunt) October 21, 2022
I’m running to be the leader of the Conservative Party and your Prime Minister - to unite our country, deliver our pledges and win the next GE.#PM4PM pic.twitter.com/MM0NTHJ5lH
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