Johnson's Final Words to Parliament: 'Hasta la Vista, Baby'

Also on Wednesday, the final 2 candidates to replace Johnson as PM are chosen
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2022 12:58 PM CDT
Battle to Replace Boris Johnson Down to Last 2
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street, in London, to attend the weekly Prime Minister's Questions at the Houses of Parliament, Wednesday, July 20, 2022.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

After five rounds of voting, the race to replace Boris Johnson is down to the final two candidates: Rishi Sunak, whose resignation as finance minister helped trigger an avalanche of resignations that led to Johnson's downfall, and Liz Truss, the Johnson administration's foreign minister. Trade minister Penny Mordaunt was in third place in the final ballot of Conservative Party lawmakers and therefore eliminated; ballots will now be sent to party members nationwide, the Guardian reports. The approximately 180,000 party members will cast their votes in the coming weeks and the new party leader—who automatically becomes prime minister—will be announced on Sept. 5, reports the AP.

Both Sunak and Truss have ruled out calling an early election, arguing that the public chose the Conservative Party's manifesto in the 2019 election, when Johnson led the party to a landslide victory, the BBC reports. In the weeks of campaigning ahead, Sunak is expected to present himself as a "responsible steward of the nation's finances during a period of extreme stress," reports the New York Times, while Truss is expected to focus on her hardline positions on Brexit and the war in Ukraine.

Labour Party lawmaker Iain Murray described both Sunak and Truss as "stooges" of the Johnson government, though Sunak's resignation made him very unpopular with Johnson loyalists. Murray described them as "continuity Johnson" and "Johnson lite" and said the public should be given a chance to decide who the next prime minister is, reports the BBC. Johnson made his final appearance in Parliament as prime minister Wednesday. He said his legacy would include the country's COVID response and support for Ukraine against Russia, "and frankly, that's enough to be going on with," per Reuters. "Mission largely accomplished," Johnson said, adding: "Hasta la vista, baby." (More United Kingdom stories.)

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