In the United Kingdom, the prime minister is not elected by popular vote. Citizens elect members of parliament from their respective constituencies in elections held every five years. The Conservative Party has won most MPs elected in the last 12 years, including elections in 2010, 2015, early 2017, and most recently in 2019.
They, or a coalition of several parties in parliament, then appoint a prime minister, who is usually the leader of the ruling party. When a prime minister resigns, as is customary in the United Kingdom, it does not imply that another election will be held.
The ruling party’s members in parliament will then vote to elect a new leader and prime minister. This has occurred twice in less than four months. The first week of July marked the start of this political elite drama.
Boris Johnson announced his resignation from the position he had held for three years. He decided after nearly 60 members of his government resigned. They left in protest of the Prime Minister’s various scandals, such as holding a party when there were restrictions on gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic and appointing officials who committed sexual harassment.
His resignation is thought to be related to his failure to control inflation. Johnson, who pledged in his 2019 campaign to smooth Britain’s exit from the European Union and achieve prosperity, was also chastised for losing focus and no longer having a stand or vision in government.
His track record of raising taxes on both businesses and workers has also made him unpopular. His performance in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic was criticized. His administration was also criticized for failing to address the federal government’s healthcare crisis. The limited number of health workers assigned to hospital units posed a problem. As a result, patients might have to wait months before being treated on the operating table.
The British government has essentially failed to overcome the socio-economic chaos that has emerged since 52 percent of citizens said they wanted to leave the European Union economic alliance in a 2016 referendum, despite the torrent of criticism aimed at Johnson.
The British government has made no actual progress as a free country from the European Union over the last six years. They attempted to re-navigate trade relations and overhaul regulations with various countries in order to increase profits, but the results were disappointing.
The agreement with Washington, for example, is regarded as unprofitable because it is merely a replication of the previous trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. It is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to gain access to the European Union’s single market, which has 445 million consumers. This is because of the repeal of rules that made it easier for commodities to move from one location to another without being subject to customs or inspections.
The Brexit case had not been resolved, and the British government, under the new Johnson administration, was befuddled by the complex socioeconomic situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The continuity of daily life has since become a source of public concern. Inflation and the economy are two of the most pressing issues confronting the United Kingdom. Demand for fuels such as oil and gas has increased as public activity returns to normal.
The issue is that the supply is limited. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine since the beginning of the year has also resulted in a halt in Russian energy supplies and wheat, the UK’s staple food. As a result, everyday commodity prices are rising, resulting in severe inflation.
In September, the UK’s inflation rate was 10.1 percent, the highest in four decades. The impact is felt in daily consumer products. Milk prices have risen by 30% in the last year, flour prices by 29%, and oil and cheese prices by over 20%.
Food insecurity, defined as a person’s inability to get nutritious food or a lack of sufficient funds to purchase it, is also on the rise. This condition was still being experienced by 18% of households, or approximately 9.7 million adults, in September. Four million children were also impacted.
To mitigate the impact of rising commodity prices, the Johnson administration was offering waivers as a £400 discount on energy bills for each household, valid for six months beginning in October. Retirees received a £300 discount, while people with disabilities received £150, and eight million low-income households received an additional £650.
The policy has been criticized as a band-aid solution because the bill will revert to normal in the future unless the government commits to lowering its base price. People are dissatisfied, and some have expressed their dissatisfaction through protests since last summer.
Initially driven by train employees, the most popular mode of transport in the UK, lawyers, bus drivers, loading and unloading workers, garbage collectors, Amazon employees, and even journalists from the anti-union Daily Express joined the protest movement. They were all upset because their pay had not been adjusted to account for the skyrocketing inflation rate.
Boris Johnson stepped down as prime minister, and Mary Elizabeth “Liz” Truss volunteered to take his place. Truss was officially elected party leader on September 5 after a series of selection processes. A day later, Queen Elizabeth II gave her the authority to form a government.
Her reign, however, did not last long. Truss left on October 20, so she was only active for less than 50 days, or seven weeks. As a result, she will go down in history as the prime minister with the shortest tenure.