The race to be Britain’s new prime minister

Born to lead? Boris Johnson said he wanted to be “World King” when he was aged five.

Should Boris run Britain? Today, the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May will officially resign, triggering the race to replace her. At the front of the pack of contenders is the colourful Boris Johnson.

What’s happening

She is the UK’s second female prime minister. She has been in charge of the country for three years, and she has spent most of it talking about Brexit.

Today, all that comes to an end as Theresa May resigns as the leader of the Conservative Party. Her replacement will become the new prime minister.

Find out more

First, the Conservatives must hold a leadership election. So far, 11 people are in the running for the job.

The main issue is the same one that brought down May: Brexit. The UK must decide how and when to leave the European Union. Some, such as Andrea Leadsom, want the UK to leave without agreeing a deal on things like trade and borders. Others, such as Jeremy Hunt, say this would be “political suicide”.

Leading the race is Boris Johnson. A recent YouGov poll found that 64% of Conservative Party members thought he would make a good leader.

Johnson was foreign secretary until last year, and he spent eight years as Mayor of London. He wants the UK to leave the EU in October, “deal or no deal”.

Would he make a good prime minister?

Some say…

Absolutely not. Johnson is best known for saying offensive things, making false claims, and cheating on his wife. He has made many u-turns in his political career: in 2013, he said Brexit was a bad idea. Now, he is one of its biggest supporters. This is because he puts his own ambition above what is right for the country. He cannot be trusted.

Others think…

Johnson is a good choice! He is excellent at making speeches, so he can connect with ordinary people. He already has the support of US President Donald Trump. The truth about Brexit is that it is extremely complicated — and sometimes it takes a forceful character to bulldoze through the mess. Johnson could well be that person.

You Decide

  1. Was Theresa May a good prime minister?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are going to interview Boris Johnson for the job of PM. Write down three questions you would ask him.

Some People Say...

“My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it.”

Boris Johnson

What do you think?

Word Watch

Prime minister
The politician in charge of a country.
Brexit
The UK leaving the EU (see below). Around 52% of voters said they wanted this to happen in June 2016.
European Union
A group of 28 European countries which share laws and trade.
Trade
Buying and selling things between countries.
Borders
The lines separating countries.
Foreign secretary
The politician in charge of a country’s relationships with other countries.
Ambition
The desire to be successful.
Pro
In favour of.

Subjects

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