Boris Johnson will resign this Thursday after the resignations of several ministers. This is what can happen from now on.
Who are the favorites to succeed Boris Johnson?
What happens after the resignation of Boris Johnson?
There are two options. The first is if Johnson agrees to leave 10 Downing Street at the time a replacement is found, as happened with Teresa May in 2019. In this scenario, nothing would have to happen formally: Johnson would stay in office, he would try to form an interim cabinet and efforts would be concentrated on finding a successor. According to the BBC, Johnson’s intention is to stay until next fall, until the selection process for his successor is over.
If he resigns with immediate effect, it would be necessary to appoint an interim prime minister, since constitutionally there must always be a prime minister in office. Dominic Raab, the current justice minister and deputy prime minister, would be the default choice, but if he were to stand to replace Johnson and felt taking over now might give him an unfair advantage, a more neutral solution may be sought. .
How does a prime minister resign?
In a chronology that is very well known, thanks to the retransmission of television images recorded from a helicopter, the Prime Minister first arrives by car at Buckingham Palace, where he presents his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II. She then, under the direction of the ruling party, appoints a new prime minister.
This usually happens after a general election, although in recent years Tony Blair, David Cameron and Theresa May have resigned mid-term. All have remained in office until the election of a successor.
Could Johnson call an election?
Following the repeal of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which previously established the duration of the legislature, the prime minister can now request the calling of elections at any time. In his speech to the House liaison committee on Wednesday, Johnson hinted that he might resort to this option if he was forced to resign.
But calling the elections without the approval of the government or most of its deputies would be constitutionally very unusual and would meet with much opposition. According to a constitutional convention, known as the Lascelles Principles, the monarch can reject the request to call elections for various reasons, including if he considers that Parliament is still “viable”, if the elections could harm the economy or if there is a credible alternative to appointing a substitute in the position of prime minister.
Buckingham Palace is known to have been consulting on what to do if Johnson calls for a snap election.
How will the new prime minister be chosen?
Conservative MPs will make a first selection – the prime minister will be appointed by the Tories, who are the party that has the majority in Parliament – and then the party’s affiliates will intervene.
According to the rules established in 1997, in the first phase, assuming there are more than two candidates, the Conservative deputies express themselves in successive votes until only two names remain.
Then, the last two candidates are put to the vote of the party’s affiliates, a longer process that involves an electoral campaign. In 2019, when Johnson replaced Theresa May, the entire selection process took about six weeks.