New Prime Minister will be ‘at the center of the storm’ with no one more senior to consult | Political news



On a prime minister’s first day in office, they are taken to a top-secret meeting and asked to come up with a plan in case of a nuclear attack.

Kate Fall, David Cameron’s ‘guardian’ and deputy chief of staff, remembers the moment because she was firmly out of the prime minister’s lair: “I was told emphatically, ‘No. This next meeting, no one else is allowed.”

A senior military official explains the capabilities of the UK’s trident nuclear missiles. The new Prime Minister is then asked to handwrite ‘letters of last resort’ to the commanders of the four British Vanguard submarines, with orders on how to react if the UK government has been incapacitated by a strike enemy nuclear.

Who will be the next PM? Watch and follow live from 12:30 p.m. Monday as Boris Johnson’s successor is announced.

Suddenly, a politician who could always report upwards no longer has anyone higher up to consult.

“You are at the center of the storm,” Kate Fall says of the incomparable pressure of work. “It’s the intensity, the expectation… There are people coming in all the time saying, ‘Here’s a file. You have to look at this right now and make a decision’.”

Apart giving the big speech in front of number 10 (thank the predecessor, set priorities, try to inspire voters), the new prime minister must immediately appoint a cabinet.

“It was a surprisingly divisive and unpleasant leadership election,” said Gavin Barwell, who was Theresa May’s chief of staff. “And I think it’s very important for anyone who’s prime minister to have the most talented people in their government and to try to unite the party.

“Of course you have to reward some of your supporters, but when you win you have to be a bit ruthless and think: I’m prime minister now and eventually I’m going to stand or fall on the quality of a government I have. put in place.”

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Conservatives set to vote for new leader

Liz Truss is said to be keen to establish itself on the world stage early on with an intervention on the UK’s approach to Russia and China. She is also expected to travel to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

However, it is the domestic impact of the war in Ukraine that will be the prime minister’s greatest challenge.

“We talk about political honeymoons, but it’s an economic nightmare facing the new Prime Minister,” said Daniel Tomlinson of the Resolution Foundation.

“Inflation is already in double digits. Wages are already falling at their fastest rate since the 1970s, and things are expected to get worse before they get better. Energy bills are expected to reach £500 a month at the start of 2023.”

Liz Truss said she would announce her plan to help people pay their energy bills within a week of taking office. An emergency budget is expected within the first month.

Read more: Who is offering what to deal with soaring energy bills

The new Prime Minister also faces an autumn of strikes, growing calls to deal with the NHS waiting times crisis and a predecessor problem: ‘Boris is going to be difficult for whoever wins,’ said Mr Barwell.

“Firstly, if things start to go wrong, there’s going to be some sort of chorus to bring Boris back. Secondly, we’ve already seen his supporters push for the Privileges Committee inquiry to determine if he was guilty of contempt of Parliament.

“And third, I suspect he’s going to start writing a newspaper column again. And I can tell you from my own experience when I was chief of staff that those columns are always newsworthy.”

Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will take office with the most disturbing economic legacy since Margaret Thatcher. If they lose the next general election, they will go down in history as the shortest Prime Minister for almost sixty years. It’s an unenviable entry level.


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