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Conservative Party leadership debate between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak

Reuters

Is Truss pulling away?

The race to become the UK’s next prime minister has reached a crucial moment.

Though one new poll suggests Rishi Sunak may have cut into her sizeable lead, Liz Truss is still considered the likeliest choice to win the nationwide vote of Conservative Party members to lead the party and serve as PM, at least until the next national elections. A crucial endorsement from former rival Penny Mordaunt has boosted Truss still further.

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Is Boris Johnson on his way out?

Annie Gugliotta

Who will replace Boris Johnson?

Several political scandals have plagued UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for months. Though he’d been bruised, Johnson also established himself as a PM who could survive almost anything, including a recent no-confidence vote.

But that good-luck streak ended Thursday when he finally caved to party pressure and announced his resignation. Johnson will reportedly stay on as a caretaker PM until the Conservative Party taps his replacement, which could take months.

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British PM Boris Johnson looking perplexed.

Reuters

Boris Johnson narrowly escapes defeat

A few days ago I returned from London, where the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was infectious. Even hipster establishments in East London were toasting the monarch and mixing Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite cocktails (it’s a classy gin and Dubonnet aperitif).

But the air of celebration has since given way to a political onslaught with Conservative lawmakers holding a no-confidence vote on Monday to determine the political fate of their embattled prime minister and party leader, Boris Johnson.

Johnson came out on top, but only just. Some 148 Tories – 32 shy of the 180 needed to remove him – voted in favor of ditching the PM, while 211 backed him. Boris is safe with a majority of 63, but he emerges with diminished political strength as a result.

What went so wrong? During the darkest days of the pandemic in May 2020 – when heads of state around the globe were hemorrhaging domestic support – Johnson maintained a respectable approval rating of 66%.

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People react after the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

What We're Watching: Texas mourns, Boris caught red-handed, lethal weapons sent to Ukraine, China’s human rights abuses leaked

Will Texas school shooting move the needle on US guns debate?

Another mass shooting has rocked America, leaving 21 dead (19 of them children) at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday — the second-worst school massacre in US history after Sandy Hook almost a decade ago. “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” President Joe Biden said in a nationwide address. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?” For one thing, stricter gun laws are vehemently opposed by most Republicans: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz controversially responded to the tragedy by calling for more armed law enforcement at schools. For another, 2nd Amendment die-hards like the National Rifle Association have deep pockets to fight legislation and fund campaigns (Cruz, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and former President Donald Trump are all slated to speak Friday at the NRA's annual conference in Houston). If a bipartisan gun bill failed to pass in 2013 in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, the odds are even longer now because US politics is even more polarized and we're less than six months out from the November midterms.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

REUTERS/Toby Melville

What We're Watching: Boris in trouble, Shanghai eases lockdown, Mariupol's last stand

Is Boris still in the woods?

Few politicians have benefited as much from the war in Ukraine as British PM Boris Johnson, who was facing potentially career-ending crises before the Russian invasion. Chief among them was “partygate,” the scandal over him and his staff attending social gatherings during COVID lockdowns. Johnson was fined for the breach — a legal first for a sitting PM — but his pro-Ukraine advocacy has helped galvanize Brits who are now more concerned by Russian aggression, as well as the rising cost of living. So is Johnson out of the woods? Not quite. Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has called for a vote in the House of Commons Thursday on whether a special committee should investigate claims that Johnson misled parliament. British ministerial code dictates that MPs caught lying are expected to resign. The person who usually enforces this rule is … the PM, but Johnson says he has no intention of stepping down, and it’s unlikely enough Tory lawmakers would back his ouster. Still, the optics are poor for the Conservative Party: MPs will have to go on the record in support of a PM who has a disapproval rating of 65%.

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Can Boris Johnson survive?

No world leader has had a more bruising month than British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Among other recent indiscretions, he’s been accused of flouting lockdown rules, as well as breaking ministerial protocols by using Conservative Party funds to refurbish his personal pad at 11 Downing Street – which analysts say contributed to the Tories losing a safe parliamentary seat for the first time in 200 years.

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