Get ready for a bumpy ride

If, as is expected, Boris Johnson becomes the new Prime Minister this week, he will find himself engaged in a political fire-fight almost before he has even got his feet under the desk at 10 Downing Street.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 6:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 7:24 am

Chancellor Philip Hammond - who has been a prickly thorn in Johnson’s side ever since the former Mayor of London confirmed his decision to become a contestant for the Tory Party leadership - has announced, to nobody’s great surprise, that he will resign from his post if Johnson wins, saying he cannot work alongside someone who’d be content with a no-deal Brexit.

But that does not mean Johnson will be free from Hammond’s strictures. Hammond can be as dangerous, even more dangerous, as a rebellious backbencher as he is a recalcitrant Chancellor.

Indeed, Hammond has already made clear that he is quite prepared to ditch Johnson if he does not get his way.

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There are other pro Remainers in influential positions in the Conservative Party with whom Johnson will have to deal - and these are the sort of people who do not easily give up.

Johnson, however, appears to have forgiven the current Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who some months ago appeared to try to shaft Johnson. Gove could therefore find himself promoted in a Johnson regime. Whether Johnson will decide to keep on his leadership rival Jeremy Hunt as Foreign Secretary remains to be seen.

But the first few weeks of a Johnson administration will certainly be a bumpy ride, and he will have plenty of critics in the Conservative Party at Westminster with whom he will have to deal.

So we can look forward to a wholesale change of personnel in the Cabinet once the new regime gets underway.

It will be a far more robust affair than that of Theresa May, whose relatively short period as Prime Minister was bedevilled by Brexit.

That topic made it impossible for her to demonstrate her full skills as a Government leader and she had no help - indeed, she suffered from much disloyalty - from some of her Cabinet colleagues during her term of office.

However, people will look back on her premiership in years to come in a much better light than it is seen now. She deserved better of the people she led.