Episode
July 2, 2019

Why will a tiny number of people choose the UK's next PM?

Conservative Party members decide between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt in ballot widely criticised as unrepresentative.
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People across the United Kingdom are waiting to see who will be the country's next prime minister – but the overwhelming majority of the population will not have a choice.

Conservative MPs Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are the last men standing in a race to become the next leader of the party and succeed current prime minister Theresa May. There will be no general election because May called a snap election in 2017, one in which the Conservatives lost parliamentary seats.

The UK is now is in a situation where an estimated 160,000 rank and file members of the Conservative Party will choose who becomes prime minister of a government that does not hold a majority of seats in parliament and which is tumbling in opinion polls. Johnson, a former foreign secretary and mayor of London, is the strong favourite to be declared winner of the postal ballot on July 23. But Hunt shows no sign of relenting. He has pointed to both his current role as foreign secretary and his past tenure as health secretary as evidence of his command of policy in government.

No matter who wins, critics say the lack of power that the general public has in choosing the next prime minister is a major brake on democracy. All the while, the October 31 deadline for the UK to leave the European Union – deal or no-deal – looms ever nearer.

We'll take a look at the two men battling for the top seat in UK government and consider what an unprecedented democratic deficit means for the country as it considers its future role in Europe. Join the conversation.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Tom Harwood @tomhfh
Reporter, Guido Fawkes
order-order.com

Danielle Rowley @DaniRowley
Member of Parliament, Labour Party 
daniellerowleymp.uk

Laurence Lee @laurielee67
Al Jazeera correspondent
aljazeera.com

Read more:
Boris Johnson, probably Britain’s next prime minister, dogged by questions of character - Washington Post
I watched as Jeremy Hunt failed our NHS. He’s unfit to be prime minister - Independent
This Is No Way to Pick a Prime Minister - Foreign Policy

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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