UK's Johnson to step down in September; new PM candidates' development outlooks vary

Current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will step down on September 5, 2022, after losing the confidence of the Conservative Party; over 50 of Johnson's government ministers resigned during the week of July 4, 2022.

Six candidates remain in the contest for UK Prime Minister following the first round of voting, which took place on July 13, 2022. Conservative MPs will whittle down candidates through a series of votes until two candidates are left. The vote will then pass to a wider selection of Conservative party members for the final decision.

Former Levelling Up Minister Kemi Badenoch, Attorney General Suella Braverman, Minister of State Penny Mordaunt, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and MP Tom Tugendhat remain in the race. Rishi Sunak won the first round on with 88 votes, followed by Penny Mordaunt (67) and Liz Truss (50). 

Bookmaker, ODDSMAKER, labeled Rishi Sunak, former Chancellor of the Exchequer as the favorite to win, followed by Penny Mordaunt, a former International Development Minister, and Liz Truss, the current Foreign Minister. Rishi Sunak has been accused, by those in the development sector, of imposing further reductions on an already reduced ODA budget by counting debt relief and vaccine donations as ODA. While these actions fall within the rules set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as ODA-eligible contributions, many NGOs feel they should not be counted as ODA, especially given the UK's recent decision to slash its overall development budget. Penny Mordaunt is viewed as having a more positive impact on international development given her experience running the former Department of International Development and her time working for NGOs.

Chief Executive of BOND, the UK network for international development NGOs, has urged whichever candidate that takes over to reverse the UK's drastic ODA cuts. Ian Mitchell from the Centre for Global Development indicated that the UK commitment to return to the 0.7% ODA/GNI target based on fiscal requirements will likely be endorsed by all potential candidates since it was approved by Parliament. However, he noted that when exactly the requirements are considered fulfilled will be determined by the new Prime Minister and their Chancellor of the Exchequer.

News article - BBC

News article - Devex

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