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What’s missing from the UK prime minister’s race? A British view

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The 313 Conservative MPs held the second round of voting to elect the new leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister of the United Kingdom. Each of the six remaining candidates – Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, and Rory Stewart – had to receive at least 33 votes to advance to the next round. The results, which were announced around 6 p.m. London time, were as follows:

  • Johnson: 126;
  • Hunt: 46;
  • Gove: 41;
  • Stewart: 37;
  • Javid: 33; and
  • Raab: 30.

The result eliminates Dominic Raab from the race. As many as two more votes by MPs will take place this week. When only two candidates remain, the full registered membership of the Conservative Party will vote for Tory leader.

However, as the race has heated up, analysts from the UK say some weighty issues have been missing. “One hoped – hoped I am afraid, in vain – that the candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party might have set out a vision for economic freedom, fiscal responsibility, and a lesser role for the state,” writes Rev. Richard Turnbull in a new analysis posted today at the Acton Institute’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website.

After the reviews the substantial promises made by the candidates standing to replace Theresa May, Rev. Turnbull – who is ordained in the Church of England and director of the Oxford-based Centre for Entreprise, Morality, and Ethics (CEME) – notes that politicians of every stripe seem to prioritize state intervention and dismiss the ability of British citizens to solve their own problems cooperatively through the free market. He writes:

I suppose no one, sadly, is going to be elected the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party with the following set of principles:

  • The government’s share of GDP shall be greatly reduced;
  • This will involve actively reducing the size and role of the state;
  • No spending proposals will be made unless matched by a greater number of spending reductions;
  • The regulatory regime of the country will be systematically reduced in volume and scope;
  • There will be an assumption in all policy proposals that the answer lies in the private sector and with private enterprise, unless it can be comprehensively demonstrated that government intervention is needed;
  • Parliament will sit for a maximum of 100 days in a year; and
  • There will be active delegation of responsibility to individuals, families, and local communities through the principle known as subsidiarity.

… The saddest thing is that the candidates for the Conservative Party leadership seem so incapable of advocating fiscally conservative and responsible policies based on time-tested principles.

The last candidate to advocate such a program was Margaret Thatcher, he writes. “How far we have come. And how utterly essential it is that we promote, advocate, and set forth a vision for economic freedom, liberty, and responsibility growing out of traditional Western ethics.”

You can read Rev. Turnbull’s full analysis here.

(Photo credit: Public domain.)

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Rev. Ben Johnson Rev. Ben Johnson is Senior Editor at the Acton Institute.

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