A Path Forward in the Wake of Recent Challenges and the Upcoming Leadership Election

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A Path Forward

The Conservative Party's recent woes, including the temporary deletion of their Twitter account, have left them in a precarious position. While identifying a clear path forward may take time, the remaining members of the parliamentary Conservative party must form an effective opposition.

Sunak's Role as Opposition Leader

Rishi Sunak, the outgoing Prime Minister, will take on the role of opposition leader. This transition will involve facing Keir Starmer in their new roles, with the first substantive clash expected on Wednesday, July 17th, following the King's Speech.

Duration of Sunak's Leadership

Sunak's tenure as opposition leader could vary significantly. He could follow the example of James Callaghan, who remained leader of the opposition for over a year after losing the 1979 election, or he could choose a shorter stint like John Major's seven weeks in 1997. Alternatively, he could opt for a swift handover, similar to Gordon Brown's 2010 decision to pass on PMQs responsibilities to Harriet Harman.

Leadership Election Timeline

The timing of the Conservative leadership election remains uncertain and will depend on internal party maneuvers. The newly reconstituted 1922 Committee will need to consult the wider party on any changes to the election rules and the role of party members. This process could take weeks or even months, potentially impacting the length of Sunak's leadership.

Impact on the Public

The extended leadership election process could benefit lesser-known contenders like James Cleverly and Victoria Atkins, while a quicker process would favor current frontrunners like Kemi Badenoch, Robert Jenrick, and Tom Tugendhat. Ultimately, the longer it takes to elect a new leader and form a shadow cabinet, the longer it will take for the Conservatives to rebuild and effectively challenge the government. This could create an opportunity for other parties like the Liberal Democrats and Reform UK to gain ground.


Sunak's remaining weeks in office will be crucial for the Conservatives' future. The party needs to present a united front and develop a clear vision to regain public trust and effectively oppose the government. The leadership election process and the choice of the next leader will play a significant role in determining the party's trajectory in the coming years.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09