Who is Penny Mordaunt, the favorite to succeed Boris Johnson who promises to be a “Thatcher with good manners”

Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt appears as the favorite within her party to succeed resigning Prime Minister Boris Johnson. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

“I am the candidate Labor fears the most, and they are right.” MP Penny Mordaunt launched as her colleagues and leaders of the British Conservative Party stuffed a piece of masala kebab into their mouths at the elegant Cinnamon Club on Great Smith Street in stale London. “I am their `best shot´ (the best opportunity)… They are going to have to support me”, he added with a wide smile like the collection of old books that keep the shelves on the walls of this Indian restaurant that has been operating for 20 years in the old Westminster library.

Mordaunt became the favorite to lead the English Conservative Party and replace resigning Prime Minister Boris Johnson after winning the second place in the first round of candidates of an internal process that will have several instances of votes among some 200,000 affiliates and a result before September 5. The winner was former Economy Minister Rishi Sunak, who got 88 votes, Mordaunt came in with a solid 66 votes ahead of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who seemed unstoppable so far. And according to all the polls that were done within the party, when there are only two candidates left at the end of the process, Mourdaunt, would beat them all by a good margin. And what is fundamental in the particular British policy, was installed as new favorite in bookmakers.

The 49-year-old former defense minister officially launched her campaign shortly before the arrival of the Chettinadu-style duck main course prepared by trendy Indian chef Vivek Singh, vowing to return to the traditional conservative values ​​of “low taxes, small state and personal responsibility”. insisted that she is “very different” but indicated he would not call a snap general election to win his own term if he enters No. 10 Downing St. Mordaunt said he upholds the Conservative manifesto’s commitment to meeting NATO‘s goal of defense spending of 2% of GDP and increasing it by 0.5% above inflation each year. She also slipped that it was “a tacherista with better manners” and provoked laughter from the conservatives present. From a room next door, in which a group of MP’s (Members of Parliament) from the opposition Labor Party were having lunch, they launched some “booouuuu”, but all in a climate of elegant respect and acid humoras it matches.

Rishi Sunak Jeremy Hunt Liz Truss Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt (second, left) became the new favorite to lead the Tories after Rishi Sunak Liz Truss and Jeremy Hunt fell out. (Getty Images)

That friendly atmosphere is sure to change in the days to come as he begins to take the pressure that everyone who stands out has. He already took a lunge from one of his former bosses in the match. Lord Frost, former Brexit negotiator, said that would have “serious reservations about Penny becoming prime minister.” He assured that while they worked together “He was not responsible” with his task and “I don’t think he is up to the task”.

She defends herself by saying that her vision and government program can be found developed in her book “Greater Britain after the storm” which he wrote with Chris Lewis and has a foreword by Bill Gates. The Guardian reviewer said it included “few concrete political proposals”, but it was “peppered with mentions of freedom (“the light through which the human soul sees”) and modernization.” Despite the clichés of these books written for “bookstore campaigning,” Mordaunt has a reputation for maintaining a solid political background and a great speaker in Parliament. The magazine The Spectator named her “parliamentary of the year” in 2014. And she celebrated with a speech full of words from the “cockney”, the popular speech of the East-End of London, and others that she said she had learned in the shipyards of her native Portsmouth. He used the word “cock” (penis) six times and another five “lay” or “laid” (have sex).

penny went the first in her family to go to university, where she studied Philosophy at Reading. He paid for his studies with various jobs, working by day in local factories, including Johnson & Johnson, and by night, as an assistant to a magician. She says that he made a living by “disappearing and cutting me in two with a saw.” Later he dedicated himself to communications and public relations. He was a spokesman for the truckers’ association and for his own party. She was also the director of a national lottery distributor and a company that services diabetics. In between, she served in the Royal Navy and is still a reservist.

“I’m the best choice,” said Penny Mordaunt, making the official announcement of her candidacy after lunch at the posh Cinnamon Club on London’s Great Smith Street. (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls) (HENRY NICHOLLS/)

He lost the elections in 2005 when she first stood as a parliamentary candidate for her neighborhood of North Portsmouth, in the English Channel port where charles dickens was born and is preserved the battleship HMS Victory in which Nelson died during the Battle of Trafalgar. She finally got the job five years later and was re-elected three times. In 2014, Penny joined David Cameron’s government as Minister for Local Government. A year later she went to the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the first woman to hold that position. In 2016, she was appointed Secretary of State for People with Disabilities, Health and Work. A year later she returned to the Prime Minister’s Cabinet as Head of International Development and, subsequently, she became defense minister, again being the first woman to hold this position. Johnson took it upon himself to send her back to the promotion league after she endorsed Jeremy Hunt, the other party leader who wanted the premiership.

She was a staunch supporter of Brexit and participated in the deceitful campaign to leave the European Union (EU). The Labor-oriented tabloids remind him whenever they can of his “mistake” when he claimed that the UK would never be able to use the veto to prevent Turkey’s imminent entry into the EU. Neither was it imminent, nor was the veto impossible, but Mordaunt never rectified that statement that ended up being part of the set of lies that promoted Brexit. He also had an internal controversy with the social conservatives in his party by stating in the House of Commons that “A trans woman is a woman, and a trans man is a man.” The LGTBIQ movement applauded her standing up, but her bench mates wanted to kick her out of the party. She ended by saying that “They are a woman, but not like me”.

London newspapers generally agreed on Friday that Tory MPs prefer Mordaunt because has features to expand your voter base. On the one hand, in classist Britain she is perceived “no social class” opposite the fabulously wealthy Rishi Sunak. And at the same time his military training and his firm attitude could also be well received among the most right-wing. His own district of Portsmouth is socially diverse, and his re-election campaigns focused on measures to alleviate the rising cost of living.

Penny Mordaunt has held various posts in successive Conservative cabinets and now wants to return to 10 Downing St. with full power.  REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Penny Mordaunt has held various posts in successive Conservative cabinets and now wants to return to 10 Downing St. with full power. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

“With his vigorous good humor, Mordaunt promises to restore his party’s self-confidence after the collapse of recent monthsa message that seems to resonate, especially when wrapped in a comforting cloak of patriotism,” The Guardian’s domestic political analyst wrote.

And above all the Tories see in Mourdaunt a tougher rival for Labor leader Keir Starmer in a very possible snap general election. Despite successive setbacks, from Cameron’s fatal miscalculation in calling for a referendum on Brexit thinking that the English would never want to separate from the rest of the continent, with Theresa May’s bland interregnum, to the eccentricities and parties in the middle of Johnson’s Covid, the Tories believe they can continue to rule the kingdom and that Mourdaunt could be the key to achieving it. “Penny (Lane) is in my ears and in my eyes (Penny -Lane- is in my ears and in my eyes)”, they sing with amusement.


Five keys to understand the crisis in the United Kingdom and the resignation of Boris Johnson