Why Britain’s Conservative Party Is Such a Mess

The British Conservative Party will have been in power for 15 years by the next U.K. general election. Yet it is struggling to craft a message that resonates with the British public—and to get party members themselves to agree on what they stand for.

The U.K. has actually had three different prime ministers since September—all of them Conservative Party members.

There’s Boris Johnson, who came to power in 2019 and promised to “Get Brexit Done.” The U.K. did officially leave the European Union in 2020, but Johnson faced countless scandals during his time in power. Most notably he was accused of violating his own government’s COVID-19 lockdown rules to hold parties with his staff.

These scandals led to more than 50 members of Johnson’s party quitting their cabinet positions in protest of his leadership. He eventually resigned, paving the way for a leadership contest between Liz Truss, his former foreign secretary, and Rishi Sunak, his former chancellor of the exchequer and head of the British treasury.

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