Boris Johnson: Three key tests that his successor as Prime Minister must pass – Scotsman comment
The first is simple: they must be honest. He or she should tell the truth even when politically or personally embarrassing, with the only exception being if doing so would put someone’s life at risk, endanger national security or cause some similarly serious consequence.
They must also demand the same from others in government. A good way to make this clear would be to restore the reference in the Prime Minister’s foreword to the Ministerial Code about the need to honour its “precious principles of public life”, such as integrity, transparency and honesty, “at all times”, words recently removed by Johnson.
The second is equally simple: the next Prime Minister should not break the law and should keep their word.
To be clear, both domestic and international law should be respected without exception and at all times. The most immediate issue is the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, in which the UK Government is proposing to unilaterally rewrite the recently signed agreement with the European Union.
This Bill may be no more than a negotiating strategy, but it should be ditched, regardless of whether it breaks international law – as many believe – or not. It is in the national interest for the UK Government to maintain its reputation for being true to its word, rather than resurrect the corpse of “Perfidious Albion”, particularly at a time when we need to negotiate trade deals with other countries.
It is also in the national interest to have friendly and close relations with the liberal democracies of the European Union. Brussels is not the enemy.
The third test combines ethics, honesty, and the need for the UK to be a good global citizen: the immoral, racist policy of sending migrants to Rwanda must be scrapped.
It was never really about tackling the people-smuggling gangs, but rather pandering to the worst instincts of Johnson’s Brexiteer base as his troubles mounted.
If these three tests are met, it will be a sign the Tories have returned to their senses and to more traditional Conservatism. If not, then our nightmare may continue for a while yet.
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