British PM hopeful ‘invaded a country once’

British Army veteran, Tom Tugendhat, who has never held a ministerial role, was grilled about his leadership ambitions during a Sunday show

British PM hopeful ‘invaded a country once’
11 Jul, 2022 01:33 HomeWorld News

British PM hopeful ‘invaded a country once’

A former British Army officer entered the race bragging about his ‘leadership’ qualities from a military perspective

Tom Tugendhat, a 49-year-old Army veteran who chairs the UK Foreign Affairs Committee but never held a ministerial role, was grilled about his leadership ambitions despite apparent lack of political management experience during a Sunday show on Sky News.

“In leading in the foreign affairs domain where I’ve very clearly stood up for our country, defending our country against Chinese economic threats and against Russian bullying in many different areas,” he told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday

“Well, I invaded a country once,” he quipped when asked about the “naughtiest thing” he had ever done.

“And the reality is that my entire career has been about serving our country and leading in combat operations in Iraq, in Afghanistan,” he added.

The former Royal Marine served as an Arabic-speaking intelligence officer in Iraq, and became a Member of the Order of the British Empire after his service in Afghanistan. He was fiercely critical of the withdrawal, calling the fall of Kabul Britain's “biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez.”

Tugendhat announced his bid to become the next Prime Minister just a day after Boris Johnson agreed to stand down, although the army veteran already made his leadership ambitions clear back in January, when the embattled PM first faced the prospect of a no-confidence vote.

“We need a clean start,” he declared, adding that “trust in our politics and our party is collapsing.”

While Boris Johnson initially refused to step down, he finally declared his impending departure on Thursday, announcing he would stay until a successor is selected. While he has promised not to make any major changes in the meantime which could hamstring future PMs, many in the party – particularly those who resigned their positions over 10 Downing’s seemingly endless string of scandals – want him out immediately nonetheless. According to the Daily Telegraph, Johnson is now thinking about whether to remain in the House of Commons, like his predecessor Theresa May did, or to ditch his possible bid at the next election.

Besides Tugendhat, at least 10 other candidates are expected to clash for the top job, including former and current chancellors of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and Nadhim Zahawi, trade minister Penny Mordaunt, foreign secretary Liz Truss and office minister Rehman Chishti, former health secretary Sajid Javid, transport secretary Grant Shapps, attorney general Suella Braverman, former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, and former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch.

In the meantime, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, previously considered to be a frontrunner, abruptly announced his decision not to stand after “careful consideration” on Saturday. A recent YouGov poll of Britons’ top choices to replace Johnson placed Sunak third, behind Wallace and Mordaunt.