Johnson doesn't want to succeed Cameron

Boris Johnson will not run for the office of British prime minister. He does not feel able to unite the country, the most prominent Brexit advocate and former conservative mayor of London said on Thursday. Was Johnson the victim of intrigues in the Tory party?

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Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

A Shakespearean drama at Westminster

The exchange of blows in the Conservative party reminds Corriere del Ticino of a Shakespeare play, with Johnson's decision to drop his bid for leadership as a dramatic twist in the plot:

“This is hardly a noble gesture motivated by altruism, his leaving the spoils of the referendum victory to his party colleagues. More likely Johnson has fallen victim to a conspiracy. The presumed string puller here could be one of the following trio: Cameron, taking revenge on Johnson, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who controls The Sun, News of the World, The Times and The Sunday Times in the UK and doesn't like Johnson. Or finally the Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove, who announced his own candidacy for the post yesterday. Gove stabbed his friend in the back and delivered a fatal blow when he said he didn't think Johnson was suited to be prime minister. Like in Richard III, all methods are justified to get the crown.”

De Standaard (BE) /

More exciting than House of Cards

The chaos in London is complete after Johnson's surprising withdrawal, De Standaard comments:

“The screenwriters of House of Cards will lose their jobs, Netflix subscriptions can be cancelled. Series junkies who love political drama are now watching BBC World around the clock. The thrills are guaranteed and free of charge. The unexpected yes in the Brexit referendum has plunged British politics into chaos. Leadership crises have broken out both among the governing Conservatives and in the Labour Party, and there's no way of telling how they'll end. ... Who would dare claim now that David Cameron, whose sad corpse we saw in the last episode, is really politically dead? ... As it becomes clearer with every passing day that events are unpredictable and that a Brexit can take various forms, it seems that no twist in the plot is too implausible.”

The Independent (GB) /

Time for ideas rather than intrigues

Personal rivalries must no longer dominate the struggle to find David Cameron's successor, The Independent urges:

“What matters now is that this evolves from being the clash of personalities that was inevitably the main focus of these past few days into a battle of visions for 21st century Britain. When he talks this morning, Gove should dwell less on his new-found status as the most brutal assassin in Westminster, and more on where he wants to take Britain, and how he intends to get there. What will he do to ensure globalisation and technology don't destroy the life chances of Britain's poor? ... Fascinated though we are by the behaviour of this modern Brutus, it is modern Britain that should be foremost in our minds over the coming days.”

Kurier (AT) /

Not interested in tough job of leadership

The office of Prime Minister is simply too boring for Boris Johnson, the liberal daily Kurier suspects:

“Tackling issues seriously, or in other words the nitty-gritty business of everyday politics, has never been something the former London mayor is interested in doing. Not without good reason is there a rumour going round in London's political circles that Johnson never reckoned with the Eurosceptics actually winning the referendum. His goal, rumour has it, was a narrow defeat. Then he would have achieved a respectable victory and been able to go on bossing Prime Minister David Cameron around. Just as he has done at the Conservative party conferences of recent years, where he bathed in the glory of the praise of his party colleagues. But with the Brexit now clearly on the agenda Johnson has realised that the next British prime minister faces not just serious and laborious negotiations with a very uncertain outcome, but also a painstaking struggle for the posts of party leader and head of government. All that is not the kind of thing this brilliant showmaster enjoys.”

Politiken (DK) /

A reckless populist

The fact that Johnson, a driving force behind the Brexit campaign in its final phase, doesn't want to lead the Tories and become prime minister shows that he is shunning responsibility, Politiken believes:

“Boris Johnson may have had a hard time winning the election to party leader for party-political reasons. But his refusal to even run for election exposes him for what he seemed to be from the start: a reckless populist. If he is truly convinced that exiting the EU offers new chances for the old empire he should stay and fight.”

More opinions

Berliner Zeitung (DE) / 01 July 2016
  Luckily EU won't have to negotiate with Johnson (in German)