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‘Transparency, accountability, plurality’: Christian leadership expert on what Tories should be looking for in next PM

by Tola Mbakwe

As many as a dozen candidates were on Friday eyeing up replacing Boris Johnson as British prime minister who is quitting after his Conservative Party turned on him, as opponents said they wanted him out of Downing Street immediately.

Johnson said on Thursday that he would step down as Conservative leader and prime minister following resignations by 60 government ministers, and many of his lawmakers telling him they wanted him out of office.

It came after he apologised for appointing Chris Pincher as his deputy chief whip, despite knowing about complaints over his behaviour.

So far just Attorney General Suella Braverman and Tom Tugendhat, chairman of parliament's Foreign Affairs Select Committee, have officially confirmed their desire to be the next leader.

Among those who are considered to be front runners are former finance minister Rishi Sunak, foreign minister Liz Truss and defence minister Ben Wallace, although none of them have as yet declared their intention to stand.

Marcus Honeysett is the founder of Living Leadership, and author of Powerful Leaders?: When Church Leadership Goes Wrong And How to Prevent It.

He told Premier the Conservative party should learn a lesson about the importance of taking careful consideration when looking at a leadership qualities.

“It’s a sad and sobering time,” he said.

“Irrespective of specific policies or political party, firstly, we're just seeing the terrible outworking of personality and carefully curated, winsome persona, but without character of depth. And in leadership, character, integrity, truthfulness, really matter, accountability to that's true for any of us in any position of leadership.

“Secondly, leadership from a Christian perspective, obviously, is using power and authority that have been delegated to us, to shepherd other people in love. It's not meant to be self-serving, it can't be about obtaining personal power. It can't be about one rule for leaders and another for everyone else.

“Those two things seem to me to be at the heart of Boris's own MP years, his ethics advisors, senior civil servants thinking that he's not fit for office. And I think I would have to agree, it does seem to have become about the leaders ego.”

Although the exact rules and timetable for the contest have yet to be set out, Conservative lawmakers will whittle down the hopefuls to a final two candidates, and then the party's members - numbering fewer than 200,000 people - will decide which one will be leader, and the next prime minister.

Honeysett said it’s important that checks and balances are in place to prevent another leadership fiasco in Downing Street.

“I most want to see our leaders taking the lead on transparency, accountability, plurality, and being strongly embedded in the community in such a way as community standards apply to me.”

He added: “I long for that kind of leadership that is in the light, that is not perfect, but whose instinct when confronted with stuff that we've done wrong, mistakes that we've made, sins that we've made, is to take responsibility and to not cover up, that's straightforward, not hypocritical. If not a Christian, still somebody who's dedicated to working selflessly accountably and honestly, for good governance.”

 “If I was going to lead a new ministry, the first thing I would do would be to say to other folk in it. ‘Listen, the person who's most in danger of abusing power is me. If you see me doing it, you have to pin me to the carpet. You have to stop me. Let's put in place the things that will protect everybody’. “

Listen to the full interview with Marcus Honeysett here: 

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