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    Why Britain Suddenly Has A New Prime Minister, Explained For Americans

    Basically, a bloke called Graham decided it.

    Hi America! So you might have heard that today the UK gets a new prime minister. This has happened much quicker than we expected and has taken lots of people by surprise.

    Maybe you’re thinking, Oh, that’s probably because the British sorted it out without any fuss in their quaint, traditional ways. There was probably tea involved. Haha NOPE.

    As we explained recently, ever since we voted to leave the EU, everything about our country has become ridiculous and confusing.

    NOW HOLD UP, YANKEE FRIENDS. When our prime minister resigns, it’s not like a president resigning! We don’t directly elect our prime minister – instead, we elect members of parliament (MPs), and whoever can ~command a majority~ of MPs gets to be PM. Which basically means it’s the leader of the largest party.

    Anyway, this means that rather than being chosen by all these people...

    ...the new prime minister was going to be chosen by these people.

    Everybody expected the race to be new prime minister to be a battle between these two people: Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

    Theresa May is the home secretary (the person in charge of stuff like the police, border control, and prisons). Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, is the best-known public face of the campaign to leave the EU and is a popular walking stereotype of a buffoonish aristocracy.

    Except that a few hours before Johnson was due to launch his leadership bid, he got unexpectedly betrayed by his second in command, Michael Gove.

    Gove was supposed to run Johnson’s campaign – but instead announced his own campaign. Which he led with a really impressive pitch.

    That left us with five candidates.

    There now follows a boring description of how the Conservative leadership race was supposed to work, which you can skip if you want tbh.

    In the first round of voting, Theresa May came first, and Disgraced Former Minister Liam Fox was knocked out.

    Michael Gove’s supporters continued their impressive pitch for his victory with a desperate plea to May's supporters to block Leadsom so May could then beat him.

    Extraordinary text messages emerges from Nick Boles, campaign chief of Michael Gove urging May supporters back him

    But he got knocked out, thus rendering his cunning Machiavellian plan to stab Johnson in the back entirely ineffective.

    My cartoon Friday @TheTimes on #Gove. Live by the sword....#ToryLeadership

    RIP Michael Gove.

    So it was May vs Leadsom in the contest with the party members. Whoever won, the UK would have a second woman prime minister!

    Anyway. It’s worth noting that up to this point, Theresa May hadn’t really done any campaigning.

    Andrea Leadsom's supporters came out in droves to support her, mounting the single most awkward march in recent political history.

    Stop everything and watch this video of Andrea Leadsom's march on parliament.

    I can't breathe it's too British.

    It was at this point that Andrea Leadsom imploded.

    Then she gave an interview to The Times saying that one of the reasons she’d be a better prime minister than May was that she had children and May didn’t.

    Tomorrow's front page: Being a mother gives me edge on May - Leadsom

    This did not go down well. Leadsom then made everything worse by insisting she’d been misquoted and attacking The Times for “gutter journalism”, which prompted The Times to release the audio and transcript of the interview, which proved she had said exactly what she’d been quoted as saying.

    Monday rolled around, and at 11am Theresa May finally launched her official campaign to be prime minister.

    Murmurs of approval in room as May kicks off by saying: "Brexit means Brexit & we're going to make a success of it"

    Look at her go.

    And then at 12.15pm, Andrea Leadsom announced that she...was dropping out of the race.

    "Don't believe I have sufficient support" -@andrealeadsom pulls out of #ToryLeadership race

    This confused the hell out of everybody, because the Conservative party rules weren’t entirely clear on what happens when a candidate drops out at this stage. Does one of the defeated candidates come in to replace them? Do they have to start the whole process again?

    So what actually happened was that in the end, the decision about who’d be our next prime minister basically came down to this man, who is called Graham Brady and is the chair of something called the 1922 Committee.

    At 12.30pm, dear old Graham came out and told the press that the Conservative members didn’t need to have an election after all, because Theresa May was the only one left. And that's how Britain found out it had a new prime minister: with a man called Graham awkwardly explaining rules to some people kneeling on the ground.

    So yeah: Around 90 minutes after launching her campaign to be prime minister, Theresa May was announced as the next prime minister, making it possibly the shortest and most successful political campaign in history.

    Possibly the most impressive aspect of it is that Theresa May managed it by doing basically nothing and letting all her enemies destroy themselves.

    Theresa May's leadership campaign so far

    So what now? Well, even though she was Team Remain, May is promising to uphold the results of the Referendum vote. She keeps saying “Brexit means Brexit”.

    And anyway, it’s still the case that nobody really knows what Brexit means.

    Right now there’s loads of lawyers running around London with little metaphorical hard-ons doling out opinions about whether or not the UK needs to legally uphold the result of the referendum vote. And 1,000 of them recently came out and said they don't think that the results of the referendum are actually legally binding.

    Which is pretty funny, in a laughter-dissolving-into-hysterical-crying kind of way.

    Anyway, this all happened on Monday. Unlike in the US, where you get a nice leisurely three-month changeover period, the removal van turned up at Downing Street the next day to cart all of David Cameron’s shit away.

    But hold up! Theresa May doesn't officially become prime minister until today. If we knew she was the last candidate standing on Monday, why didn’t she just become PM right away?

    Also, David Cameron wanted one last chance to shout at all the MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions, which happens on Wednesdays.

    First of all David Cameron needs to go there to officially resign as prime minister. Then he slips out the back, while Theresa May rocks up to – this is honestly what it's called – “kiss the Queen’s hand”, which is a thing she officially has to do before becoming prime minister.

    And like that, Theresa May is prime minister, and gets to move all her shit into Downing Street!

    And that’s today's British Absurdity Update. Check back in a few days' time when everything has probably all gone to shit again.

    whenever I check in with British politics:


    We're so tired.