When U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss announced she was resigning on Thursday, she’d only been in office for 44 days. She didn’t even last as long as the “Liz Truss didn’t even last as long as …” jokes.
You’ve probably heard one or two. Liz Truss didn’t last as long as a head of lettuce. Liz Truss didn’t last as long as the cold I have. Liz Truss didn’t even last as long as the 10 Downing Street aide who suggested Boris Johnson properly comb his hair.
Truss’ Conservative Party will be picking yet another replacement for Boris Johnson, one who will guide the party until the next general election. While some have urged the party to call one now, due to the chaos caused by Johnson’s resignation in the wake of Partygate and Truss’ resignation in the wake of the failure of her economic package, the Tories have a large numerical advantage in the House of Commons and don’t have to dissolve Parliament until 2024.
Who will replace Truss? The odds are on her main challenger in the Conservative Party leadership election, Rishi Sunak — but it certainly won’t be Donald Trump.
Here’s the weird thing, though: He technically could become the prime minister of the United Kingdom, if he wanted to. This is almost impossible, but it’s something that seems like an oddity in the United States, where one needs to be a natural-born citizen who’s at least 35 years old to run for the nation’s highest office.
And, while the elected members of the Conservative Party weren’t particularly fond of Trump during his presidential visits, Tory voters actually back him; according to Business Insider, in a 2019 YouGov poll, 54 percent of Conservative Party members said Trump would make a good prime minister, as opposed to 43 percent who disagreed.
It’s also worth noting that Trump has touted his Scottish roots, with his mother hailing from Scotland. Perhaps he feels some pull toward his ancestral home. Whatever the case, here would be the process:
First, he’d have to get citizenship in another country. Now, you’d think that country would have to be the United Kingdom, but that’s not necessarily the case. Parliament is open to anyone over the age of 18 who’s a citizen of the U.K., Ireland or any “citizen of a commonwealth country who does not require leave to enter or remain in the UK, or has indefinite leave to remain in the UK.”
The Commonwealth of Nations is a group of 56 countries, most of which are former British colonies, which share some level of intergovernmental cooperation. Given that going through the citizenship requirements for every one of these would take forever, I’ll focus instead on the two most obvious: the U.K. and Ireland.
In the United Kingdom, one must first establish residency and live there for five years, not having spent any more than 450 days during that five-year period outside of the country, according to a government website — a difficult thing for someone with global business interests like Trump.
In addition, someone may only leave the country for 90 days in the year prior to their application.
Meanwhile, in Ireland, a person needs to “[h]ave a period of 365 days* (1 year) continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately before the date of your application for naturalisation and … [d]uring the 8 years before that, have had a total reckonable residence in the State of 1,460 days (4 years).” One must have been a resident for at least 5 years, as well.
However, an applicant can be outside the country for up to 6 weeks total and still be considered a resident.
If Trump obtains citizenship in an applicable country, however, he’s set for all the requirements for the next hurdle: becoming a Member of Parliament. To run for the House of Commons, all one needs to be is over the age of 18.
There are no residency requirements, either; while seats are apportioned geographically as opposed to proportionally, one doesn’t need to live in the constituency one represents in the United Kingdom. Bloody great system, this.
Now, Trump could either enter Parliament via a by-election — when a seat is vacant — or in a general election. The earliest he’d be eligible, of course, would be 2027 if he were to move over to the United Kingdom or Ireland posthaste.
If the current Conservative Party government doesn’t dissolve until it has to — which is 2024 — and that election produces a decisive result, the next general election would be in 2029. That’d be a bit of an issue for Trump, who’d be 83 at the time.
There are other issues, as well. While there are numerous smaller parties in Parliament, the prime minister invariably comes from the two major parties: Conservative or Labour, the left-wing party.
Labour, obviously, wouldn’t be too keen on electing Trump if their coalition controlled the House of Commons. The Tories currently have 357 MPs to Labour’s 196 — and while Labour has the large Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats on their side, that still only gives them 254 votes.
The problem is that the Tories opened up such a wide margin by dissolving Parliament and calling for an election in 2019, when Jeremy Corbyn was the party leader for Labour. Corbyn, for the unfamiliar, is essentially Ilhan Omar in the body of a 73-year-old white-haired, bearded man, and the hard leftist led the party to a dismal showing.
This time, the roles are likely to be reversed. According to the U.K. Independent, Labour currently holds a whopping 36-percent lead in polls — partially because it’s currently led by Sir Keir Starmer, who isn’t as noxious as Corbyn was, and partially because of the Tories’ numerous issues.
Of course, the House of Commons elects the prime minister — so whatever coalition controls the House of Commons controls the country’s leader. If the Tories were to have control after the first general election in which Trump was eligible, then, they could elect him.
But then, this is more of a thought experiment: Why would Trump leave the United States, a more powerful nation where he could have a 50 percent chance (or better) at being the next president for a 0.00001 percent shot at becoming U.K. prime minister?
Still, as Liz Truss is much in the news at late, it’s interesting to look at how easy it is for a non-U.K. resident to theoretically become prime minister. It’s also worth noting that, as Liz Truss’ time in office proves, it’s a whole lot easier to lose residency at 10 Downing Street than to get it.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.