Commonwealth leaders reject UK bid to oust Baroness Scotland

It’s just not your day, Boris! PM suffers fresh election setback as Commonwealth leaders reject UK bid to oust ex-Labour Cabinet minister Baroness Scotland as secretary-general

Boris Johnson suffered yet another blow today as Commonwealth leaders defeated a bid to oust secretary-general Baroness Scotland.

The PM had been spearheading efforts to replace the former Labour Cabinet member – nicknamed ‘Baroness Brazen’ after a series of controversies. 

The UK has criticised her leadership of the organisation, and supported Jamaican foreign minister Kamina Johnson Smith taking over instead.

Sources had been confident that the former Labour attorney general would be voted out at the gathering in Rwanda today, making her the first secretary-general not to be re-elected for a second term.

But in the end Lady Scotland emerged victorious by 27 votes to 24. 

The PM (left) had been spearheading efforts to replace Baroness Scotland – nicknamed ‘Baroness Brazen’ after a series of controversies

The UK supported Jamaican foreign minister Kamina Johnson Smith taking over instead

Ms Johnson Smith tweeted today: ‘Thanking all the countries and people who supported me in this journey!

‘As I said to many of you- if I didn’t pull through, God wasn’t ready for me to leave Jamaica yet! 

‘Much love always, I continue to serve, and of course, sincere congratulations to Baroness Scotland.’

Mr Johnson had already been hit with a double-whammy of Tory by-election defeats at home before the latest setback.  

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told MPs on Tuesday that the UK supports Ms Johnson Smith.

Ms Johnson Smith has rejected claims that she is being used as a puppet by the British Government in a power struggle for the leadership of the Commonwealth. 

She welcomed Boris Johnson’s backing, but told The Times that any suggestion that she was as much a proxy candidate for the UK as Jamaica’s choice was ‘offensive’.

Baroness Scotland has dismissed claims she withheld a report on the financing of the Commonwealth. 

The Commonwealth secretariat, the body which she leads, received the review containing recommendations on its future funding earlier this month.

It followed a decision by the Commonwealth’s biggest funders to temporarily reduce support in 2020 following allegations of cronyism. 

A Commonwealth spokesman denied that publication of the report was deliberately delayed until after the leadership vote.

Prince Charles, Lady Scotland, Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Mr Johnson on stage in Kigali today

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