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Opinion
Therese Raphael

Boris Johnson's Battles Are All Internal

From foreign aid to tutoring for left-behind kids, Rishi Sunak’s spending views seem to be taking priority in Britain. How does that tally with “levelling up?”

Of two minds.

Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Of two minds.

Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Thanks to a technicality of British parliamentary procedure, Boris Johnson has managed to avert an embarrassing showdown with lawmakers from his own party over the U.K. government’s budget for foreign aid. But Parliament will still get to vent on the issue Tuesday, and plenty of other divisions are emerging within the government and the Conservatives on funding priorities.

While Johnson has the opposition Labour Party on the ropes right now, he also needs to keep an eye on potential enemies within. The relationship between a prime minister and a chancellor of the exchequer is often fraught — just ask Tony Blair and Gordon Brown — and the current holder of that latter post, Rishi Sunak, is an increasingly powerful figure with budgetary views that are naturally more stringent than No. 10’s.