It just seems odd to me that after this election, someone who was not in any of
the debates could somehow become prime minister in a party that clearly won many fewer votes and seats than the Tories.
I'll admit that I don't know much of anything about the political parties/system of Britain, but I know enough to make sense of what Sullivan is stating here. Let me try and break it down:
Today, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered his resignation in an attempt to sway the third place party, Liberal-Democrats, to form a ruling coalition with the second place party, Labour. Initially, the Conservatives (Tories) were talking with Liberal-Democrats to form a coalition. This means that the Lib-Dems hold all the cards at the moment.
With Brown out, and if a Lab-Lib coalition--as they like to call it--forms, the Labour party would decide on a new leader, who would then be the next British P.M. I believe that is how it works; that's exactly how Sullivan puts it. Odd.