So, it seems my brothers have pipped me to the post.
I’ll deal with the candidates in increasing order of preference.
Liam Fox – Disgraced former Cabinet Minister
Liam Fox, disgraced former Cabinet Minster, who had to resign in disgrace following the controversy over the financial relationship with Adam Werritty can be dismissed straight away. Yes, he’s a Brexiteer. Yes, he has sound conservative credentials. But being forced to resign in disgrace is hardly what is needed for the next Prime Minister.
I know relatively little about Mrs Leadsom. She is relatively inexperienced and has never held a cabinet level post. What really puts me off supporting her is the apparent support from Aaron Banks – the odious Mr Banks who is such a supporter of Farage’s UKIP needs to be kept far, far away from the levers of power. Without denouncing Banks and refusing all support she cannot be fit to become Prime Minister.
Theresa May is a formidable politician. She has survived at the Home Office for six long years with few memorable scandals. She has been on the frontline of Tory politics since the early 2000s. The Home Office normally eats Secretaries of State for breakfast – the 13 years of Labour government gave us six. Surviving in this post indicates she is able. She supported the Remain side during the referendum yet I am sure would be a strong negotiator, able to broker an excellent deal for the UK. However, the authoritarian bills emanating from the Home Office, particularly in the realm of internet law indicate a flavour of conservative politics that I cannot support. I believe Mrs May will make it onto the ballot for members but unless disgraced former Cabinet Minister Liam Fox or Andrea Leadsom are on the ballot I will not vote for Mrs May.
The Crabbid ticket is interesting. Both are relatively untested, less so than Cameron and Osborne when they lead the Conservatives from 2005 onwards yet these are times when being a tested politician is more important than ever. I place Stephen Crabb so high on the list because of his likely ability to save the union (I do not believe the union is in as much danger as many others but it is a risk). Despite being a remainer I believe he would enact the will of the people without destroying the economy. With a strong negotiating team on his side he would do well as PM.
The Gover – as he was called by his erstwhile comrade Boris Johnson – would be my favourite candidate for PM. His reforming zeal and thick skin make him ideal to continue the reforms from the Cameroon era. The One Nation conservatism may not be obvious but with his reforms to the education system applied to prison system we’re likely to see a reduction in recidivism and a decrease in the cost of crime to the state. A Gove Premiership with reforms to the tax code, to the NHS, to every aspect of the British state along with renegotiating our relationship with the EU could truly revitalise the UK in a way that no other could.
My ideal candidate would be the PM we already have – yes, he advocated to remain, yes, he did so with gusto. But Cameron is a patriot who recognises the will of the people and would work hard to develop the best possible deal for the UK. After six years of service he has decided this loss means he cannot serve any longer. I disagree but fair enough. He’s earned a break. However, any candidate for the Leadership should remember just how good a leader Cameron was and is. Holding the party together, winning a majority. He has served well and built relationships with foreign leaders. He should be a key part of the negotiation team with our partners in Europe.
Note that it’s only Boris – stabbed in the front, back, sides by Gove his political career is seemingly at an end but cannot be written off. I do not believe Boris is fit to lead. A series of entertaining columns does not a PM make. With a good team he could have been a capable leader – but this is not the time for a clown.