This article originally appeared in the Herald Newspaper on 5th June 2019.
At the end of this week Theresa May will resign as leader of the Conservative Party.
A premiership marred by almost impossible negotiations with Brussels, a lack of support from her own party and the inability to take sensible advice when given will end; the process of electing a new party leader, and therefore Prime Minister, will begin.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am not Theresa May’s biggest fan, however on the face of it she did what was asked of her: she negotiated a Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union and presented it to Parliament, where, as you know, it failed; three times.
It is easy to be critical of her and her Government in these circumstances, and to suggest, with hindsight, solutions: she should have consulted Parliament earlier, she should have listened to brexiteers in the party and so on.
However, truthfully, I don’t know whether any of these so-called solutions would have helped.
In the end there would still be a deep divide in Parliament, and the country, between those who staunchly wish to leave and those who wish to remain.
This divide will soon be the challenge for a new leader.
As I write, 12 of my colleagues have announced their candidacy for the top job.
I’m sure you will be relieved to hear that I am not among them, although thank you to the two or three well-wishers who suggested I should be!
The Parliamentary Party, guided by CCHQ and the 1922 Committee executive, will whittle this long list down to two through a series of votes beginning next week.
If all goes to plan then, once we have determined the final two leadership candidates, there will be a series of hustings across the country where party members, and members of the public, will be able to meet, question and scrutinise the candidates.
Party members will then cast a vote in a postal ballot and we should have a new leader before the end of July.
The candidates represent a wide spectrum of viewpoints from within the Conservative Party, and, unsurprisingly, a number of different takes on Brexit are offered.
For my part I will be supporting Michael Gove: Michael was a prominent member of the leave campaign during the referendum and is also respected by remainers within the party.
I believe he is in the best position to deliver the leadership that the party, and the county, needs.