Thanks All Who Put Me Up for PM, But I'm Backing Someone Else...

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.