The unexpected MP who is positioned to defy the odds and take crown as next Tory leader | Politics | News

March 25, 2024
25 Views
3 Comments


To slightly misquote the author Mark Twain: “There are lies, there are damned lies and then there are Tory leadership rumours.”

The ferment of speculation over Rishi Sunak‘s position in recent weeks has produced so much fake news and downright mistruths that it has been hard to discern whether anything is fact at all.

For example, former Tory chairman Sir Jake Berry and European Research Group (ERG) chairman Mark Francois are still fuming over the claim (apparently briefed by Downing Street) that they were behind a plot to replace Sunak with Penny Mordaunt in some sort of coronation.

Ms Mordaunt made it clear she is unhappy that any plot went public at all and spent a lot of time a week ago assuring journalists privately and publicly that she had nothing to do with it.

On another line, it is impossible to know if publicly declared rebel Sir Simon Clarke is correct when he suggested that they are only two letters away from Tory MPs to call a vote of confidence in Sunak as party leader. In reality, only the chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady knows that and he is saying nothing.

But often the gossip, rumours and possible lies are at least an indication of who Conservative MPs are thinking about as a possible replacement for Sunak. That was certainly true of Penny Mordaunt who, not surprisingly, is the bookie’s favourite. It was also true of his claims around a push to make Kemi Badenoch leader just before the New Year.

And a briefing doing the rounds on Friday and Saturday has now thrown up a surprise name as a possible leader. Or at least a surprise for the bookmakers who are quoting this particular MP at anything up to 20/1.

A number of sources claimed that former Defence Secretary and ex-Chief Whip Sir Gavin Williamson (a superb organiser often accused of being closely associated with the dark arts) was whipping support for former Home Secretary Dame Priti Patel.

“It’s a lie,” Sir Gavin bluntly told Express.co.uk, pointing out several other contenders he has been accused of “whipping” for in the last few weeks including former leader Liz Truss.

While some uncharitably noted that “he would say that wouldn’t he” there seems to be no evidence that Dame Priti has a leadership operation up and running. Indeed she has publicly been preaching loyalty to Sunak.

None of that means that Dame Priti does not want to be leader at some point (she does). But more importantly, the existence of the rumour (false or not) suggests that she is now being seriously considered as an alternative to Sunak or a post-election replacement.

Funnily enough, just over a week ago in another piece of fake news, she was being described as a supporter of Grant Shapps being the next leader.

There are a number of reasons for this. First, is that the MPs will probably need to present a candidate from the left (probably Mordaunt) and one from the right. As far as the right of the party is concerned there are some established names – Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch, Robert Jenrick and Dame Priti.

If you believe the bookmakers Dame Priti is a distant fourth on that list, especially after Jenrick appeared to break cover with his own ambitions last week. But her chances may be underestimated.

If Sunak goes in May, then it is likely she will have the backing of Liz Truss and pro-growth economic Conservatives on the right because of her views on low taxes and cutting spending.

Also, as one MP noted: “She has become much more moderate in recent months and reached out to the One Nation MPs (on the left) so would be a much more acceptable candidate for them.”

Some on the right do not trust her for failing to join the rebellion over toughening up the Rwanda Bill.

But another MP said: “People seem to forget Rwanda was her idea, not Suella’s. She also managed to get the only concession out of the government on the Bill by working with them.”

Dame Priti has, according to sources, also been building a potential alliance with Security Tom Tugendhat on the left of the party which could give her broader support. He is a former leadership candidate himself though and may want to run.

But most important has been her work with grassroots Conservatives. Dame Priti has been touring the constituencies meeting ordinary members, helping her colleagues and was pivotal in setting up the Conservative Democratic Organisation to get members engaged again.

Meanwhile, one Braverman supporter said: “I’m afraid there is only a small group willing to back Suella. We may need to support Robert [Jenrick] instead.”

Braverman struggles to reach out across the party which could see the candidate of the right being between Patel and Jenrick if they can squeeze out Badenoch. Both are long-ish odds but both stand a much better chance than the longshot betting suggests.

If MPs do force out Sunak – still a big if – then do not be surprised if the Tories turn to someone outside the list of favourites.



Spread the love

You may be interested

Kamala Harris campaigns in Arizona, blames Trump for abortion ruling
Health
shares3 views1
Health
shares3 views1

Kamala Harris campaigns in Arizona, blames Trump for abortion ruling

Rajendran Achuthan - Apr 13, 2024

[ad_1] Kamala Harris campaigns in Arizona, blames Trump for abortion ruling - CBS News Watch CBS News Vice President Kamala…

Grand National 2024 style: Outfits at the Aintree races
Fashion
shares2 views
Fashion
shares2 views

Grand National 2024 style: Outfits at the Aintree races

Rajendran Achuthan - Apr 13, 2024

[ad_1] Today is Ladies Day at the 176th annual running of the Grand National horse race, where it is tradition…

Best New Music from Dua Lipa, Future, Metro Boomin’, and More
Music
shares4 views1
Music
shares4 views1

Best New Music from Dua Lipa, Future, Metro Boomin’, and More

Rajendran Achuthan - Apr 13, 2024

[ad_1] Welcome to our weekly rundown of the best new music — featuring big new singles, key tracks from our favorite albums, and…

3 Responses

  1. Usually I do not read article on blogs however I would like to say that this writeup very compelled me to take a look at and do it Your writing style has been amazed me Thank you very nice article

    Reply
  2. Thanks I have just been looking for information about this subject for a long time and yours is the best Ive discovered till now However what in regards to the bottom line Are you certain in regards to the supply

    Reply
  3. Fantastic beat I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site how could i subscribe for a blog site The account helped me a acceptable deal I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept 토토솔루션분양

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.