Tory Struggle – Is May’s Leadership in Jeopardy?
Possibilities of a Leadership replacement among the Tory party are currently circulating across the mainstream media after a disastrous snap-election.
Among the higher-ups of the Tory party, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is slated as the favourite to replace current Tory leader Theresa May as Conservative Leader, and by default Prime Minister. Other contenders include Brexit Secretary David Davis, Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, among others. Johnson’s previous leadership bid in 2015 was crushed, though he remains as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and current Brexiter-in-chief.
However, Johnson has bashed claims that he will attempt to replace Theresa May, claiming the idea to be ‘tripe,’ after a June 11th Poll by The Mirror revealed ‘half the public think Theresa May should quit as PM after failing to win a majority in the general election.’ Despite Boris’ intentions to back the Prime Minister after the disastrous results of the snap-election, it is still likely that the other contenders could make for a leadership bid at any time.
Considering this possibility, who would be best to replace Mrs. Mar – if inevitable – for the sake of maintaining Brexit? Let’s go over the most popular candidates.
Boris Johnson maintains a strong political history in the Tory party, becoming MP of Henley on Thames with a majority of 8’500 votes in 2001. In later years Johnson claimed positions from Shadow Arts Minister (2004), to Mayor of London (2008-2016) before becoming Foreign Secretary in 2016, as well as a key Brexit campaign figure.
In a major interview on May 12th 2017, Johnson suggested that Brussels should pay Britain a Brexit divorce, as the UK had already given a sizeable sum of assets to the EU, accusing the bureaucratic circus of wanting to “Bleed this country white,” as well as believing that Britain can leave the Union without paying anything, believing no deal to be better than a bad one.
However, Johnson appears to adopt the unattractive trend of placing blame on Russia for poor opinion polls, claiming there is a “realistic possibility” that Vladimir Putin may have wanted to sabotage the general election, believing Putin would have preferred a Corbyn landslide on June 8th.
First thing to note about Hammond is that he supported remain during the EU referendum. Not a good first sign for a prospective Prime Minister ahead of Brexit talks.
Philip Hammond’s past roles in the party range from the Secretary of State for Transport (2010-2011), and Defence (2011-2014), then becoming Foreign Secretary in 2014, succeeded by Johnson in 2016.
Before his political career, Hammond worked for a small pharmaceutical company after receiving a degree in Philosophy, Economics and Politics at Oxford University.
A report from the Financial Times slates Philip Hammond as ‘the politician to salvage a Brexit deal,’ calling Philip Hammond ‘A pragmatist rather than a natural Europhile.’ Now, it’s no secret that relations between Hammond and May have been sour, with even May’s joint chiefs of Staff, Nicholas Timothy and Fiona Hill, placing Hammond as a priority target, as he was frozen out of the election campaign.
Even so, can a staunch remainer be trusted with giving us the best Brexit deal possible? Regardless of the results of the snap-election, the vote for a hard-Brexit in 2016 has not changed, and result of a hung parliament does not allow rhetoric that voters are somehow ‘rejecting hard-Brexit’ as slated by interventionists such as Gina Miller,a prominent remainer trying to anti-democratically block Brexit at any turn possible.
Is Philip Hammond a worthy candidate to take over Brexit talks considering the little support he’s shown for leaving the EU despite the result being irreversible?
Another staunch remainer during the referendum, even launching some concerning attacks on Boris Johnson during the campaign of 2016.
Rudd’s political career began as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2012, before rising to Home Secretary in 2016 to present day.
Prior to her political career, Rudd worked as a financial journalist, and a venture capitalist after working in both London and New York with JP Morgan.
In the recent snap-election, Rudd maintained her seat in Hastings & Rye with a narrow margin of 346 votes after a recount.
After former PM David Cameron quit following the Brexit victory, Rudd – rather than shoot for leadership – rallied behind Theresa May against Andrea Leadsom, both Rudd and May being passionate remainers at the time.
Rudd has faced heavy criticism following the London Bridge attack after claims that the 20’000 less police officers in the UK had made the country weaker versus terror attacks.
However, in her defense, Rudd picked up the reigns that Mrs May dropped before June 8th by attending leadership debates, as well as trying to keep the key focus of such debates on Brexit, and popularising the infamous “magic money tree” criticism against Corbyn’s sensationalist manifesto.
Despite Rudd’s history as a remainer, could she, like Mrs. May have adjusted to the political climate and realized that Brexit is necessary for the country?
Probably the most extreme Brexiter of the lot, Davis has banged on about leaving the European Union before ‘Brexit’ even became a popular term. Even so, is he capable of leading the talks as Prime Minister?
Davis supported Leave during the referendum last year.
Davis’ political life began as early as 1994, becoming the Minister of State for Europe, and in later years attaining key positions such as the Chairman of the Conservative Party (2001-2002) before becoming Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union in 2016 to present day.
Before his political career, David worked as an insurance clerk and became a member of the Territorial Army’s 21 SAS Regiment, then later worked for Tate & Lyle for 17 years before entering politics.
Following the disastrous results of the snap-election, Davis stated: “This is a more disrupted election in a way, with all sorts of changes geographically in Scotland and the north of England.”
However, The Guardian reports that Davis believes May is “incredibly effective” as Prime Minister, with Davis stating: “We have been given an instruction by the British people, given a decision by the British people. It’s now for us to go back and do the job, not to bicker amongst ourselves about whose fault it was, or whatever, but to get on with the job. And the job is an incredibly important one.”
Evidently, Davis doesn’t have much intention in ousting Mrs. May, though if a leadership election were to arise, there’d be nothing to stop him in that regard.
Davis clearly maintains his strong dedication for Brexit, and even condemns the infighting and bickering of the party following the hung parliament result of the election. Is Davis perhaps the most pragmatic and mature of the bunch to handle Brexit officially?
Whomever you believe is the most capable to handle Brexit should Theresa May be replaced, one thing to be remembered is to keep holding the Tory’s feet to the fire on giving us the hard-Brexit we voted for, especially if we get a clear remainer like Hammond. Perhaps the best thing is for May to stay on as PM and not indulge the bickering up top, or maybe a new line of leadership is in order. The next few weeks will certainly decide that much.