Party Leadership Problems

Leadership of the Parties – Tories

Both the Government and the Opposition need to get their leadership issues sorted before September when the aftermath of the Referendum Campaign will need to be addressed.

The first ballot of  the Conservative Members of Parliament is tomorrow and it will reduce the number of declared contendors from 5 to 4.   One of the best indicators as to the state of play are the betting odds.  These are todays’s odds at William Hill:-

William Hill – Tory Leadership Race Today & Yesterday

Teresa May 3/10    (4/9)
Andrea Leadsom 11/4     (2/1)
Michael Gove 11/1      (14/1)
Stephen Crabb 33/1      (33/1)
Liam Fox 66/1     (50/1)

Another indicator  of the state of play is  the number of MP’s who have declared which candidate they are supporting. Two bloggers publish figures –  Guido Fawkes and Conservative Home.  Here are their latest estimates:-

Candidates Guido Fawkes Cons- Home
Teresa May 89 107
Stephen Crabb 22 22
Michael Gove 25 25
Andrea Leadson 24 29
Liam Fox 9 8

Should a Vote Leave candidate be on the ballot of Party Members? 

Paul Goodman of the Conservative Home blog argues the case: “May believes that Britain needs a choice – not a coronation. We agree. Now let’s have a Brexiteer in the final.”  He cites figures about Vote Leave’s success.

What importance is to be given to the Referendum outcome is ultimately a matter for Parliament. The UK is not Switzerland.  This was an advisory referendum not one which has direct legal effect and there is a strong case for saying that neither the European Commission nor many of our EU Partners have understood this.

Further, the issue of what is to be done in relation to the Referendum is certainly not the only matter a future Prime Minister will have to consider. In essence, there is a strong case for saying that the choice of Prime Minister must be on the basis of who is best qualified to deal with all matters, not just those arising from the Referendum.

What Mr Goodman fails to discuss is the extent to which Poison Dwarf Gove and Clown Boris  mounted a dirty, dishonest and racist Brexit campaign on the instigation of the Dark Lord  Nigel Farage  – a campaign no better than that deployed at Smethwick in the 1964 General Election.  Clown Boris was torpedoed by the Poison Dwarf and is not now a candidate.  But the Poison Dwarf is.

The BBC has this story:  “Tory leadership: Gove and Leadsom say PM should be Brexit backer”.  There was a majority popular vote for Brexit.  But it was not the policy of the government.

The argument that it is necessary for one of the two ultimate candidates to be a Vote Leave advocate is not impressive.  Whichever leader is ultimately elected will, of course,  have to take account of the referendum outcome as will Parliament as a whole.  The Guardian has this:  Vote that could make Andrea Leadsom a Tory outlier – like Corbyn which makes the case for ensuring that a party leader reflects the views of the majority of the party’s MPs.

Parliament as a Whole is Involved

In a previous post  I expressed the view that the referendum outcome is a matter for Parliament as a whole:  see  Parliament must approve Brexit.

Yesterday, Mischcon de Reya issued this press release:  Article 50 process on Brexit faces legal challenge to ensure parliamentary involvement.  I can do no better than to reproduce what the partner with conduct of the matter says in the press release:-

We must ensure that the Government follows the correct process to have legal certainty and protect the UK Constitution and the sovereignty of Parliament in these unprecedented circumstances. The result of the Referendum is not in doubt, but we need a process that follows UK law to enact it. The outcome of the Referendum itself is not legally binding and for the current or future Prime Minister to invoke Article 50 without the approval of Parliament is unlawful.”

That is why it is incumbent on both the Conservative Party  and the Labour Party to resolve their leadership issues as quickly as possible. There can hardly be a proper debate until both HM Government and HM Opposition have got their respective acts together.

Conservative Leadership Race

The Rt Hon Teresa May MP (3/10)

The Home Secretary set out her position on Sunday in this  BBC interview: Tory leadership: Theresa May says voters want more than ‘Brexit PM’

You Gov has this:  Theresa May more popular than Gove even among Leave voters and the Defence Secretary is supporting her in the Mail: “I’m backing Theresa to deliver Brexit: Defence Secretary MICHAEL FALLON explains why he believes the Home Secretary is the best choice to become Prime Minister

Andrea Leadson MP (11/4)

Ms Leadson was interviewed on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning (starting at 26 mins).  Nothing was all that controversial.  But she was not always a Brexiteer – see this in the Daily Mail:  Hypocrite! Tory leadership hopeful and Vote Leave campaigner Andrea Leadsom previously said ‘Brexit would be a disaster’

Today, the Times has this (behind a paywall): Ukip accused of plotting to install Leadsom as PM


Certainly, this Poster will not help.    She seems to have some supporters she might not exactly welcome.

Ms Leadson is undoubtedly clever and might make a very good junior minister in the Treasury or the Cabinet Office.  But she does not yet have the experience to be a Prime Minister.

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP (11/1)

The Poison Dwarf, Michael Gove was also on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning (starting at 41 mins).  He was thoroughly unimpressive.  It will not perhaps help that Boris Johnson is now muttering from the political grave: “Here’s what Boris has to say about Gove’s ‘betrayal’


The Poison Dwarf in Judicial Drag.  Perhaps the first issue is whether Poison Dwarf Gove should be on the ballot at all.  Has he shown the integrity and ability required of a holder of the high office of HM Prime Minister?

Gove is at present  HM Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, in which capacity he is occasionally to be seen poncing about in judicial robes.  It is arguable that in reality he has been the Secretary of State for Injustice.  But even someone as incompetent as Gove has been ought to be aware of  the possible consequences of incitement to hatred on grounds of race or ethnicity.  After all, he runs the prisons where some of those convicted of such hate crimes are detained.

Yet he participated in a campaign which incited hatred of immigrants and there have already been some shocking incidents of hatred after the vote.

Then, of course, there is the question of how Lord Chancellor Gove has sought to deal with his erstwhile campaign colleague Clown Boris.   As some may recall, Jim Hacker, the fictional Prime Minister in the BBC’s ‘Yes, Minister’ series, described the Daily Mail as “the newspaper read by the wives of the people who run the country“.

Well the Mail on Sunday had a full set of stories on the leadership campaign  for the “wives of the people who run the country”  including this gem:  “Boris was blown up by a political psychopath but it was Mrs Gove who detonated the bomb’: RACHEL JOHNSON’S lacerating verdict on her brother’s betrayal”.   Nestled within the text and pictures there is a rather telling allegation:-

Michael Gove is the man who has said many times that he is prepared to put his principles before his friends, that he will sacrifice anything and anyone on the high altar of his ideology. But he must see, after what he has done, that he is now cast in the public mind not as a heroic man of conviction, but as a sort of Westminster suicide bomber, whose deadly belt of explosives has been detonated not by his own hand, but by his own wife.

One gets the impression that more and more people have come to the conclusion that Poison Dwarf Gove (political psychopath or not) is as unfit  for the office of Prime Minister as he has been found lacking in other roles.

The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP (66/1)

Dr Liam Fox was interviewed by Andrew Neill on The Sunday Politics (starting at 8.50 mins).  He was the only Brexiteer among the contenders who came across as entirely sensible, recognising that a Prime Minister has many more responsibilities than just dealing with the outcome of the Referendum.

Given the odds, it will be interesting to see how Dr Fox and his supporters move as the ballots take place.  Hopefully they will support Teresa May.

The Rt Hon Steven Crabb MP (33/1) 

Stephen Crabb and his running mate were reviewed  in the Mail on Sunday: “The unlikely lads: Tory leadership hopeful Stephen Crabb admits he and running mate Sajid Javid are young, but insists he has more experience than Thatcher did“.

Today he is in the Daily Mail: “The Tories could SPLIT if they don’t get past the ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ labels warns Stephen Crabb as he fights to avoid getting squeezed out of the race for No 10“.

Whatever the outcome of the ballots, Messrs Crabb and Javid are an impressive pair – and quite right in the assertion that it is high time for the Conservatives to get over the “Leave” and “Remain” division.

We shall see tomorrow how the candidate fare on the first ballot.

Labour’s  Leadership Issues

It remains to be seen who the Labour Leadership crisis will be resolved.  There is this in the Guardian: Trade unions can ‘broker a peace’ for Labour, says Len McCluskey

It doesn’t sound too promising.







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