After the second secret leadership ballot, Theresa May has once again commanded large support with 199 votes, and will now face Andrea Leadsom in the membership vote. She is the natural descendant of the Tory leadership and the right person to take the party, and more importantly the country, forward and through the instability we face.
She has the ability to unite the Conservative Party after a bruising referendum, she oozes the sensibility and stability that Britain and the electorate are desiring. She has successfully maintained the position of Home Secretary, a notoriously replaceable position, for the past 6 years. It is vital at this time of political and economic instability that we have a steady hand at the wheel, a senior minister who commands the intellect, level-headedness and experience for the job.
Theresa May will face three major issues in her tenure should she be elected Prime Minister. Firstly, she will have to unite the Conservative Party. She is clearly the most moderate of the two candidates and holds more progressive social views, an integral part of the transition the party has made since the Major years. One Tory MP recently described her as “sometimes extremely frightening, but she also is fantastically lovely and kind.” She has the potential to strike the balance between the determination of Thatcher, and the kindness to fully embrace the path of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ which has so far achieved well at the polls.
In her speech announcing her leadership bid, she made many remarks about the inequality, unfair playing field, uneven economic recovery and social justice that will appeal greatly to the ears of the public and plant our feet firmly on the side of working people as well as the middle classes, so we can truly claim we are all in this together.
The second main issue Mrs May faces is our exit from the European Union, getting a good deal for Britain which satisfies ‘leave’ voters and doesn’t alienate ‘Remain’ voters either. She has already expressed that the new parliamentary division which will be responsible for our exit, will be headed by a Leave MP. She has equally accepted that freedom of movement must change as we currently know it, but if possible Britain should maintain as much access to the single market. With a balanced cabinet, she can get a deal with satisfies both sides of the electorate. Clearly, one might worry that she is not committed to ‘Brexit’ as her Leave Campaigning counter part, but her record speaks for her.
She was told she wouldn’t be able to confront corruption in the police and she has. She was told she would not be able to open the investigations against Britain’s elite celebrities over sexual misconduct in the 70’s and 80’s, nor gain justice for the families of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough tragedy, but she has. She has the bravery, determination and stubbornness to negotiate a sensible exit from the EU, while maintaining Britain’s respected world image.
Finally, she will face the challenge of how to win the next General Election. Almost the entirety of the first two years of this parliament will have been consumed by the referendum. The Conservatives only have three more years before the next election, and a lot of promises to deliver on, they must simply get on with governing. Our exit from the European Union cannot dominate the years that now follow, it will not be enough to show the public of our achievements being simply ‘We got you out of Europe’. There needs to be more attempts to reduce the deficit, deliver on the promise to make all parts of the country feel the benefits of economic growth, continued investment in infrastructure and increasing the confidence of investors and shareholders to back a post-Brexit Britain.
Theresa May could be fortunate, Labour could still be facing leadership troubles for the foreseeable future and could still have Jeremy Corbyn in place as leader by the time of the 2020 Election. The task ahead of her, or indeed (x) remains a huge on. Never before has a new Prime Minister stood at the door of 10 Downing Street with so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the country. We are in totally uncharted waters, but we must remember we are a seafaring and adventurous nation, we will reach our intended destination.
The obvious concern with Andrea Leadsom is some of the supporters that she has and the potential direction she may take the party in. She has been publically backed by a number of Senior UKIP politicians, as well as receiving backing from Tory MP’s who typically find themselves on the right hand-side of the party. It is important the Conservatives respect the mandate of the public, the government must make attempts to reduce immigration and to allow for a full exit from the EU. Obviously Conservatives want to regain voters lost to UKIP at the last election, but it is not the right choice to align ourselves politically with UKIP to such a great extent as Leadsom would bring. The country wants progressive, compassionate conservatism, they must not be ignored.
Theresa May would be the best choice for the party and for the future of the country. She has the potential to be a fantastic Prime Minister and appeal to much more of the public than her more divisive counterpart. Whoever the party members should elect, Conservatives will be keen to show they are the natural party of government and can provide stability, progress, a brighter future and a country that works for everyone.