The right result from Conservative MP’s but ultimately who will be best for Britain?
The leadership ballot of Conservative MPs has given Theresa May a combining lead of 115 over second-placed Andrea Leadsom. Does this mean that Mrs May is the best candidate to become Britain’s second female Prime Minister? Is she the right “unifying” force for stability that our country now needs?
As the BBC puts it, “Mr Cameron resigned after finishing on the losing side in the EU referendum.” The PM, a man of honour, recognised that the majority of the country was for “Leave”, and acted accordingly. Shouldn’t it also be the case that our new PM, especially one that has not been validated by a general election victory, represents the winning side from the referendum?
Theresa May is respected, experienced and, no doubt, would make a very good PM but will she have legitimacy in the eyes of voters? The clear answer has to be “No” for the 64% of the population who didn’t vote for the Conservatives in the 2015 general election. Victory amongst Conservative MP’s or from the 150,000 Tory members entitled to vote would certainly be impressive but it is not a popular mandate.
Our next Prime Minister needs legitimacy in the eyes of the nation and not just Conservative voters
If Mrs May wins the leadership contest she should consult with constitutional lawyers on the possibly of calling an immediate general election. This would breach Parliament’s relatively recent fixed-term legislation and Labour are unlikely to be accommodating but it will be necessary for Britain’s Prime Minister to have unambiguous authority when negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Of course a general election would only add to current uncertainty so it can be argued that a better outcome, after her being on the winning side in the referendum, would be for Andrea to win the Tory membership election. If she wins, and after that article in The Times it will be challenging, then Andrea will have been backed by Tory members. More importantly, being with the 52% of the electorate who voted for exit, she would have greater legitimacy and moral authority then May. Although this is a powerful argument there are many who point to Andrea’s relatively short time in Parliament, her lack of senior experience in Britain, let alone in Europe, and the fact that she hasn’t been fully tested by the glare of publicity over a number of years.
These are clear weaknesses in her case for being Britain’s next Prime Minister and if she wants to win she needs to address them directly. One way in which this could be done would be broaden her support amongst MP’s by announcing her proposed Cabinet well in advance of the final membership vote. By surrounding herself with trusted, capable and experienced former Minister’s Andrea would show that she can be credible in power and that she is determined to lead a united party to fulfil the electorate’s clearly expressed will from the 23rd June. Now, more then ever, she needs to show that she can command the respect and lead Westminster heavyweights.
A Cabinet united in its support for Brexit and a country open to the world
Who would United Politics readers recommend for Andrea’s Cabinet? Which of her current supporters should she enroll and which of those who voted for Mrs May should she court? She has just over two months to convince Party members that she has the gravitas and support to be the best lady for the job. Let’s see what she can do.
Click here to choose who you think should be in and out of Andrea Leadsom’s cabinet.