Suddenly Theresa May comes into the frame as Dave’s successor

Suddenly Theresa May comes into the frame as Dave’s successor

Some CON MPs think she’s “on manoeuvres”

I was very struck by a Telegraph article a couple of days ago from ex-Tory front-bencher and now CONHome blogger, Paul Goodman under the heading “Mrs May might – why Tories are tipping Theresa May for the very top”. This is how he started:-

“If you are a Conservative Cabinet Minister, and are asked whether you have ambitions to become party leader, your duty is to answer roughly as follows: “David Cameron will be Prime Minister for decades. I will have vanished into obscurity long before he wins his fourth election victory. The suggestion you’re making is absurd.” Posed the inevitable question last weekend, Theresa May answered: “We have a first-class leader at the moment [my italics]. David Cameron is dealing with the issues that he was left by the last government very well indeed.” This fell short by some distance of the grandiloquent encomium required.

There can be no doubt about it. The Home Secretary is, as Tory MPs would put it, “on manoeuvres” – discreet ones, to be sure, but unmistakable for all that: a recent newspaper interview compared her to Margaret Thatcher, and was accompanied by a clutch of previously unseen childhood photographs, which are to leadership campaigns what the first cuckoo is to springtime.

Her timing is shrewd. In the past month, Abu Hamza has been flown to America and Gary McKinnon has stayed in Britain. Had it been the other way round, those MPs would be selling shares in Mrs May. But now there is a veritable South Sea Bubble of interest in her prospects…”

Goodman’s thesis sounds plausible. Theresa May does give the appearance of trying to distance herself from the leadership. She’s also survived for two and half years in what’s traditionally been the most accident-prone position in government – Home Secretary.

She has the resolve, I’d suggest, to do to Cameron what Maggie Thatcher did to Edward Heath. Dave’s lacklustre performance at PMQs yesterday is hardly going to restore confidence.

Both Ladbrokes and Bet365 have her at 12/1. That might be worth a punt.

Mike Smithson

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