With all the recent weeks discussions about David Cameron’s leadership ending this parliament, the one thing that has crossed my mind is that if David Cameron is replaced as Tory Leader during this parliament, can the party, the coalition and the country cope with a long drawn out leadership contest?
The 2001 Tory Leadership election lasted just over three months, from William Hague’s resignation on June the 8th, to IDS being declared the winner on September the 13th andÂ The 2005 Leadership election took two months.
Now those elections were in the aftermath of general election defeats and the party was in opposition, but in government is it possible to have a proper leadership contest. Can the government, party, coalition and country deal with having a lame duck Prime Minister for nearly three months, and one coalition party is engaging in a leadership election for the next Prime Minister?
If the answer is no, then perhaps we could see a re-run of the 2003 Leadership contest, which saw IDS voted out and Michael Howard replacing him in little over seven days, when the parliamentary party decided to unify behind Michael Howard.
If a similar scenario happens this parliament, who would that benefit?
I think the biggest beneficiary would be Theresa May. One of the reasons I’ve been reluctant to back her heavily is that, in a normal leadership election, the conservative members have the final say, and some have not, and will not forgive her for her nasty party comments over a decade ago, and she wouldn’t win them over.
Theresa May’s best price to be next PM is 16/1 with William Hill
Mike Smithson is currently on holiday.