ConHome members’ survey finds just 36% wanting TMay to lead party at next election

ConHome members’ survey finds just 36% wanting TMay to lead party at next election

The build up to the Tory conference

In the six days since TMay’s “not a quitter” assertion there have been several different surveys of different groups as to how they view the woman who lost the party its majority carrying on in the job right up to the next general election.

The latest from CONHome of party members will offer little comfort to Downing Street with just 36% saying she should carry on till the election.

It is party members, of course, who are the final arbiter of who leads the party if the process goes through to a members’ ballot. In July last year they were denied that choice after the number 2 in the MP part of the selection, Andrea Leadsom, pulled out after her controversial “I’m a mother” comment to the Times.

Since the current Conservative leader election system was brought in by William Hague in the 1997-2001 parliament members have only been troubled for their preference twice. First was after GE2001 when IDS beat Ken Clarke in the run off and 2005 which saw Cameron beat the current betting favourite David Davis, by a margin of two to one.

It is hard to see anything other than a proper leadership election whenever TMay decides to call it a day or gets pushed.

The latest rumblings suggest the PM is planning a reshuffle in order to assert her authority. The problem here is that such a process inevitably means some will lose their jobs and there’s a chance that they could become dissidents within the Party. The manner of her July 2016 ministerial appointments and the sacking of George Osborne highlight the challenges.

A big issue is what she does with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who has been widely criticised and is thought to be vulnerable.

If the ex-mayor thinks that he is under threat then his supporters could trigger a challenge. The Populus survey of MPs last week had him being rated by his colleagues as the one most likely to succeed Mrs May.

For all TMay tries to assert herself she cannot negate the fact that she called an unnecessary election three years earlier that saw the party lose its majority.

Mike Smithson

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