Although the timing of Theresa May’s departure as prime minister and CON leader has yet to be confirmed there’s little doubt that we are very close to a party leadership election which will be unique. For the first time party members will be deciding on who should be the next Prime Minister.
It should be recalled that previous CON leadership contests which have gone to the membership have been whilst the party has been in opposition.
The current election process involving the membership was brought in during William Hague’s leadership during the 1997-2001 parliament. The first winner under the new process of IDS who not too long afterwards got booted out by his parliamentary colleagues. The next CON leadership election to go to the members was between David Cameron and David Davis in 2005. The former won although the latter had been the long-term favourite.
Mrs May, of course, won the leadership and entered Number 10 without having to trouble the membership. The last two in 2016 were her and Andrea Leadsom but the latter stepped aside a few days afterwards leaving Theresa May with the job as a walk-in.
The biggest challenge for Boris is whether he can get through the first rounds of voting amongst CON MPs, It is they who decide who the two person shortlist should be. The membership polling suggests that the former-Mayor would walk it if he is able to get his name on the members’ ballot.
I’m not convinced that he can because there are widespread doubts about him within the parliamentary party.