Tory Leadership Runners and Riders
This is where the potential Tory leadership contenders stand this morning:
- Boris Johnson – Will announce he’s running within days. Jesse Norman, Nadhim Zahawi and Ben Wallace are phoning round MPs canvassing for support. Faces a battle to get on the ballot from Cameron’s allies, Remain MPs and a number of Leavers too. The story of the next few weeks is whether anyone can ‘Stop Boris’.
- Theresa May – Definitely a goer, the leading ‘Anyone But Boris’ candidate. Her aides did a ring around yesterday and a group of 20+ Remain MPs met on Friday where her name came up. MPs believe only she can beat Boris with the members. Several Leavers would back her. But would Cameron and Osborne?
Michael Gove – Many Leave MPs wanted him to run but he has always had reservations. Sunday Times says he is backing Boris. Out of the running.
- Stephen Crabb – Sets out his stall in two Sunday papers. Has the personal story but MPs say he isn’t PM material. Could be the Cameron/Osborne choice. Faces fight to the death with May to be the Remain candidate.
- Andrea Leadsom – Name has been doing the rounds for months. Leader of the Fresh Start group which will be a player in the next few years. Potential Chancellor?
- Liam Fox – Intends to stand. Has significant backing from the south-west contingent of MPs. Will he make a deal for a Cabinet post? Whoever squares him off will get a boost.
George Freeman – Who? He’s the Life Sciences minister and the Sunday Times says he’s running with the backing of 30 MPs from the 2010 and 2015 intakes. He has tweeted that he is “discussing how best to get a bold Programme of OneNation reforms centre stage. #NoPlans” UPDATE: Tells Crick he’s not running.
- Nicky Morgan – Arch-Europhile. “Friends” unsubtly briefed Sky that she was “taking soundings“, which was treated with as much derision as when she put herself forward at conference last year.
- Jeremy Hunt – Tipped by the Mail on Sunday today, and previously by Toby Young and Peter Oborne. Could Cameron and Osborne back him? His SpAd Ed Jones has cryptically posted on Facebook that he is “losing his job”.
Dominic Raab – David Davis’ old chief of staff is something of a hipster choice for Tories who fancy a flutter. Name was in the mix pre-referendum and he had a good war. An outside right-wing choice, seems a long shot. UPDATE: Told Question Time tonight “I can tell you now I won’t be running.”
Priti Patel – Has ruled herself out.
- George Osborne – Missing, loathed by Leavers over his scorched earth campaign and punishment budget. Isabel Oakeshott says he spent yesterday canvassing support. Has longer odds than Priti, and she’s not even in the running.
- Sajid Javid – Eurosceptic who went with Osborne and will forever live to regret it.
- David Davis – Said to want another go.
- Graham Brady – Chairman of the 1922 so has influence, said to fancy himself.
- Adam Afriyie – Genuinely not ruling himself out. LOL.
- Alan Duncan – hard for anyone he tells to keep a straight face. Attention seeking behaviour.
- Jeremy Hunt – well you have to dream. Will need a personality change.
So, who are you backing?