As Theresa May makes her preparations to leave No.10, all eyes are now firmly resting on those who are ready to take her place. With the official line up of candidates now confirmed, the next few weeks are sure to promise a heady mix of pledges, gaffs, and the occasional scandal thrown in for good measure. Which got us thinking- if we were to make the decision ourselves, who would we hire?
While Boris Johnson appears to be the firm favourite, we’ve decided to delve into the CVs of other notable candidates to see who (if any) have what it takes to be the next Conservative Leader.
In attempt to make things as objective as possible, we’ll be taking a closer look at which attributes may curry favour with fellow party members, as well as reminding ourselves of any particular bouts of questionable behaviour.
Here is a brief job description to measure them against.
Direct Line Manager: HM Queen Elizabeth II
Direct Reports: Cabinet Secretaries of State
Position Type: Permanent (one month’s notice period to be given at any point)
Organisation: HM’s Government of the United Kingdom
Summary of Responsibilities:
- Oversee all aspects of government of the fifth largest economy in the world
- Keep all 66 Million UK Citizens safe and provide them with an adequate standard of living
- Represent The UK on the world stage with Dignity and Honour
- Deliver Brexit, ideally without the break-up of the UK and/or causing economic collapse
- May need to fight General Election as current Government has no majority or mandate to govern
- May also need to hold together Conservative Party with their bare hands
Process: Interviews will take place over the next few days/weeks. Final decision to be made by a vote of all registered Tory Party members.
So with that in mind, here is your shortlist in all its glory. Three strong matches, and one left-field candidate with some particularly interesting characteristics.
Eton, followed by Oxford 2.1 in Classical literature.
Work Experience –
- Journalist at The Times – fired for making up a quote for an article
- Editor of The Spectator – left to become MP for Henley
- MP for Henley 2001-08 – left to become Mayor of London
- 2008-18- Mayor of London. Served two terms and returned to parliament as an MP in 2016
First big Tory name to come out as a Leave campaigner; prominent in the Leave campaign. Following this victory, he was made Foreign Secretary by Theresa May.
Resigned as Foreign Secretary after the Chequers Meeting over disagreements over the Brexit withdrawal deal. Has since aligned himself with the ERG and the right wing of the Tory Party, advocating a hard Brexit.
In regards to Brexit, Johnson has committed to the October 31st deadline even if that means leaving without a deal; ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’. As such, he is willing to step up to no-deal preparations. He also said he would refuse to pay the promised £39 billion to the European Union unless better Brexit terms are on offer.
Sees himself as a ‘one Nation Conservative’. In essence, he’s big on small government, low tax and low business regulations, but more socially liberal on issues like gay marriage etc. than the more traditional conservative.
Huge name recognition. Popular with other Tory party members. Holds the party together in the short term by placating the ERG/right wing and promising reform in the future for the moderates.
Questionable brand and reputation outside the realms of the Conservative party. Also prone to errors, and already possesses a somewhat concerning history of gaffs and misdemeanours. In addition, Johnson has been known to jump ship on big policies, possibly in an attempt to benefit his own career. Could be seen as a pragmatist, but ultimately lacks credibility and seriousness.
Oxford, with a 2:1 in English.
Work Experience –
- Journalist at The Times, 1996 onwards
- MP for Surrey Heath from 2005
- Secretary for Education 2010-14
- Justice Secretary 2015-16
- Environment Secretary 2017-present
Gove brought in numerous controversial reforms to the education system- this included new examinations and testing for both students and teachers alike, as well as significant changes to the curriculum. This made him highly unpopular with those in working within the Education sector.
He was also one of the first cabinet ministers to champion the Leave Campaign for Brexit; Gove wrote a statement explaining why he disagreed with his friend David Cameron on the issue, arguing that Britain will be stronger outside of the EU.
Unlike Mr Johnson, he has not ruled out seeking a further delay to Brexit – possibly for months beyond October 31st. Advised that pursuing a no-deal scenario could lead to a general election, possibly resulting in Jeremy Corbyn entering Number 10.
Gove is also in favour of a very pro-business government. Would possibly get rid of VAT and lower business rates and Halt HS2 construction.
Well- known and popular amongst Tory MPs. Serves as an appealing candidate to business leaders. Also has a track record of positive environmental policies, such as the plastic straw ban.
Gove has openly admitted that he has indulged in questionable recreational activities including substance abuse. Has been accused of back stabbing Johnson and allegedly avoiding the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
Oxford, received a first in Law. Went on to gain a masters at Cambridge.
- MP for Esher from 2010
- Minister in the Justice Department, 2017
- Housing Secretary in 2018
- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union July 2018
Resigned from his Brexit Secretary post after disagreeing with the Brexit withdrawal deal that he helped negotiate; stated that he could not ‘in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU’.
He wants Brussels to ditch the Irish backstop as part of a new agreement, but if the EU will not move on the issue, he will walk away without a deal on October 31st.
He is a true believer in the Hard right and Hard Brexit ideals. Has suggested that he would be prepared to shut down UK Parliament to ensure Brexit’s delivery, which would therefore bring the Queen into negotiations if this were to happen.
Raab has the backing and credentials of the Hard right, with support from notable figures such as David Davis. He appeals to those wanting a tough and uncompromising leader to stand up to Brussels. Has also stated that he wants a change in the law to ensure that new or expectant mothers cannot be made redundant during pregnancy or maternity leave.
To non-Conservative folk, he is a particularly terrifying option. Resigned because he was upset about the Brexit deal he was in charge of. Like Johnson, he has a history of gaffs and somewhat misguided comments. Most notably advised that he finds feminists ‘obnoxious bigots’. Has realised that Dover is actually a very busy port and link to the rest of Europe.
Eton, received 1st at Oxford.
- Foreign service – Diplomat – Indonesia and Kosovo
- MP for Penrith and the borders since 2010
- Secretary of State for international Development 2019
Has written several books about his time overseas, as well as setting up a charity in Afghanistan.
Ruled out a No Deal- wants to form a Citizens assembly. Believes May’s deal is a much-needed compromise. Also passionate about implementing change on a personal and community level, and hopes to make the UK more economically established.
Stewart is backed by big Tory grandees such as Ken Clarke and Nicholas Soames. He appeals to moderates in the party, and seen as a softer Conservative choice out of the PM race. Has a proven record of diplomacy on the international stage.
Voted to remain during the referendum. Says the vote should be respected, but advises that it is still wise to address the concerns of the 16 million that voted to remain in the EU. Lacks the big personality of other candidates so may be overlooked. Once smoked Opium at a wedding in Iran.
And so to the big question- who would YOU hire? Who would you fire? Or would you just give up completely? Pop your comments below and let us know what you think.