The contest to decide who will be the new Leader of the Conservative Party will start in earnest today when nominations close at 12 noon. It is looking as though there will be quite a few candidates to start with and then starting from next Tuesday Conservative MP’s will vote to reduce the number of Candidates down to two.
Yesterday, after Prime Minister’s Questions there was a statement from the Prime Minister on the meeting of the EU Council he had attended the previous day. Then there was a debate on the economy at the instigation of Labour and a debate on the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
The very short window for any would be Prime Minister to declare their intention to seek the Leadership of the Conservative Party opens after the meeting of the 1922 Committee this afternoon. As readers will guess there is much manoeuvring going on as people try and work our what is best for the Party and the Country. Of course , it also the reality that some will base their support on how their own career will be advanced. As I have always made it clear I am not concerned in seeking Ministerial office I can take a genuinely objective view. Ultimately it will be Party members who decide the outcome.
An update to the timetable I referred to yesterday. The timetable has to be agreed by the main Board of the Party and it appears they are concerned that as the period for consultation with members and voting is during the school holiday month of August it should be extended. Consequently, I understand the date of the announcement could be put back a week to 9th September but no doubt this will be clarified during the day.
The Executive Committee of the group of backbench Conservative MP’s met yesterday and agreed a timetable to elect a new Leader following the announcement by david Cameron that he is to step down. Nominations will open tomorrow and then close on Thursday. If there are three or more candidates Conservative MP’s will then vote next Tuesday and the lowest placed candidate is eliminated. Further votes will take place on following Thursdays and Tuesdays until the number of candidates has been whittled gown to two. Conservative Party members will then choose between these two candidates in a full postal ballot of all members based on one member one vote. The timetable then envisages a new leader being in place at the beginning of September.
I am pleased there is to be a swift process as we need to end the inevitable period of uncertainty as soon as possible. we can then proceed with the negotiations to leave the EU as instructed to do so in the referendum.
Meanwhile HM Opposition are in chaos. There have literally been dozens of Shadow Ministers resigning over the last couple of days.
MP’s return to Westminster today after the referendum recess and the political landscape has been changed completely. David Cameron is still in office but waiting to leave once the Party elects a new Leader. As for Labour I can hardly keep up with the resignations from the Shadow Cabinet. After the Shadow Foreign Secretary was sacked and announced in the early hours of Sunday morning there was a steady stream of Shadow Cabinet resignations throughout the day.
My focus will continue to be on providing a good service as a local MP to my constituents. I know a few are upset at the result but that is democracy. I have done what I believe is right for Bury and for Britain.
The Prime Minister is expected to make a statement to the House today and there may well be other emergency business brought before us. The scheduled business starts with questions to the Secretary of State for Defence and the House could then be sitting very late in Committee as it considers the Finance Bill.
Like millions of other I will be hoping England can become the second home nation after Wales to progress to the Quarter Finals of the European Championships.
Lord Norton of Louth has published an interesting post on how we arrived at the position of having a referendum. He traces the history back to that day back in October 2011 when I released the referendum genie out of the bottle. I argued we should let the people have their say. By the way, lots of people say there was no demand for having a referendum. I would respond by saying three things:
- All the polling evidence at the time was that an overwhelming majority (70/80%)of people agreed they should be given a say on our membership of the EU .
- The actual turnout in the referendum was higher than any recent general election.
- The holding of an In/Out referendum was carrying out one of the clear commitments in the Conservative Party manifesto.
Lord Norton’s article can be read here:
So after over 10 years as Leader of the Conservative Party and over 6 as Prime Minister David Cameron has accepted that with his failure to convince a majority of people to stay in the European Union the time is now right to hand over to someone else. He had after all clearly said he would not be Prime Minster going into the next general election. I
I have already been asked who I think will be the new Leader and the new Prime Minster. Firstly I think we should see what the full list of potential candidates looks like.Secondly, the bookies favourite is clearly Boris Johnson. Not so long ago the bookies favourite was George Osborne so things can and do change.
What is more important is that the Party gets on with delivering on the manifesto and with delivering on the wishes of the majority of the British people to leave the European Union.
A truly historic day. It is 4 years and 8 months since I moved the motion in the House of Commons calling for a referendum on our membership of the European Union. The Better Off Out Group which I have chaired for the past few years has held many meetings when the prospect of us ever achieving our aim seemed a distant prospect.
Let me say at the outset, we must not forget millions did vote to stay in and I think it is incumbent on all those who have campaigned to leave to ensure that our departure from the EU is done swiftly and efficiently.
The markets, as always, over react. It will be a good time for anyone to buy shares as there could be plenty of relative bargains to be had. Of course, things might not be as bad if the Remain campaign had not spent so much time saying how bad, things would be if we voted to leave and instead had explained the reality that as the World’s fifth largest economy we would be able to thrive What matters is that we as a Country make things that other countries want to buy.