Ever since the Prime Minister’s Chequers Plan was developed, a threat has been looming over Theresa May’s head. Facing a backlash from all sides, May’s plan to split the difference between Leave and Remain — by being a bit out and a bit in — has caused a ruckus, and finally, the inevitable has happened. Tory MP Philip Davies has submitted a letter of no-confidence to the chair of the backbench 1922 committee.
For a no confidence vote to be triggered, 48 letters from Conservative MPs - 15 per cent of the parliamentary party - have to submit letters to the chairman Graham Brady.
If a vote is triggered, the prime minister would need to win the votes of more than half of the Tories’ 316 MPs to survive.
Defeat for the Prime Minister would mean an election to choose a new leader, in which she would not be allowed to stand. But if she won a confidence vote, she could not be challenged in this way again for another year.
But due to the secretive nature of the process, it is not known how many other Tory MPs have submitted letters.
Is this it then for Theresa May? Will she survive to be very clear about being strong and stable again? She’s been rather a hostage Prime Minister since the ‘NOT ANOTHER ONE’ election, and her enemies initially seemed content to let Brexit happen on her watch before swooping in. If someone new takes over now, their name will forever be attached to the chaos that their own government is warning about while refusing to steer away from. (Seriously, it’s no good shouting ‘Iceberg, full ahead’, if you are in charge of the ship and you’re not even going to try and avoid it. There’s no credit for knowing about it if you didn’t do anything about it. If anything, it’s worse. Maybe. It’s definitely not better, anyway.)
So who might be in the running to take over as PM? Your resident Totally Serious Political Commentator is here to run you through the candidates! Pour yourself a stiff drink, and let’s dive in.
The Mediocre Rich White Man: Boris Johnson
All that bumbling is a desperate attempt to hide a megalomaniacal will. Slippery and not to be trusted. Changes his political views more often than he changes his pants. In the papers at the moment for infidelity and divorce, but that won’t damage his base, and those should be way down the list of reasons not to vote for him as leader of the party. Ugh. Don’t let this happen.
Mediocre Rich White Man 2: Return Of The Mediocre Rich White Man, And This Time, Run For Your Lives Because It’s Jacob Rees-Mogg
Dirty Grease-Bog is the Mike Pence to Boris Johnson’s Trump. Which is worse? NO-ONE WANTS TO FIND OUT. Rees-Mogg’s views haven’t changed in centuries, and they never will. For the love of preventing Gilead Britain, please no.
The Reason Teachers Buy Wine In Bulk: Michael Gove
The man can’t figure out how to drink a glass of water, but some people think he could run a country. He’s even described as a Medium Tory by some. Please no. No no no. Perhaps he’s the lesser of the first three evils, but I just threw up in my mouth writing that.
The Mediocre White Man Whose Name Isn’t Really Rhyming Slang But May As Well Be: Jeremy Hunt
This is a guy who just can’t stop failing upwards. Doctors and nurses feel the same way about him as teachers do about Gove. For the sake of live broadcasters, this guy can’t be in the news every day. Think of presenters’ blood pressure: ‘don’t say it, don’t say it. It’s HUNT. HUNT, HUNT, HUNT.’ Like Bridget Jones desperately trying not to say Tits Pervert. Every day. And, you know, he’s run the NHS into the ground, so if they have a heart attack from the stress, who will be there to help them?
That Stern White Lady: Amber Rudd
The former Home Secretary was high on the bookies’ lists last time people thought May might go, but having fallen on her sword during the Windrush scandal, she is looking unlikely as a potential leader now.
That White Lady Who Lost Last Time: Andrea Leadsom
Yep, this is the woman who thought she cared about the future more than May, by virtue of having given birth. No thank you, please.
That White Lady Who We Like On Brexit So We Sometimes Ignore The Fact She’s A Tory: Anna Soubry
Never going to happen, sadly. If Theresa May is being ousted because of her lukewarm Brexit, there’s no way they will replace her with a fiery Remainer. Dare to dream.
That Other White Lady, Who Can’t Be That Tory Because She’s Gay And Scottish: Ruth Davidson
A pro-EU, socially liberal, relatively centrist candidate who campaigns for LGBT rights — sounds good so far! She’s someone who doesn’t want the job, which means she’s probably the best person for it. She’s already leader of the Scottish Conservative party, and is seen as that rare kind of Tory who can appeal to young people. Can an MSP take over as PM? Rules, schmules. She’s the clear stand-out candidate here.
Oh My Gosh, This Guy’s Not White, But Wait, He’s A Thatcherite, Never Mind: Sajid Javid
Amber Rudd’s replacement at the Home Office. Picks fights with Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn; loses. Unlikely to want to attach his name to Brexit, he’s more likely to bide his time and play the long game.
The White Guy With The Briefcase: Philip Hammond
Does the sums for May, and is more likely to be thrown out with the bathwater than slide into the house next door. Sorry not sorry, Philip.
One Of The Other White Guys From The Cabinet, Who All Look The Same: Miscellaneous
You couldn’t pick most of the cabinet out of a lineup, honestly. The government’s ‘who’s who in the cabinet’ page looks like one of those paint sample charts from B&Q that covers the full spectrum from milky white to pinky white. The only differences are degrees of hair, eyebrow and teeth. None of these have any star power, though their bland anonymity might be a bonus for some; at least they aren’t notorious, I guess…
Finally: That Guy We Won’t Be Mean About Because He’s My Friend From University: Andrew Stephenson.
Hey Andy! We always said you’d be PM one day. It’s probably not the right time, but you could be the long shot candidate in this race, and if you are, I’ll be after an exclusive interview. Just so you know. (Don’t worry: what happens at uni, stays at uni.)
If the mutineers get enough people on-side to trigger a vote of no confidence, and if May loses and there’s a new leader, you know what that means!
ANOTHER GENERAL ELECTION!
Does anyone remember when politics wasn’t so exhausting? Anyone? No?
Let’s have your picks for worst and ‘least worst’ candidates in the comments! (Don’t be mean about Andy though. He gets a pass for now.)
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