Posted June 27, 2016 Marco Geraghty
With the resignation of David Cameron after the vote to leave the EU, the Conservative party and the government has been thrown into disarray as the search for the next Conservative leader and therefore Prime Minister begins.
Man of the moment Boris Johnson, conspicuous by his low profile since Friday used his Sunday column in the Telegraph to declare that ‘Britain is part of Europe – and always will be’. Such was the Europhile tone of his writing that one could be forgiven for forgetting Boris’ role in the Leave campaign as key protagonist. To reassure those who voted remain he stated he understood that ‘some have feelings of dismay, and of loss, and confusion.’ Perhaps words more associated with the temporary feelings of a hangover rather than the permanent exit from the world’s biggest trade body. He is currently the favourite to be the next PM and some see his move to support the Leave campaign earlier this year as a shrewd move to get him in this position if Leave were to win as it has done.
On the other side of the blue divide George Osborne has finally shed his post referendum invisibility cloak to declare that the UK is in a position of strength, and although there will be a minor economic adjustment expected there is no need for an emergency budget, perhaps one of the lesser of the pre-referendum promises which has been broken. Given that his stock is closely related to that of David Cameron’s, it does not look likely that he will be the next person to walk into number 10.
There are a number of other candidates who may throw their hat in the ring. Theresa May is well regarded and may do well if there is an anti-Boris vote when the Conservative’s choose a new leader. Michael Gove was a prominent member of the leave campaign and seen as a more intellectual option to Boris Johnson, although in the past he has played down his ambitions. Liam Fox who came 3rd to Cameron in 2005 may run again, but does not have as big a profile as he had then. There is plenty of time and room for a new candidate to become a frontrunner.
Last year when the Conservative party won its first parliamentary majority since 1997 the markets reacted strongly as a seemingly ‘pro-business’ government was established. David Cameron had finally united the party under one shade of blue after spending the 00’s in the electoral wilderness. A party which has been prone to fractious splits and infighting has now lost its leader and before long we could be looking at 50 shades of blue all over again.