The Leadership Election - 08-07-16
David Cameron's early resignation announcement was regrettable but understandable after losing the referendum, and so we now seek a new leader.
I will be voting for the Home Secretary, Theresa May. Her campaign launch speech was outstanding http://bit.ly/29sXRZr with a plan and a vision of how to take our country forward. She is professional, she has a long and proven track record in high office and she commands the respect of the Parliamentary Party along with much of the wider membership.
As a 'remain' supporter her commitment to lead us out of the EU has been questioned by the 'leave' candidates. She has countered this with a pledge to hand the job of Secretary of State for Brexit to an MP from the 'Leave' campaign.
There have also been calls for the new PM to call a snap election in order to give him, or her, a mandate to lead the country out of Europe, but I believe that mandate already exists; the Conservative Party was elected for five years in 2015 on the strength of a manifesto that Theresa May has pledged to continue to deliver. She also rightly points out that the effect of yet another national election would add unnecessary and unjustifiable strain and uncertainty to our economy.
There are legal and procedural barriers too; the Fixed Term Parliament Act has ended a Prime Minister's right to call an early general election. This now requires a majority vote of two-thirds of all MPs (unlikely), or the new government to pass a constructive vote of no confidence in itself (bizarre and unlikely), or a repeal of the Act (time consuming and replaced with what?).
Ultimately the vote for our next PM will fall to the Conservative grassroots and I am sure our local members in Maidstone & The Weald will choose wisely.
Helen's weekly column is published every Friday in the Kent Messenger. The content shown here may differ slightly from the press version.