The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, has said she would consider standing for the leadership of the Conservative party when David Cameron steps down.
Cameron ruled out serving a third term as prime minister in the run-up to May’s general election, meaning he would have to stand down before the end of this five-year parliament. He named his likely successors in 2020 as the home secretary, Theresa May, the London mayor, Boris Johnson, and George Osborne, the chancellor.
Speaking to the Spectator magazine, Morgan said: “I hope that, in the not-too-distant future, there will be another female leader of a main Westminster political party.”
Asked whether she would throw her hat in the ring, Morgan, who has a seven-year-old son, said: “A lot of it will depend on family. I’d be saying this if I were male or female – in the sense that being leader of the party is so all-consuming, putting such a pressure on family relationships.”
Morgan said she represented “a part of the country that I think is incredibly down-to-earth”. She added: “It wants good schools, good hospitals, a solid economy, support for those who have started businesses and wants to know that the government is on their side.”
A former corporate lawyer, she has been the MP for Loughborough since 2010 and the education secretary and minister for women and equalities since 2014.
According to the political betting odds, Morgan is the ninth most likely to take over from Cameron. Osborne is currently the bookies’ favourite, with Johnson in second place, May third and the business secretary, Sajid Javid, fourth.
The Spectator also reports that Cameron “intends to announce he’s leaving” in spring 2019 and that his preferred successor would be Osborne, but a spokesman for the prime minister said: “As the prime minister said before the election, he will serve a full term. A full term means five years.”
Last month, Osborne again came out ahead in a regular poll asking Conservative party members who they would like to be their next leader.
In the poll conducted for the website ConservativeHome, Osborne’s share of the vote increased slightly to 33%, with Javid second on 18% and May overtaking Johnson into third place with 15%. Morgan received 1% of the vote.
Before the general election, the poll consistently had May and Johnson battling for first place, but in August, after the summer budget was announced, Osborne sprang ahead for the first time.
This article was written by Frances Perraudin, for theguardian.com on Thursday 1st October 2015 08.49 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010