When the prospect of a change in Conservative leader is discussed, conversation participants often venture into the predictable territory known as the Johnson-Davis-Rudd triangle, which posits that the next leader will be one of these three senior cabinet members or similar. But could the next leader emerge from somewhere else?
I recently outlined here why Amber Rudd will probably never become prime minister, and here for Boris. With Brexit negotiations going slowly, a bad deal or no deal at all will likely hurt Davis’ chances should he throw his hat into the ring. Chat of a Jacob Rees-Mogg leadership win is ludicrous to say the least, as the out-of-touch backbencher faces a vast series of challenges to get to the top. Furthermore, talk of Ruth Davidson is far-fetched – at least while she remains as an MSP.
It therefore follows that the next Conservative leader will be a fresh-face - someone who can revive the Tories from opposition or reboot the party in power following May’s brief spell at the top.
Here are three wild-cards that could take over from May.
1. Tom Tugendhaut
Tugendhaut was first elected in 2015, but is already being seen as a possible future leader. He currently chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, has served in the British army and is a charming and articulate speaker. However, he is maybe too new an MP, and he did back the remain campaign, according to the Spectator, something that could hinder a leadership bid if Tory MPs want a committed Brexiteer.
According to Oddschecker, the odds of Tugendhaut becoming Tory leader are 33/1 with both Ladbrokes and William Hill.
2. James Cleverly
The former London Assembly Member is also of the 2015 intake, but he served in the assembly since Boris Johnson’s 2008 win. He comes across well in interviews – although there have been a couple of controversies – and even recently said he would like to one day become prime minister, as reported by Politics Home.
William Hill offer odds of 22/1 for a Cleverly leadership.
3. Gavin Williamson
Williamson was first elected in 2010 so has slightly more parliamentary experience than Cleverly and Tugendhaut. Since his first election, he has risen quickly through the ranks, having served as Conservative Chief Whip before his appointment on Thursday to the position of Defence Secretary. He is known for the tarantula that sits on his desk, as reported by the New Statesman, but could he become his party’s next leader?
William Hill offer odds of 33/1 while Ladbrokes offer odds of 66/1.
Politics is unpredictable, but one thing is for sure. The time for the old guard to take over from May is running out fast.
All odds are from Oddschecker and are accurate as of 2nd November.