The Tory MP’s in the UK’s Conservative Party have begun voting for new leadership. This vote comes after Prime Minister David Cameron resigned from the position after the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU). Cameron supported remaining in the EU, and he felt he was not the person to oversee the nation’s exit.
Five contestants are running to lead the Conservative Party after the Brexit vote. They are Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, Liam Fox, and Stephen Crabb. Each candidate made their case to the party on Monday, July 4.
BBC reports voting will take place behind a closed door in “Parliament’s Committee Corridor with Conservative MP Charles Walker overseeing proceedings.” In a February poll, Tory members indicated that Theresa May should be the next leader of the party. Andrea Leadsom came in second. As voting takes place in Parliament today, this sentimentally remains.
In regards to the referendum, Theresa May voted to say in the EU and Andrea Leadsom voted to leave the EU. The top two candidates chosen by Parliament members will go on to compete in the general election in September. Pundits speculate May and Leadsom will be two competing candidates on the ballot when Conservative members take to the polls.
Theresa May was first elected to the Parliament in 1997 as MP for Maidenhead. May is a vocal advocate against corruption. She told the Police Federation that there’s more than “a few bad apples,” and the BBC reports May “threatened to end the federation’s automatic right to enroll officers as its members.” At this year’s Conservative Conference she accused the party of being a “nasty party.” Needless to say, her comment ruffled a few feathers. May advocates strongly for more roles for women in the Parliament. Recently, May spoke passionately about the future of the conservative party.
“[It is] nothing less than the patriotic duty of our party to unite and to govern in the best interests of the whole country. We need a bold, new positive vision for the future of our country – a country that works not for a privileged few but every one of us.” Says people want more than just a “Brexit PM” and has vowed to unify the Leave and Remain factions in the party.”
Andrea Leadsom took no issue with pushing the button to remove Britain from the EU. The BBC reports Leadsom entered a career in Parliment as MP for South Northampton in 2010 after working in the banking and finance industry. Leadsom believes in climate change and free moment policy. On the future of the party, Leadsom wants conservatives to fight for the “heart,” of the country and opportunity for its people.
“[Leadsom] believes in the opportunity thrown up by the referendum” and has “a real heart” for the job, adding: “This is something I long to do.” She says delivering on the referendum is “absolutely top priority” for the next prime minister. “It’s not just about leaving something; it’s about re-engaging with the rest of the world,” she says. She also says she has a “real desire to see the social justice in our country turned around”, and, if elected, would focus on mental health, improving skills and getting young people into work.”
Michael Grove spent a brief time as Conservative chief whip, and his decision to run to lead the party has surprised many. The BBC calls Grove a radical who delights in deriding Marxist Sixties policy for education. On the Brexit vote, Grove believes the outcome was a call for smaller government, less bureaucracy, and more sovereignty.
“The British people voted for change last Thursday. They sent us an explicit instruction that they want Britain to leave the European Union and end the supremacy of EU law. They told us to restore democratic control of immigration policy and to spend their money on national priorities such as health, education and science instead of giving it to Brussels. They rejected politics as usual and government as usual. They want and need a new approach to running this country.”
In 2005, Liam Fox failed to win a role in Parliament. However, David Cameron offered him a position in the cabinet. By 2011, Fox resigned from his position after it came to light he allowed a friend to take an unofficial role. Controversy aside, Conservatives relish in Fox’s fight for Tory conservatism and for preserving the memory of beloved Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Fox voted to leave the EU.
“I do not believe there is room for membership of the single market if it entails free movement of people. Those who voted to leave the EU would regard it as a betrayal and frankly they would be right. We do not need to be part of the single market to sell into it. Countries like the United States manage to do that very well. It is in our mutual interests to have a free and open trade relationship with our European partners, but we cannot accept the concept of free movement of people as its cost.”
Stephen Crabb voted to remain in the EU and wants to bridge the divide after the Brexit vote. Crabb won a seat in the Parliment in 2005, severing as the whip. He later became a minister in the Wales Office. On social issues, Crabb voted against same-sex marriage. However, later he spoke about the importance of creating a tolerant environment.
“I love my country, I love my party, and I genuinely believe that what I stand for, the values that I represent, the strengths that I bring are exactly those that are required to get us through the challenges ahead.”
After Brexit, the Conservative Party is fighting to find its way back into the hearts and minds of conservative voters and the British people.
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