Sir Bernard Jenkin: Leadership race 'shop window' for careerists

Eleven candidates remain in the race to replace Theresa May

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Sir Bernard Jenkin has accused longshot leadership hopefuls of using the race to boost their chances of a cabinet position.

The 1922 Committee member told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that new rules they are set to impose on hopefuls will “put a stop” to MPs who join the race for their own ends.

Candidates will now need to secure the support of eight MPs to contend the first round, instead of the two required in 2016.

They then must secure votes from 17 MPs in the first ballot, and at least 33 in the second to remain in the contest.

“People tend to use the leadership as a bit of a shop window to say hello I’m over here, notice me give me a job in the next government," Sir Bernard said.

“There’s a bit of manoeuvring going on and we needed to put a stop to that.”

Sir Bernard has pushed back against claims backbenchers are subverting the democratic process with the rule change.

“It doesn’t make any difference to the outcome, if somebody can’t get 2.5 per cent of MPs to support their nomination they’re not going to become Prime Minister," he explained.

“Somebody has said 'Oh, well David Cameron was an outsider'. David Cameron got 28 per cent of the vote in the first ballot.”

He added: “The idea that this would have prevented David Cameron being elected is just absolute rubbish.”

The backbencher urged the party to select a new leader who is willing to accept a no-deal Brexit.

“If we elect a leader who wants to have an agreement, then there will be a further delay. I don’t think that’s acceptable. I think we’ve got leave on October 31.”

Kit Malthouse and James Cleverly have already pulled out of the race after news of the rule change emerged.

However Andrea Leadsom told talkRADIO she is “absolutely” staying in contention.

Read more

Andrea Leadsom: 'Everything to play for' in Tory leadership race

Kit Malthouse second MP to pull out of leadership race