Tory insider says members don't want David Davis as next leader

Henry Hill reckons David Davis' experience could actually count against him

Grassroots Tories don't want David Davis to take over, says Henry Hill

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tory insider Henry Hill has suggested many people within the party don't want David Davis to replace Theresa May as leader - and instead tipped a left-field candidate to get the job.

Many have speculated that May will be replaced imminently following her election disaster last month. Davis is currently the bookies' favourite to replace her, given his vast experience and current prominence as Brexit secretary.

Hill, assistant editor of the Conservative Home website, told Julia Hartley-Brewer that "most members recognise that Theresa May has lost her authority and lost her to go." When asked whether the majority of members want her to go, he responded "that's the hope of their hearts."

However "what's counterbalancing that is that she has no obvious successor and a lot of the grassroots are cautious about changing the leader because it's likely to be a destabilising contest.

"There's no prospect of a coronation as far as we can see, and once the leader's in place they'll be under huge pressure to hold a general election.

"There is recognition amongst the grassroots and MPs that she's actually doing the party, and the country, a service by staying in post, allowing us to get the Brexit negotiations underway, and giving the Conservative Party time to try and get its bearings as to what's gone on.

"Both members and backbench MPs are actually angrier with the cabinet members who are briefing against each other than they are with Theresa May."

Despite Davis' credentials, Hill said "there's a real sense among a lot of the party that what we really need is a step change. We need a new leader. 

"Once Brexit is out of the way we wants to pass the leadership onto somebody who hasn't got decades of military experience in the Tory civil wars behind them, who hasn't got lots of baggage, who didn't vote against gay marriage."

When Julia pressed Hill to give us his prediction about what will happen, he said May "will go after Brexit, which is either 2019 or 2020.

I wouldn't want to put money on the new leader but I think one to watch might be James Cleverley.

"He's 2015, so he's a very new intake, but he's former member of the London Assembly, ex-military, charismatic, good in the press, minority background.

"There's a recognition in the Conservative Party that London is shaping up to be the party's next Scotland. We need a leader who can reconnect with London."

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