Following a trail of what can best be called political murders the leadership contest in Britain’s Conservative party is over. The person left standing – since all the other candidates have either killed each other off or politically imploded – is Home Secretary Theresa May.
That clears the way for Theresa May to become Prime Minister, taking over from David Cameron. Hopefully the transition should now be quick, taking place within the next few hours or days.
Following the self-destruction of Boris Johnson, Theresa May was the obvious and correct candidate. Whilst she comes from the liberal wing of the Conservative party, she is known to be hardworking and efficient and has managed to navigate the party’s intrigues with unerring skill. Her success in running the Home Office – one of the most complicated departments of the British government and the graveyard of many political reputations – without any major scandal has been remarkable. She even managed to face down one of the most powerful and dangerous lobbies in British public life – the Police Federation – without suffering any damage.
Speaking for myself, I have a particular reason to think well of Theresa May. She was a strong opponent of the setting up of the Public Inquiry into Litvinenko’s death, initially refusing permission for it until overruled by the High Court. As I explained in an exhaustive analysis I did on the Inquiry, she was absolutely right to oppose it. When the Inquiry finally delivered its report – saying Putin and the Russian authorities “probably” murdered Litvinenko – her response was notably unenthusiastic, suggesting that she continued to hold to her original view.
That suggests a level head and points to someone who is not obsessed with playing to the gallery or following political fashions. If so then that makes Theresa May the right candidate for the Conservative party to elect as Conservative leader and British Prime Minister at the present time.