May out, Gove in?

A Brexit backer has suggested Michael Gove should be Prime Minister

Daily Telegraph

Michael Gove doesn't have the makings of a prime minister - but who has ?

Churchill is now revered as a great war leader, but in the 1930s he was seen as bumptious, bellicose, reckless, not a team player, lacking in judgment and totally unsuited to being prime minister. Once in the job, he too could give the secretaries grief: on one occasion, he removed his false teeth and handed them to one of the girls. Jim Callaghan could be tetchy in private; Anthony Eden phoned people in the wee small hours; Edward Heath was chronically grumpy; and even Lady Thatcher had her moments - notably in her dismissive attitude to Geoffrey Howe, who would play a crucial part in her downfall.

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Should Michael Gove replace Theresa May?

By Joe Harker

Crispin Odey is a hedge fund manager, supporter of Brexit and a donor to the Conservative party. Recently he suggested the party he gives his money to should seek to oust Theresa May as leader and replace her with Michael Gove.

Odey believes May can't be trusted to "carry Brexit through" but thinks Gove is the right politician for the job. He said: "She can't make a decision. So there is no leadership.

"What is true is that you have a whole lot of people who didn't want this to happen who are in charge of it happening. I would go to Gove."

The Prime Minister has been in a weak position for almost a year after losing her majority in a general election she called. Powerless to stop the Tory party splitting into pro- and anti-Brexit factions, she has been attempting to appease both groups as they make up her cabinet. To favour one side too much would incur the wrath of the other and likely bring an end to her time as party leader.

When she replaced David Cameron as Prime Minister it was in part because of her stance on Brexit. May campaigned to remain in the EU but in the aftermath of Cameron's resignation she was seen as the candidate to reconcile both sides. Now she is piggy in the middle to party politics that will decide the future of the UK.

Gove presented himself as the hard Brexit alternative, ruthlessly knocking Boris Johnson out of the running by accusing him of being unable to "provide the leadership" needed to get the UK out of the EU. He then had to back out as further schemes were revealed and he was seen as a backstabber. Gove later called his decision to run for leadership "a mistake".

While Crispin Odey believes Gove is the right man to take over, the British public is not so convinced. His popularity is very low among the public in general, who consider him to be arrogant, out of touch and smug. Supporters of hard Brexit love him, but the rest of the country doesn't and making him Prime Minister could give the Tories even more problems. It may lead to a general election and few would expect Gove to win hearts and minds.

The Sun reports that senior Tories are planning to kick May out of Downing Street and replace her with Gove, but only until 2021 when Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson can take over. The latter is well regarded and if the plan goes ahead the government would plan to hang on until the 2022 general election, having installed their preferred candidate.

Writing in The Guardian, Andrew Rawnsley suggests caution before anyone writes off Theresa May. He calls her the "zombie Prime Minister" but says she has proven to be "remarkably difficult to finish off". May is in a very weak position but has been for almost a year and hasn't been toppled yet. The opponents in her own party have enough backing to trigger a vote of no confidence but haven't done so yet.

As precarious as the Prime Minister's position is, if she goes it could also bring the Tories out of government. David Cameron's attempts to fix infighting in the Tory party took the UK out of the EU. A subsequent attempt to depose May could take them out of government.

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