There are as of this morning now 12 candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party, with the winner also taking possession of the keys to Number Ten. So will we get a Brexiteer or a Remainer?


The issue of Brexit is destroying the Tory party.

So the approach Tory leadership candidates say they are going to take over Brexit will probably be the deciding factor as to who eventually wins.

Now, as I understand it, there are two basic stages to a Tory leadership contest.

First Tory MPs get to whittle the number from the 12 candidates as it stands at the moment, down to just two. This will take a series of ten separate votes, as at each vote the candidate with the fewest votes is removed from the list.

Then once the numbers are down to two, the whole party membership gets the final vote to decide the winner.

Now, with all that going on you can bet that the bookies are going to be very busy and very profitable.

So, this all comes down to the numbers, the arithmetic. The arithmetic of Remain v Leave in the House of Commons and the arithmetic of Remain v Leave in the Tory membership.

So it will start with a largely Remainer group of MPs selecting who the final two candidates will be that are put to the membership.

Tory MPs are well aware that their support base is largely more Eurosceptic than they are, so I don't think they will serve up a couple of Remainers for their members to vote on. They are more likely in my view to try to offer up a solid Remainer and a more moderate Brexiteer.

I'll leave you to decide who they might be, but there is a long way to go yet.

Now comes the more interesting and more unquantifiable bit, except for those that know the innards of the Tory party membership.

Now, although the wider Tory voting base is seen as very Eurosceptic, the membership itself that will be voting on a new leader, may not be as Eurosceptic as it was a year ago.

And the reason I say this is that there are reports that many of the more ardent Brexiteers have resigned their membership in disgust and moved across to Nigel Farage and The Brexit Party.

So, depending on those numbers, the balance could have shifted sufficiently towards the Remain camp for us to end up with another Remain Prime Minister.

Each Tory MP will know where their local membership is on this and I bet a lot of tactical voting will be going on with the Brexiteers probably having to quickly get behind one chosen candidate to ensure that person makes it through to the final two.

I've had a look back over previous four Tory leadership contests and in the first three, the winner in terms of percentage of vote in the first round never made it through to the top.

So, in a 12 way or more contest, we will see lots of twists and turns and maybe an unexpected winner.

And here's a little story for you.

I talked the other day about Boris Johnson facing a private prosecution for misconduct in public office over claims he made that the UK sends £350 million a week to Brussels.

Well, there's now another player in town. Former MP George Galloway is investigating taking Alistair Campbell to court in the same way, presumably over the Iraq War sexed up dossier etc, and he Tweeted out:

"Now that the #BorisJohnson case is to proceed in the criminal courts in a private prosecution for misconduct in public office I have asked my able lawyers @KRWLaw in Belfast to urgently consider a similar prosecution of #AlastairCampbell I will report back to shortly"

An interesting development and one many politicians will be horrified to see.


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