Basically it’s looking like a two horse race for Number 10 after Boris Johnson pulled a corker of a surprise by pulling out of the contest when Michael Gove declared his intention to run. The question really is ‘Why did Boris decide not to run?’ to which I suspect the answer is that he seriously misjudged the situation.
Gove is no fool, and it seems to me that the ‘leak’ of his wife’s email (exactly why would they email each other in the first place?) was little more than a carefully staged piece of choreography to force Boris’ hand. Of course Gove was going to look for a senior cabinet post in a Johnson cabinet in exchange for his support but Boris simply told him he wasn’t going to decide who did what until he was elected. For a PM in waiting, this is a serious error of judgement that would seem to support that he’s not ready for the top job.
So, no promise of a top job from Boris means Gove threw his hat into the ring and I think he was right to do so. By standing himself he will either be the next PM of will guarantee himself that elusive senior role in a May cabinet in order to unite the anti and pro Brexit camps.
I have no real preference for Gove or May in this race. May is an able and competent politician and has a ruthless streak about her reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher. In this Brexit world you need a hard nosed ruthless bastard to stand up to the EU bullying that is to come.
May has also had the common sense to stay relatively neutral in the referendum run up. Although saying she would rather stay than leave, she’s been very careful not to alienate either side of the debate. If Cameron had done the same then we’d not be looking to replace him.
So where’s my money going? Well, I think May will get the job and Gove will head the Brexit negotiation team. On balance, I actually think that that’s the best role for each of them at the end of the day.
Either way, we’ll know soon enough…