We will be putting ten sets of questions publicly to each of the main leadership contenders.

  • Britain’s decision to leave the EU is, depending on one’s view, either a glittering opportunity or a total disaster.  If it’s the former, shouldn’t those who created the opportunity now have a chance to make the most of it?  And if the latter, shouldn’t those who brought about the disaster have to clear it up?  In other words, doesn’t a Leave Government now require a Leave Prime Minister – which, since you backed Remain, can’t be you?
  • The decision is also the biggest political event in Britain’s recent history, with huge implications for the future of our economy, constitutional settlement, foreign policy and living standards.  Is this really “a time for a novice”, such as yourself? After all, you’ve served in Cabinet in a UK-wide department for scarcely more than a year?
  • John Major was “the boy from Brixton”.  Margaret Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter.  Ted Heath was the son of a carpenter and a maid.  Only one of these had a better general election-winning record than David Cameron, the son of a stockbroker and a magistrate.  The suggestion of your campaign is that a council house-rasied candidate will transform the Party’s electoral chances.  But why should it, on the basis of past experience?
  • What evidence is there that you can increase the Party’s electoral appeal?
  • You said in your campaign launch speech that immigration control is a “red line”, and that “it is vital that we seek [our italic] to achieve as close an economic relationship with the EU as we have now”.  This sounds like trading off single market access for tighter border control.  Is that right?
  • You also said that you want to “see a fairer distribution of wealth creation right across our nation”.  This is the social justice agenda – but how do you plan to go about implementing it?  To what degree, if at all, will you build on Cameron’s Life Chances plan, and in what concrete ways?  Are you for bigger tax breaks for marriage?  For allowing councils and housing associations to build more homes for sale?  For more school selection choice?  For a rebalancing of resources from higher education to apprenticeships and vocational training?  For the state pension triple lock? MPs and Party members will want a bit more detail.
  • You strongly support the place of faith communities in the country’s public square, and have a marked social conservative record and instincts.  Isn’t this out of tune with the times?
  • If you are one of the two candidates put before Party members, would you make your opponent deputy leader?
  • Would you appoint George Osborne to your Cabinet and, if so, in what capacity?
  • These are hectic times, and post-Brexit business must command your attention.  But you are standing, strictly speaking, for the Party leadership.  So you will surely want to set out a view on the Party’s future.  What sort of Party Chairman would you appoint?  How do you propose to raise membership, if at all?  Do you want to make Party Conference more accessible to members, and if so how?  See some or all members of the Board directly elected?  What are you plans for candidate selection?

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