Lots of advice for the Conservative Party in today’s media. Both David Davis and Fraser Nelson wisely warn against any triumphalism. The polls are good but we’ve already underestimated Gordon Brown once; we’d be prudent not to do so again. His political reputation has been badly damaged – particularly, and significantly, among opinion-formers – but we shouldn’t assume that the Great Clunking Fist won’t/ can’t fight back.
Throughout this week ConservativeHome will be running one of our occasional ‘What David Cameron Should Do Next’ specials. Some of the ideas will build on what Donal Blaney proposed last Sunday. Our first is an endorsement of something very important highlighted earlier today by Ben Brogan, over at the Daily Mail: It’s time to make it harder to unseat a sitting Conservative leader.
Ever since the parliamentary party ousted Margaret Thatcher a poison has coursed through the bloodstream of the party. If our MPs could oust our most successful peacetime Prime Minister – who had rescued Britain’s economy and delivered three amazing election victories – they could oust anyone. Every time the Tory Party has hit choppy waters since 1990 the party’s ‘Messiah complex’ has kicked in. Rather than addressing the party’s structural and strategic challenges we’ve looked for the quick fix of a change of leader.
A leader needs to know that once they’re elected they are secure – at least until after a General Election. It was very unhelpful in the summer for leadership speculation to arise when just a handful of MPs – perhaps only two – had anonymously submitted no-confidence letters.
We need a review of procedures. The MPs signing letters to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee should, perhaps, have to declare publicly that they are submitting a letter. Letters should probably expire ten weeks after they are submitted. The number of MPs necessary to effect a leadership contest might also need to be increased.
As Ben Brogan writes: now, when David Cameron’s position is strong, is the time to change procedures. ConservativeHome will strongly support the initiation of any review.