Opinion: Conservative Party is in precarious position

PUBLISHED: 08:30 08 June 2019

Iain Duncan Smith is concerned about the Tory Party. Picture: PAUL BENNETT

Iain Duncan Smith is concerned about the Tory Party. Picture: PAUL BENNETT


Hardly a day seems to go by without another candidate entering the “race” to be leader of the Conservative Party.

As this list has grown and grown, what has gone missing is the important point that this leadership election is about picking the next prime minister.

Those who have thrown their hats into the ring, with minimum support but imbued with an enormous sense of self-worth, need to think a little more carefully.

The new prime minister will not only face the onerous task of resolving Brexit but they will need to give new energy and direction to a government that seems to have lost its way across a range of crucial areas.

Whoever becomes prime minister will have to face the fact that it is impossible to overstate the precarious position the Tory party is in. The next PM will need real authority and a clear road map.

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Of course, there are a whole set of non-Brexit challenges we face domestically, such as the growing problems of social care, police funding, the armed forces and student fees. But none of this can be dealt with until we deliver Brexit as we promised.

Not leaving on March 29 infuriated the public. In the European elections, the voters reminded us that they were no longer prepared to see the establishment betray their vote.

Candidates are answering the wrong question.

They are being asked: do they want no deal and, if not, then what? Their answers have been all over the place.

To cut through the guff and understand their actual position, the real question is far simpler.

What we need to know is: are they prepared to rule out now a further extension of Article 50 beyond October 31?

For that is what will define this debate. Our only chance of rebuilding our prospects depends on our delivering Brexit at the latest by October 31.

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