Coffee House

Could Jesse Norman be the next Tory leader?

9 January 2013

4:52 PM

9 January 2013

4:52 PM

He might want to stay Prime Minister until 2020, but who will succeed David Cameron once he’s gone? In this week’s Spectator, Bruce Anderson offers his own tip for the next Conservative leader:

David Cameron has announced that he would like to stay in No. 10 until at least 2020. That is excellent news for one Old Etonian candidate for the succession. Although he is at least as good as anyone else in the 2010 intake (an outstanding vintage), this fellow could not promoted in the last reshuffle, because he had played a splendid innings as the captain of the revolt over House of Lords reform. He earned the gratitude of anyone who respects the British constitution, but the whips, although a valuable recent adornment to that constitution, have a narrower perspective. They believe that rebels must be punished, especially when the rebellion is successful. So the chap was back-squadded.

That cannot last long. His abilities are bound to earn a place in government, and rapid advancement thereafter. By 2020, he will have at least as much Cabinet experience as William Hague did in 1997. It is not certain that he will succeed David Cameron, but Jesse Norman is a Member to watch.

If you’re rushing to place a bet on Norman as leader, remember that it was Anderson who tipped a young David Cameron to become Tory leader in a Spectator column in 2003. He wrote:

 It is rare to find an individual who combines so many qualities, yet it may be that Mr Cameron does. They are bound to lead him to high office. In time, they will make him a candidate for the highest office of all.

You can read Anderson’s ‘My Hero’ piece on Cameron here, and his diary tipping Norman will appear in tomorrow’s magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Eddie


  • tomdaylight

    Is Eton education a required qualification for Tory leaders now?

    • Tom Tom

      Clearly but they have a lousy History Department at Eton judging by the output

  • Jules

    Jesse Norman is an Etonian? FORGET IT. The Tory party will not win a majority with another privately educated leader.

    • francbanc

      Agreed but only as far as Eton. It would just reinforce the stereotype.

  • CraigStrachan

    Might need to change his name. I can’t see Britain electing a Jesse as PM.

    • an ex-tory voter

      They already have!!

  • Daniel Maris

    Jesse Norman, the opera singer, perhaps. This guy? No chance.

  • Russell

    The Tory party, especially, the Tory party, would never have a ‘Jesse’ as a leader unless her surname was Thatcher.

    • salieri

      … who led a posse, but was no cisse

      • Daniel Maris

        Jesse is, oddly, a much favoured name about the gangsta mum sorority. As in Jesse James, outlaw. So it’s probably a bit more butch than you might otherwise think… LOL

        • Tom Tom

          Jesse James shot unarmed civilians in the back

  • Noa

    Who will actually want the poisoned chalice after May 2015, and all the tears and recriminations?

  • AnotherDaveB

    Probably not, but I think Mr Cameron will face a leadership challenge shortly after the 2014 EU elections.

    On current form, 100 Conservative MPs will be unemployed after the 2015 general election.

    “Under Tory rules a contest is automatically triggered if 15 per cent of the party’s MPs write letters to Mr Brady calling for the leader to go. … 46 needed to trigger a leadership contest.”

    Read more:

    I think Mr Gove would be favourite.

    • telemachus

      Does it actually matter who leads them next
      They are Toast in 2015
      And if they survive at all will not be a contender for national leadership until at least 2025

      • AnotherDaveB

        None of the political parties are popular. So yes, the Conservatives could win the 2015 general election.

        • etonmess

          No, they don’t have much chance. Labour are looking like strong favourites, followed by Labour, with Labour close behind.

          • AnotherDaveB

            At 2010 election Labour was supported by 29% on a turnout of 65%, 19% of the electorate.

            2005, Labour was supported by 35% on a turnout of 61%, 21% of the electorate.

            2001 Labour was supported by 40%, on a turnout of 59%, 24% of the electorate.

            That looks like weak support to me.

  • judyk113

    Bruce Anderson loathes Boris Johnson, who fired him from the Spec, with a passion. End of story.

  • TomTom

    I find it amusing you think of such abstruse matters without considering the Canadian Conservative experience……Brian Mulroney did not have much to hand over to Reform when it replaced Progressive Conservatives after the 1993 Disaster

  • Wessex Man

    That’s if we don’t have UKip holding the balance of power of course. In which case they’re both stuffed!

    • The Red Bladder

      Oh come off it Smiler, to hold the balance of power it is first necessary to hold seats!

  • NorthernGrouse

    Helluva singer…

    • salieri

      but the show’s over when she sings…