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.