Sputnik discussed the resignation of the Tories' leader with James Marlow, a member of the UK Conservative Party.
Sputnik: Theresa May has announced she will quit as Conservative Party leader on 7 June, paving the way for a contest to decide a new prime minister. What does this mean for Brexit?
Where Mrs May went wrong was that she was a Remainer; she voted to remain, and it looks like she never really believed, she never had her heart and soul in the fact of Britain leaving the EU and taking hold of all the opportunities and all of the possible free trade deals with countries around the world.
She never had her heart in it, she never believed in it; and therefore we need someone who is going to put their heart in it, who sees the opportunities [and] who conceives the ability to make Britain great again, like in the phrase by Donald Trump.
Sputnik: What impact will it have on the already negotiated deal Theresa May agreed upon with the EU?
James Marlow: That's a good question, because the EU says that they are not open to renegotiation. But I think if you have a tough person coming in with a brand new negotiating team, I don’t think they are going to have any choice, unless, of course, that they are prepared to see Britain leave the EU without any type of withdrawal agreement; and that is still, technically, on the cards.
So, bringing in a new leader, say, for example, somebody like Boris [Johnson], who is a well-known name, somebody who believes in it, who can actually lead the country, lead his party, maybe a lot more people will get behind it.
And maybe there is a possibility of either going back to Brussels and renegotiating the deal, and specifically Northern Ireland, with a major sticking points on this, because it meant giving away Northern Ireland as part of a trading agreement and Britain could never actually ask for it back; it will be down to Brussels to decide when to allow Northern Ireland to start trading again like the rest of the UK, and they may never have said that.
That was the big problem; that was the major sticking issue. But there were also other issues in there. The reason why people like myself voted to leave the EU was that we wanted to get outside of the customs union in order for new trade deals with other countries, and outside of the single market to get control over Britain’s borders.
And that’s why so many people didn’t like the deal that Theresa May made. She is a wonderful lady; she is really nice. I have been to No.10 myself; she is a great person, she listens to people, she is not a social person. And I think there’re a lot of people that will have a feeling in their heart for the way that she broke down crying at the end of her speech this morning.
But nevertheless, we are at a new chapter right now; the candidates will get in place, they will be setting up their teams, they are doing that right now; we’ll have to see who is going to be running. We need a new prime minister and somebody who will lead the country.
Sputnik: In your view, who is likely to replace her?
James Marlow: This is the most popular question being asked today; it has been for the past few days. As you probably know, Boris [Johnson] is in the lead right now by far, because he is a very well-known name. In fact, he is probably the only politician in the UK that is known by their first name, Boris; the whole world pretty much knows him. He is a the figure, he was London mayor for two years; he is known all over the international world.
I don't think he is the most qualified prime minister out of all the candidates, but nevertheless, he is somebody who believed very much in leaving the EU and therefore could, perhaps, lead the Conservative Party and bring it back together again.
I'm thinking, for example, of former Cabinet Minister Dominic Grieve [who] has already said this morning that he would have to really consider his position; he was a senior person within the Cabinet and he would have to seriously consider his position if Boris won the leadership.
But there're many other names, for example, the home secretary who is at the running, Sajid Javid; there is the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt. You have Rory Stewart, Cabinet minister; you have Esther McVey, you have Liz [Elizabeth] Truss, you have Boris [Johnson], you have Dominic Raab.
There are going to be at least ten names. Here's the thing, unless the Conservative Party are going to change the rules – which I did hear about this morning, but I don’t think they’re going to have time to do this – the Conservative Party elects leaders in a completely different way to [how] the opposition Labour Party elects leaders.
Anyone can join up with the Labour Party, and if they've got five candidates, all of the Labour members – that is more than 600,000 in the UK – choose to vote for their favourite candidate, that could be anyone of five or six.
It is Conservative members of Parliament that actually vote for their favourite or preferred candidate. And you have to remember that they are voting on the basis that they can probably get a job in the next Cabinet if they get behind somebody's campaign.
For example, if it was me and I was a Conservative MP and Jeremy Hunt, the foreign minister, came to me and said: "Look, I'd like you to take a senior role in running my campaign; and if we win, I will give you a senior role in the Cabinet", that's the incentive because you want a better job.
So, it works like that. And when there're finally seven or eight candidates that are running, the MPs – there are about 325 of them on the Conservative benches, maybe 320 – keep voting every week until the bottom candidate drops out, and then the next bottom one drops out until you’re left with two.
Those final two candidates are then put to the Conservative members across the country; so, Conservative members will only get to vote for the last two, not for the whole seven or eight. And that's where, I think, possibly, Boris may not be in the final two.
If it was done like in the Labour Party, I think Boris would win outright because most people in the Conservative Party probably would vote for him, because they feel that he is a big name and he is somebody who could win the next election. But I have a feeling that maybe Conservative MPs may not overall vote for Boris and he may lose, but we'll have to see.
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