12:27 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, gestures during the Conservative Party's Spring Forum in central London, Saturday, March 17, 2018.

    Stage Set for Tory Party Showdown as Potential Leaders Wait in the Wings

    © AP Photo / Simon Dawson
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    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May insists she's "in this for the long term" amid rumours and expectations her ex foreign secretary is vying for the top spot - but is he the only one?

    After dancing with school children in South Africa during her three day trip to the African continent, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May tells reporters she intends to battle it out with Boris Johnson for leadership of Britain's Conservative Party.

    "I have been asked before whether it is my intention to lead the Conservative Party into the next general election — I have answered that question before," Theresa May said, adding that she was "in this for the long term."

    Back to Blighty and in particular Birmingham, home to the Tory party's annual conference, it might not just be Boris Johnson waiting in the wings to upstage the PM and dance to the top spot. 

    Step Forward, Jacob Rees-Mogg 

    Educated at Eton and Oxford University, former City worker, Jacob Rees-Mogg is Member of Parliament for North East Somerset. A prominent Leave campaigner, his upper-class mannerisms have afforded him many TV appearances.

    As for his rise in popularity, the ConservativeHome website suggests "Jacob Rees-Mogg is the beneficiary of party member disillusion with the present senior options for replacing her [Theresa May].

    "This, in turn, shows the knock-on effects, first of an EU referendum campaign…second, of a sense that the collective leadership of the party failed during the general election campaign…third, of a Corbyn factor."

    Mr. Rees-Mogg who leads the Eurosceptic European Research Group will unveil an alternative Chequers deal ahead of the Conservative Party annual conference. 

    Wait a minute, what about Michael Gove?

    The Environment Secretary stood for leadership in 2016 following the UK referendum, ruining Boris Johnson's chances of success by announcing his candidacy on the same day Boris Johnson intended to.

    According to Crispin Odey, a hedge fund manager and prominent Leave campaigner told The Observer, "What is true is that you have a whole lot of people who didn't want this [Brexit] to happen who are in charge of it happening…I would go to Gove."

    Odey reckons Gove is "very aware he has to appeal not just to the wealthy, but also more broadly."

    Spotlight on Sajid Javid

    A recent YouGov poll of Conservative members shows that Mr. Javid has "high levels of support and would be in a good place to win a leadership election."

    Sajid Javid who appointed Home Secretary following the Windrush scandal, has increased his public profile among members who may have previously known little about a man whose parents left Pakistan in 1961 and dedicated their lives in Britain to give their children more opportunities than they had. 

    "Javid tops the charts on two measures, with 64% thinking he is "up to the job" and 69% thinking he is "competent", according to YouGov. "His only comparable weakness is on ideology where he comes slightly behind Rees Mogg, Boris Johnson, and Michael Gove."

    Does Ruth Davidson have eyes for London?

    There's speculation that some Tories are plotting to put Michael Gove temporarily in charge of the Conservative Party while Ruth Davidson takes over in the next three years by 2021. The leader of the Scottish Tories used her latest speech to call for more money for the NHS and help for young people to buy their own home. 

    Back to Boris Johnson Waiting in the Wings

    Boris Johnson has more than tripled his latest score to come top of the ConservativeHome website to be the next leader after Theresa May. 

    There's speculation the leading Leave campaigner will use the forthcoming party conference in Birmingham to steal Theresa May's limelight among Brexit backing party members. 

    Theresa May may be in Africa but it's back in the British Midlands where the show is expected to start. 


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    Tory activists, Tory MPs, leadership battle, General Election, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Nigeria, Birmingham, Kenya, South Africa
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