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Choosing Our Next Conservative Leader: Maybe We Don't Need to Be the Nasty Party Any More?

24/06/2016 15:46 | Updated 24 June 2016
Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

We've all found ourselves in a bit of shock after the announcement of Britain's coming exit from the European Union, whether that be shock for those who wished to remain, or shock by those fighting for exit and surprised they got it. But the biggest shock came when David Cameron resigned early this morning, believing himself unable to be the Captain to steer Britain through these negotiations.

Cameron is right to resign; not because he made any mistakes as PM or with the referendum. In fact, Cameron's loss is perhaps the most devastating impact of the referendum result. Cameron did as he promised, negotiating the best deal he could from the EU and delivering a promised referendum commitment from the 2015 election campaign. He should resign as it is simply wrong to expect him to do something he does not believe in. It is not his responsibility to deliver the promises made by the Vote Leave campaign. And these promises, many of them undeliverable, are going to come back to haunt the Leave Campaign.

The question on everyone's lips now though is; who shall lead?

I'm not going to offer a candidate from the many on offer, as we'll need to wait to see who steps forward to nominate themselves. And my own choice, Ruth Davidson, can't run as she is an MSP and not an MP. This all could change though if we do need to run another general election (come on Ruth!).

However, I do have three very clear criteria for who we should select our next leader to be:

1. It must not be Boris Johnson - Boris is simply the unacceptable choice as next leader. It was quite obvious the only reason Boris did this was to remove Cameron and get himself promoted. The EU will not give Boris a favourable time and will not offer favourable terms. He will also be seen as the man who removed Cameron, something many Conservative members are extremely unhappy about. Boris is known not to be a serious, policy based leader. Finally, anyone who wanted to remain will discount Boris immediately, eliminating 50% of the electorate at the next election.

2. They must not have been a member of the Bullingdon Club or have gone to Eton (of any other public school!) - Another reason not to choose Boris, but more widely the electorate are fed up of posh Tory boys who went to school with one another. There are some brilliant working class MPs and Ministers in the Conservative party, but simply not enough, with public school MPs having far too much influence. If we are to shake the image of the posh boys club, let us put our money where our mouth is.

3. While this one is not mandatory, I want to see more women have a chance to run. The referendum campaign was an argument between four middle-aged white men who went to Oxford. It's dull, it's boring, it results in two dimensional thinking, but more importantly, it tells young women in Britain that politics is for only these people.

Someone working class and female would be extraordinary (did someone say Ruth Davidson?).

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