Conservative Leadership Beauty Parade: Seven Euphemisms For 'I Want To Be PM'

David Cameron will stand down as Tory leader before the 2020 general election and who will take over the top job has been the talk of their party conference in Manchester. Except among those leading the "beauty contest".

Asked directly whether they want the gig, the hot favourites duck, dive, feign modesty, wander round the houses - anything but say it's the job they've always wanted. Here are the best of the thinly-veiled leadership bids.


George Osborne

The frontrunner. For many, the Chancellor is already in charge. The chief executive to David Cameron's chairman. His keynote speech range across the piece: the Northern Powerhouse, raiding Labour policies and peers, and announcing a big policy on business rates. He was asked if he would go for it at the weekend.

"David Cameron has just been re-elected. Let’s face up to it when the Conservative leadership contest comes and see how it flies."

Boris Johnson

The London mayor, considered to play better with the public, seemed to have lost his mojo since returning to Westminster in May. But his conference speech had the Tory faithful eating out of his hand. Genuinely funny while waxing on hefty issues including social justice and banging the drum for One Nation Toryism, "BoJo" suggested he was up for the fight.

"I speak as the proud great grandson of a Turk who fled his country in fear of his life to Wimbledon for some reason, and who was then assassinated by his political opponents – a fate I intend to avoid."

Theresa May

The TM4PM pitch revolved around a breathless speech in the dangers of uncontrolled immigration, which was condemned by business groups but perhaps lapped up by voters who think what she's thinking. Meanwhile, Tory MP, Heidi Allen, offered her views on the three leading candidates and that "Theresa May is a bit like Edna Mode from The Incredibles". The Home Secretary responded.

"I'm afraid (Edna Mode) means absolutely nothing to me."


Sajid Javid

The Business Secretary, a working-class son of an immigrant bus driver turned City banker and millionaire, was asked by BBC presenter Andrew Neil on the Sunday Politics if he would have a tilt at the top job.

“Of course not.”

Jeremy Hunt

The Health Secretary currently squaring off with most of the NHS is another coquettish about his prospects. He talked about it at a conference fringe event.

"You don't know what's around the corner in politics."

Nicky Morgan

The Education Secretary and Equalities Minister nicknamed "NiMo" has also put a bit of disguise on her vaulting ambitions in her conference speech.

"You know what they say 'if you want a job done well ask a busy man'. You might also say 'if you want two jobs done well ask a busy woman'."

Owen Paterson

The former Environment Secretary could be the standard-bearer for the right, and he has gone as far as to draw up a check-list of what the qualities the next leader would need. So does O-Patz himself pass muster as PM?

"That is not the current plan, the current plan is policies."

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