Sat, 20 April 2024

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By Bishop of Leeds
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David Davis favourite among Tory members to succeed Theresa May

2 min read

David Davis is the Conservative grassroots’ preferred option to be the next Conservative leader but most want Theresa May to remain in place, a poll of party members has suggested. 

Just over a fifth (21%) backed the Brexit Secretary, with Boris Johnson in second place with 17% of support.

But more of the 1,000 members polled said they did not know who their favoured successor was or did not name a candidate.

And 71% said Mrs May should remain prime minister, compared to just 22% who wanted her to resign.

The survey was carried out as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Party Members Project, and its results were reported by the Observer.

Backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg was third on 6%, while Chancellor Philip Hammond had 5% support and Home Secretary Amber Rudd 4%.

Previous contender Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox both received less than 1% support.

The support for Mrs May continuing in post will reassure the Prime Minister amid more reports about Tory concerns that her authority will never recover from the election. 

The Sunday Telegraph leads on a report from party members, which found criticisms from around 200 local party groups, with “every aspect of the campaign”, including the manifesto "disaster" and decision to focus the pitch around Mrs May under the spotlight.

The paper quotes Ed Costelloe, chairman of the Grassroots Conservatives activist group, who said Mrs May was politically “crippled”.

A cabinet minister’s local party chairman called on her to go within months, added: “I haven’t spoken to a single activist who said ‘that election went well, the leadership is doing a good job'.”

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reports that 15 Tory MPs are ready to put their names to a letter of no confidence in Mrs May – though it is well short of the 48 signatures required to trigger a leadership contest. 

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