Jesse’s Hereford Times column

Is it The Tudors, or Game of Thrones?  Julius Caesar or Macbeth?  The national media have been obsessing over how best to describe events in Westminster over the past two weeks. 

The Brexit vote, the PM’s resignation, a Conservative leadership election, the defenestration of Boris Johnson, an attempted putsch against Jeremy Corbin…  Hereford Times readers might be forgiven for wondering what an earth is going on?

 Actually, the best analogy is with that legendary old game show It’s a Knockout!  After all, we have seen political chaos, see-sawing markets, contestants slugging it out and getting knocked off their perches, and mud flying in every direction.  All we need is the Yorkshire tones of the late, great Eddie Waring in the commentary box to do the whole thing justice.

Three things are clear.  The first is that we are now into the period of economic disruption I predicted before the Referendum vote.  The panicked reaction seen in some quarters is overdone, but nevertheless this disruption may be quite serious and prolonged.

The second is that we need to re-energise Westminster and Whitehall and refocus them on the political and economics realities as soon as possible.  

Unfortunately, the lack of an immediate reconstruction of the Government—bringing key figures from the Leave campaign in and creating a new cross-ministerial department focused on negotiations with the EU—has created a period of limbo, when what is needed is clear direction.

The third is that both the country and Conservative party now require strong, sensible leadership.  In that context, I shall be supporting Theresa May for leader and, therefore, Prime Minister.

Theresa is a very experienced senior politician.  She has been an MP since 1997, she held various key posts in opposition, and she has now served six years as Home Office, making her Britain’s longest-serving Home Secretary in half a century.  In a notoriously difficult department of state, that is a mark of distinction.

The leadership contest is full of talented people, but there can be little doubt that in terms of age, experience, achievement and public profile Theresa is the best choice to lead the country at this difficult time.  We will certainly need her professionalism, strength and grasp of detail in what will be difficult negotiations with the EU.  

I will be offering her my full support over the coming weeks, and wish her every success.