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Goodman: 'May is ready to lead the Tory party if Cameron falls'
FORMER Wycombe MP Paul Goodman has said Maidenhead MP Theresa May is ready to lead the Tory party if the Prime Minister loses at the next election, if not before.
In the Mail on Sunday Mr Goodman said Mrs May's stance in a speech this week on wanting to leave the European Court of Human Rights confirms she intends to be a candidate for Conservative leadership.
He said: "It formed part of the first-ever speech in which she set out her political world view – ranging outside her Home Office brief to set out a deeply personal political manifesto.
"It was a declaration of intent, confirming that she intends to be a candidate for the Conservative leadership if David Cameron loses the next General Election."
Mr Goodman goes on to ask if Mrs May could really lead the Tory party?
Mrs May was appointed Home Secretary in May 2010 and was also Minister for Women and Equalities from 2010 to 2012.
It has been reported this week there is discontent in the Tory party and there are murmurings that hardcore backbenchers could try to oust David Cameron as leader of the Tory party.
Mr Goodman said while he was MP for Wycombe and Mrs May was a neighbouring MP to him in Maidenhead, where she has been MP since 1997, she was an "exemplary neighbour."
Mr Goodman wrote: "All in all, she had all the qualities of what Tory MPs call ‘a good colleague’, save one – clubability, that mix of approachability and gregariousness that helps MPs to rub along together. Mrs May was a cat who walks by itself."
He said she is a "formidable operator" and not always one who commands affection for those she works with. But said she has prospered as Home Secretary.
He said: "She is unwaveringly focused on reducing crime, reforming the police and, above all, reducing net immigration – the figures for which are moving in the right direction. And that iciness is melting a bit. The Commons has changed since the last election.
"The Conservatives now have some 50 women MPs, and Mrs May seems more at ease with the new generation of Tories whose votes will be crucial in any future leadership election."
He also noted the comparisons which have been made between Mrs May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He said she has a good team backing her and senior MPs, including former cabinet member Cheryl Gillan, speak admiringly of her work in government.
Mr Goodman said: "A year ago, her lack of clubability seemed to leave her an unlikely future Tory leader. But since then, she has put herself at the head of the ‘National Union of Ministers’ – the team of Cabinet members, including Philip Hammond and Chris Grayling – who have had enough of cuts to their departments.
"One Minister spoke appreciatively to me recently of how well she performs in Cabinet, and how, when necessary, she is prepared to stand up to George Osborne, the most powerful man in the Government."
He said following her comment yesterday that the Tory party needs to take power from the elite and give it to the public has given her a perfect pitch for the marginal seats her party must win in 2015.
Mr Goodman finished: "It confirmed that she is ready to lead if Cameron falls – not just after the Election but before it, if his disillusioned party overthrows him."