Tory Euroskeptic Baker Names Preferred Candidates to Replace May

(Bloomberg) -- Conservative Cabinet ministers preparing to campaign for the party leadership in the hope of replacing Theresa May as U.K. prime minister have been warned they have no chance of winning over Tory euro-skeptics.

Leading pro-Brexit Conservative Steve Baker said in an interview the party’s nationwide membership won’t back any of the current Cabinet members -- such as Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid or Andrea Leadsom -- because they’ve supported May’s unpopular deal three times in parliamentary votes.

He named former Brexit secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey as the only acceptable candidates. All quit May’s Cabinet in protest at her negotiations with the EU.

Tory Euroskeptic Baker Names Preferred Candidates to Replace May

In an interview with Bloomberg, Baker said:

  • “The next leader of the Conservative Party, it seems to me, is vanishingly unlikely to be in this Cabinet.’’
  • Although Baker’s European Research Group have toyed with the idea of voting with the opposition Labour party against the government in a no-confidence motion to try to oust May, he is now ruling it out. “I’m just really not convinced the prime minister would go if she lost a confidence motion,’’ he said. “She would probably stay and dare us to vote against a second time, causing a general election.”
  • May’s refusal to quit in the face of overwhelming opposition and repeated failures on Brexit is “verging towards tyranny,” he said.
  • Baker accepted that euro-skeptics on his side of the Brexit debate are now “outnumbered’’ and there’s nothing they can do to stop a long delay that could allow time for the U.K. to reverse its decision to leave the bloc. “We haven’t been out-maneuvered, we haven’t been foolish, it’s not that we’ve failed. It’s just that we have a majority in Parliament for remain.’’

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.