Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, has told The Spectator magazine that she is considering running to succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the UK.
Ms. Morgan said that she hoped to see a woman leading a major political party in the near future, which no female politician has done on a permanent basis since the resignation of Margaret Thatcher in 1990. However, Ms. Morgan stressed that she remained cautious about the prospect and that as the mother of a seven-year-old boy, she would have to think carefully before she threw her hat in the ring.
When asked what she had to offer, she told the magazine: “I represent a part of the country [Loughborough] that I think is incredibly down-to-earth. It wants good schools, good hospitals, solid economy, support for those who have started businesses and wants to know that the government is on their side.” As an MP that increased her majority at the last election, she believes that she will be able to convince swing voters that the Conservative party are best placed to deliver on those issues.
It has been six months since David Cameron stated in March that he did not intend to seek re-election for a third term when the next general election falls due in 2020. The Odds Checker website, which shows betting odds from a number of bookmakers, ranks the Education Secretary as the eighth most likely person to succeed Mr. Cameron. The shortest odds available for those wishing to take a punt on Ms. Morgan were 20/1; most sites have her at 33/1. The Chancellor, George Osborne, tops the list, with several sites having him close to evens, at 6/4 or 5/4.
Mr. Osborne also topped a Conservativehome poll published at the start of September; Ms. Morgan apparently had the support of just 1 per cent of respondents. That same poll indicated a decline in the support for Boris Johnson, who has fallen by five points and now has the support of just 12 per cent of respondents, despite once having been seen by many as the front-runner. He is now placed behind Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, and Ms. May, both of whom he outpolled just one month previously.
Mr. Osborne, therefore, looks the one to beat, but the Education Secretary should not be overlooked. She was, after all, a surprise Cabinet appointment, having only been an MP for four years at the time she took charge of the Department for Education. It would therefore be a brave pundit who ruled her out entirely.