‘Whoever we pick must be committed to seeing through the Brexit process’ says MP

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The Rayleigh and Wickford MP, was seen as a strong ally to Boris Johnson in recent months.

Conservative MP Mark Francois believes at least 12 people will put their hat in the ring to become PM but he says whoever wins the race must be committed to Brexit. 

Francois was part of the influential group of MP’s who campaigned for Brexit and backed Boris Johnson.

Speaking to GB News this morning the MP said:

“I haven’t yet decided who I am going to vote for. It looks like this is going to be the Grand National but without the fences, so we are probably heading for at least a dozen candidates at the moment. I think I and a lot of my colleagues will want to know exactly who the runners are before deciding which candidate to back. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable position to take.”

Speaking on Weekend Breakfast, Francois explained that the party doesn’t know the precise timetable until the 1992 committee is elected on Monday.

 “It looks like we are probably going to start voting on Wednesday,” he revealed. 

“It’s our job as members of parliament to knock it down to two candidates, either of whom would be a credible prime minister. We then put those two candidates to our voluntary party members around the country and they then select the winning candidate in a postal ballot.”

The Rayleigh and Wickford MP, who was seen as a strong ally to Boris Johnson in recent months, revealed that the process would most likely be completed by the end of August and the new Prime Minister would be picked by the time the House of Commons returns from its Summer recess on the 5th of September.

The first Prime Minister’s questions would then take place two days after on the 7th.

The MP emphasised that whoever was chosen to be Boris’s successor must be able to command a working majority in the House of Commons.

He added:

“If they can, then normally the sovereign will ask them to become Prime Minister. It was a similar situation to when Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair some years ago. That is not constitutionally unusual.

He continued:

“There is a lot of talent in the Conservative party and I think Tory MP’s and our members will have a lot of candidates to choose from.  There were some rumours that some MP’s were trying to arrange a so-called coronation, whereby the MP’s will keep this decision to themselves. I am completely opposed to that, we did have a coronation in 2016 and look what happened to that.

“So, I don’t think that will actually come to pass and it will be a decision for our party members. I think MP’s trying to hold it to themselves would be wrong. So, when it gets to our members, I hope by that stage we will have two very credible candidates to choose from. Speaking purely personally, I think whoever we pick is someone who is committed to seeing through the Brexit process and making the most of it, in terms of global Britain and our presence on the international stage.”

Responding to whether or not he feels comfortable with the fact that only paid-up members of the conservative party will decide who is the next country’s Prime Minister, he said:

“This has been the way we have done it for a number of years. Labour has its own electoral college which includes the trade unions. The different parties have their own traditions of doing it but whoever we pick, the critical thing, constitutionally, is can that person command a working majority in the House of Commons. If they can, they normally the sovereign, will ask them to become Prime Minister. It was a similar situation to when Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair some years ago. That is not constitutionally unusual.”

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