After David Cameron stating he would not seek a third term as Prime Minister, it inevitably lead to questions of would take over the leadership of the Conservative Party. Even though, it was a brave decision to say he would not seek a third term; it suggests there have been rumblings in the party about possible leaders’ in the future hinting similarities to Tony Blair in 2005 after the long-running disputes with Gordon Brown; saying he would not go on to 2010.
These leadership questions hang over the election and the ramifications of its results. For example, if Labour loses the election; Ed Miliband will mostly likely resign and it will lead to another leadership race. Another possibility is the dictatorship of UKIP by Nigel Farage MEP, since if he does not win his seat in South Thanet, it leads to the prospect of Douglas Carswell MP taking over. Who then are the possible candidates to take over from leaders’ of the political parties in Britain?
The Conservative Party
If David Cameron does not win an overall majority again, even with uncharismatic Miliband in opposition, he could be seen as a lame duck and be removed to reenergise the party and change the direction of the Tories.
First of all taking the Blair-Brown formula for the next leader of the party. This would be seen as a safe bet since he has had a good track record as Chancellor, apart from the 2012 ‘omnishambles’ of a budget. He would not bring a change of policy to the Tory policy since he is already part of the Quad of the Government at the moment meaning the core activists would welcome it. His successes such as the country growing the most in the OECD countries would show he has a proven track record of leading a large department before taking over the job of Prime Minster or leader of the Conservatives.
The Mayor of London has been thought of the next leader of the Tory Party for a while since he decided to get elected in this election. He is charismatic and crosses voting patterns, which the party would not normally get to because of his personality and flaws. He has successfully beaten the Labour Mayor of London candidates twice with the help of a certain Lynton Crosby, which hints at the idea that the Australian Crosby would be perfectly happy to work with Mr Johnson. However, does he have the capacity to captivate the entire United Kingdom to believing he could lead the country?
Odds: 2/1 (Favourite)
The next Iron Lady under the helm at the Home Office right now is another distinct possibility as a leader. Nevertheless, she has had trouble with choosing a person into the inquiry on child abuse in the institutions choosing two former judges from the establishment (Baroness Butler-Sloss and Mrs Woolf, who both resigned), before finally choosing a New Zealand judge to lead it. Although she has had these problems, she still could lead the party, being second favourite to reach the top according to paddypower.
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and former senior Managing Director at Deutsche Bank AG, who was schooled in State schools is seen as an outside bet as he was part of the 2010 intake. He represents the modern Conservative branch and has a good reputation with George Osbourne since he moved to get him instated as the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport in 2014. He would be seen as a different turn from Eton-schooled Cameron, since he was state educated and represents minorities, while also being on the side of big business having worked with Deutsche Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank in the past.
The Labour Party
If Ed Miliband loses the election in May, he could possibly be removed as leader for the party to move in a more left-wing direction under Andy Burnham or back to New Labour with Dan Jarvis or Chuka Umunna leading the party.
The shadow Health Secretary is favourite since he has been trying to get the support of the Unions and preaching about the privatisation of the NHS. Against him though he was under the control of Health during the Mid Staffs crisis. But he is favoured by Len McCluskey, a big player in the leadership race for Labour since it could be argued the Unions got Mr Miliband into power. He has a powerful television presence and also has a charisma seen by the Labour activists on the ground.
Odds: 5/2 (Favorite)
The shadow Home Secretary with nearly as much Union force behind her as Andy Burnham. On the other hand, she is married to the biggest mover in the Labour, Ed Balls, who has the power to change the leadership race with the click of his fingers. Ideologically would not be a big step for the rank and file, nevertheless would be seen as progressive since she would be the first woman to lead the Labour leader.
The MP for Streatham and at the tender age of 36, represents the Blarites and New Labour side of the party. He is smooth and favoured by Blair, even though he has shown his support for Ed Miliband this week. He is a former City Lawyer and can talk with the City with charm and has courted big business for the party after the problems with Ed Miliband and big business. Sometimes seen as too New Labour by the traditional tribes in Labour, but could move the party to the centre ground and has a good presence with the media.
The most interesting possible candidate for leadership as he is a former special forces major, who is more used to the sword (theoretically) than the pen. He could supplement Chuka Umunna as the New Labour candidate for the possible leadership election after a failed election as he represents patriotic Britain while also a more leftish appeal to bring in the traditional Labour supporters. He also has a ‘backstory’ as he has had a life before politics instead of being a special adviser and then moving to a safe seat, like the current leader. Many believe he could be manipulated to suit their ideological preferences but with his sense leadership in the army before him, I would be cautious to say that he could be manipulated by classic Labour Westminster MPs to change tack in leadership.
Odds: 6/1 (Dark Horse)
The Liberal Democrats
If the Lib Dems do as badly as expected and are no longer the force they once were perceived as and Nick Clegg loses his seat in Sheffield Hallam, it could lead to one distinct leader in the form of Tim Farron.
The President of the Liberal Democrats is seen as the next leader and is on the leftish side of the party. This could mean if Clegg loses his seat, he could lead the party into coalition with Labour and the anti-austerity alliance (Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Greens). He has a strong grassroots following and his reputation has not suffered since he has not had to lead a department that has been undermined by the Tories.
Odds: 5/6 (Favourite)
If Nigel Farage does not win his seat in South Thanet and Douglas Carswell holds his seat as MP for Rochester and Strood, it could be seen as the end of the dictatorship of UKIP by the MEP. This would only mean Douglas Carswell, the firm favourite for the leadership would lead UKIP after the election. Nigel Farage could continue to lead, but his power would be markedly reduced since he would not be in Westminster.
This election will have not just have changes in the seats and type of Parliament that will be run from 2015 to 2020, but also the leaderships of the major parties (according to Ofsted) and the forms the parties could take in the future.
Odds according to PaddyPower.com, as of date of publication.