Damian Hinds touted as future prime minister by two top Tories
Michael Gove and Nick Timothy have both backed the newly-installed cabinet minister.
The new education secretary Damian Hinds is already being publicly spoken of as a future prime minister by two well-known Tories.
In the Daily Telegraph, Theresa May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy put the boot into Justine Greening, claiming that the former education secretary “put the brakes on policies that work, like free schools, and devised bureaucratic initiatives of little value”.
In his column for the paper, Timothy also went out of his way to talk up the new education secretary, stating: “Greening blocked proposals to reduce tuition fees and refused to hold a proper review of tertiary education. Hinds must be brave enough to do that, to ensure universities are better, fees are lower, and young people get the technical or academic education that suits them.
“He is already touted as a potential future prime minister: if he gets this right, he will be a convincing candidate for the job.”
Meanwhile, Michael Gove reckons that either Hinds or defence secretary Gavin Williamson could be the next prime minister.
Talking to Conservative Home’s Andrew Gimson, the environment secretary praised Hinds as a “dashing and accomplished speaker”.
Gimson's piece states that Gove “foresees a day when Hinds might contest the Conservative Party leadership against Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary. It would, Gove says, be a contest between two northern, state-school candidates, with Williamson the ‘tough and gritty’ defender of a ‘pur et dur’ [hardline] conservatism, while Hinds represents a form of conservatism ‘in which the Catholic church has a part to play and authority is tempered with mercy’.”
Naturally, Gove’s posturing has aroused some suspicion in Westminster with some Tory MPs assuming that their ambitious colleague is seeking to undermine leadership potential rivals. But a source close to Gove told The Times that he was certainly not doing anything underhand.
“It was simply a thought experiment to compare two talented figures in the party and not any sort of attempt to predict future contests,” the source said.