Jesse Norman says he thinks about being Tory leader... when he's in the bath

Written by @singersz on 13 October 2015 in Diary

Culture, media and sport select committee chairman Jesse Norman has told TP that he does sometimes “sit in the bath” and speculate about being leader of his party.

As George Osborne and Boris Johnson lead the race to succeed David Cameron, Norman is settling into his new post as chair of the committee.

In an interview with TP, he says he is keen to shake up committee hearings by holding them at venues around the UK. Norman also discusses his relations with David Cameron – four years after he famously derailed the prime minister’s plans to transform the House of Lords.  And he cautions his party over their attacks on the Labour leadership:

“We don’t need to spend our lives necessarily bashing on about Jeremy Corbyn to the voters.”

Norman is the author of the 2006 book ‘Compassionate Conservatism’. Soon after his arrival in the Commons in 2010, the Eton-educated politician was spoken of by pundits and fellow MPs as a future party leader. His own father encouraged the speculation, telling The Sunday Times that "he could even be a leader one day". On the subject of the Tory leadership, Norman says:

“Of course in politics, you do from time to time sit in the bath and speculate on what it would be like to be running the shop. But it’s not something I’ve given serious thought to.  And of course it isn’t a decision for one person. It’s something that would have to be widely endorsed and supported by ones family... People mention it from time to time and I basically dismiss the thought.”

The notion of Norman being the next leader of the Conservative party is perhaps an unlikely one at this stage, but with four years to go one Tory MP suggests that his colleague could yet leapfrog the favourites.

“With Jesse, never say never. There’s a giant industrial skip at the back of parliament with the corpses of dozens of would-be leaders... He’s got that Old Etonian charm and what appears to be diffidence, which often masks quite ruthless ambition.

“But is the party ready for another old Etonian leader?”

Read the full interview here.


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