Theresa May for prime minister. And Philip Hammond for chancellor?

Written by David Singleton on 11 July 2016 in Diary

May will run the country from Wednesday after going to Buckingham Palace.

Theresa May has addressed the public for the first time as Conservative leader, saying she is is “honoured and humbled” to have the job.

The 1922 committee of Tory MPs has declared May the new party leader "with immediate effect". David Cameron is to tender his resignation to the Queen on Wednesday. May will then go to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen herself and receive her invitation to form a government.

Speaking outside the Houses of Parliament today, May said: “I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen by the Conservative party to become its leader…

"During this campaign my case has been based on three things: first, the need for strong, proven leadership to steer us through what will be difficult and uncertain economic and political times, the need, of course, to negotiate the best deal for Britain in leaving the EU and to forge a new role for ourselves in the world. Brexit means Brexit and we're going to make a success of it.

"Second we need to unite our country and third we need a strong, new positive vision for the future of our country - a vision of a country that works not for the privileged few but works for every one of us, because we're going to give people more control over their lives and that's how together we will build a better Britain."

May was accompanied for the statement by her husband and dozens of her parliamentary colleagues - many of whom are already considering what today’s news means for their job prospects.

One Tory MP said: “A few colleagues are worried that they may have left it a bit late to climb on board the May campaign.”

May’s campaign team had arranged to have drinks with lobby journalists this evening. However the event was cancelled this afternoon, shortly after Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the Tory leadership contest.

May and her inner team are now expected to spend this evening discussing who should take the top jobs in her cabinet.

May is known not to have promised cabinet jobs to any of her colleagues. She is expected to appoint a unity cabinet with a mix of ministers from both sides of the Brexit debate.

Tory MPs believe that the prime candidate for the job of chancellor is Phillip Hammond. He is expected to take the post from George Osborne as May seeks a fresh line-up – but also someone with experience and gravitas in the Treasury. The fact that Hammond has also proved a vocal ally for May in recent days will also count in his favour.

There is speculation in Westminster that Osborne could be moved to foreign secretary to make way for Hammond.

Having chaired May’s campaign, it is likely that Brexiteer Chris Grayling will be rewarded with a plum job. If May is feeling particularly generous, she could give him home secretary. 

However, May will be aware that Grayling was denied the post by David Cameron... after saying during the 2010 election campaign that people who ran B&Bs in their homes should have the right to turn away gay couples.

Alternatively, one of the big jobs could go to Amber Rudd, who is also thought to be due a promotion.


Picture by: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

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