Tory MPs eye-up Cameron's post

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 6 June 2012 in Diary
Two Tory MPs have expressed an interest in being the next party leader to me in private. But do their ponderings offer more than words? And would a leadership contest really happen before the next election?

On Monday, prime minister David Cameron sat in the comfy seats for the Queen's Jubilee concert.

And while the royal box may have protected him from enthusiastic, rain-drenched flag-wavers, his parliamentary posterior is less sheltered.

As one MP put it to me: "He is approaching squeaky bum time."

While this might be overstating the point, I have encountered two MPs in recent weeks who have voiced their interest in standing in the next Conservative leadership contest.

One is certain they will stand, although they added: "I am unlikely to win... But I do want to enter the fray. That is why I am going quiet in the next few months."

The other, and arguably the more serious of the two, is still deliberating their position.

But both were open to the idea that there could be a challenge to Cameron's leadership before the next election in 2015.

The former MP suggested that after the European elections in 2014 might be a suitable timeframe because "we are likely to do badly and morale will be low". But the other politician thought this would be too late, given that a general election is likely to be held within 12 months of the euro elections.

It's not all doom and gloom for Cameron certainly. But the fact that MPs are even raising the idea of such challenges does indicate a change of pace in the anti-Cameroon confidence.

Even at the Jubilee concert, Cameron's appearance was not without politics.

Comedian Rob Brydon quipped to camera: "The stage crew have been working quicker than Jeremy Hunt deleting a text."

When your government becomes a pop culture reference, it might be time to change tack. Or, at least, get a little wet.

Tags: Conservative Party internal poli, David Cameron, Leadership challenge

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