Home Secretary Suella Braverman arrives at the Midland Hotel on the second day of the Conservative Party Conference. Photo: Ioannis Alexopoulos/LNP
Following Sir Keir Starmer coming to power in 2024, as most polls predict, the question of who will come after Rishi is once again on Conservative minds.
Of the many names, openly discussed by MPs, members and conference delegates of the Conservative Party, the vast majority are women.
The conference began with some controversy when Dame Priti Patel went on air seemingly questioning the record of her successor Suella Braverman as Home Secretary.
Braverman's speech in Washington last week in which she claimed that multiculturalism has failed is widely seen as a mistake, not least after it was accused of dog whistle politics for allowing asylum seekers to “game the system” by “pretending” to be gay.
Dame Preeti, who has, it's fair to say, never been bosom buddies with her fellow Brexiteers, wasted no time in accusing her of being an “attention seeker”.
But the infighting between the right has only illuminated the situation. note the leadership ambitions of both women, who, although unpopular among Twitter users, are conservative catnip to the masses.
Dame Priti Patel took to the airwaves to appear to question her successor Suella Braverman's record as Home Secretary. Photo: Carl Court/Getty
Kemi Badenoch is also making waves. He currently tops the Conservative House Cabinet Satisfaction Index (59 points), following the resignation of former favorite Ben Wallace as Defense Secretary. The Business and Trade Secretary has been touted as a future Tory leader.
< p>Such is her status as a rising star that she will be the subject of the next political biography by former deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft.
Playing a fearsome game of bingo at conferences, the mother of three wooed Tory supporters by attacking the Labor Party over… for Brexit and the culture wars, declaring that achieving net zero by 2050 “should not bankrupt the country” and calling for a pro-trans Stonewall. stop receiving government funds.
Although she is a popular figure on the right of the party, some remain suspicious of Badenoch's links to Michael Gove, despite them being “not as close as they used to be”. “.
The queue stretching through the Midland Hotel in Manchester on Monday brought back memories of Boris Johnson in his prime.
Although the main floor of the conference was reminiscent of the Mary Celeste when Cabinet ministers took the stage in front of a nearly empty audience, the biggest event of the day took place at the other end of the complex and perhaps at the other end of the party.
Kemi Badenoch currently tops the Conservative House ministerial satisfaction survey. Photo: James Vasey/Shutterstock
After all, it was in the hotel's Trafford Hall that the action of the four-day Torifest actually took place, as hundreds of people gathered to watch former prime minister Liz Truss upstage the chancellor she was forced to appoint after her own mini-budget Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng failed. this time last year.
The Make Britain Grow Again event, accompanied by Dame Priti, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and the lesser known Ranil Jayawardena, the Make Britain Grow Again event, attended by the former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage may have had Trumpian overtones, but it was rather Thatcherian in its approach.
Calling for public spending cuts and tax cuts, one pessimistic commentator called it “an audition for the next shadow cabinet”.
However, regardless of the election outcome, the next general election, which will inevitably decide whether Rishi Sunak stays or goes, It is the women of Westminster, not the political boys in blue, who look set to dominate conversations in Manchester.
Gillian Keegan perhaps made the most powerful statement from the conference when she passed a resolution banning mobile phones in schools.
Gillian Keegan, made perhaps the most powerful statement at the conference when she passed a resolution banning cell phones in schools. Photo: Adam Vaughn/Shutterstock
The Education Secretary found herself in hot water last month when she was caught on camera saying that “everyone else was sitting on their asses” over a particular school crisis.
However, the former state-educated businesswoman's humble Lancashire roots are attracting attention. some members of the Tory One Nation faction who are reluctant to elect another state-school-educated Oxford graduate.
Another name touted as a leadership contender is Miriam Cates, a former teacher and mother of three children. who was elected MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge in 2019.
As co-founder of the New Conservative group with Danny Kruger, Cates's advocacy of family values and outspoken opposition to trans ideology has brought her to the attention of the Grays. hair, including Sir Bill Cash, who privately called her “the new Thatcher”.
However, her slim majority of 7,210 raises fears she will not be able to hold on to her seat at the next general election.< /p >
With Penny Mordaunt in second place in the ConHome poll with 47.5% of the vote, the future of conservatism looks decidedly female.