WANTED! Prime Minister for poisoned chalice of post Brexit Britain

I have an article in the New Statesman, asking why anyone would want to be Prime Minister if we vote to Leave. I’d be interested in what you think on this issue, so please do comment below.

If we vote for Brexit, and a Leave campaigner becomes Prime Minister, their every word of reassurance will be repeated back to them a thousand-fold.

As the country lurched into recession, economists would point out that 90% of them had predicted this. Voters would ask the new Prime Minister, why did you say Project Fear was a lie?

If David Cameron remained Prime Minister, and tried to mitigate the damage would be denounced as a betrayal. If he tried to stay in the single market, they’d scream, “We voted to end freedom of movement.” If he delayed invoking Article 50 they’d hound him till he did. And every set-back would be blamed on his “weak and pathetic” negotiating skills.

If Boris and Gove are sincere in wanting Cameron to stay as Prime Minister, the question becomes, would Cameron be foolish enough to hold on to this poisoned chalice.

See here to read the full article.

* George Kendall is the acting chair of the Social Democrat Group. He writes in a personal capacity.

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  • As the immediate problems arrived a new prime minister would blame it on 1. The Banks2.Immigrants3.European Union and would reassure everyone that over the next few years everything will improve. If it is Cameron he will just keep pointing over his shoulder appoint Boris to a poisoned chalice job and watch him disappear in a puff of egotism.
    Would the public accept this, well if they had just voted to leave they could hardly complain,although they would. It is always someone elses fault

  • it depends who sets the ‘narrative’ post Brexit. Boris Johnson could easily be the Tories’ Brown, scheming, self-seeking, and on attaining highest office being found out. the situation will be dire enough – exit negotiations with an irked eu establishment, threat of scots secrssion etc, a collapse in the £, probably rising interest rates, job losses cutting tax revenues even further and – dare it be said – a peeved and peevish brexit backing public expecting instant gratification – ie. stop immigration, create jobs, give £325m every week to the nhs etc etc. add to that dissent within the tories and i’d wager Johnson would be gone before 2015. but then what?’

  • Nick Collins 22nd Jun '16 - 11:30am

    I understand that “The Sun” this morning bears a headline which admits that its editorial staff “can’t think”. Surely, that isn’t news!

  • But what are we going to do? Will there be any place for us if the political world changes.
    You can see the scenario, Brexit wins, Johnson becomes PM, landslide for the Conservatives and we have no MPs at all. We will have got to think this through very quickly, and it will need new thinking not the old lines from the House of Lords grandees.

  • I think the section on Article 50 might need some more thought. The smarter leavers are desperate for Cameron NOT to invoke this, preferring ‘informal discussions’ first. Because once this is invoked, things get serious very quickly, and the nonsense / speculation would be replaced by hard reality on both sides.

    Good article apart from that.

  • wendy taylor 23rd Jun '16 - 7:57am

    My bet is on Teresa May. Although she’s supposedly Remain, she’s said very little to upset anyone ( deliberately I think) & could be accepted by either side

  • Several of us Welsh Liberal Democrats are already talking about Welsh Independence if xenophobic lil englanders drag us out!

  • Richard Underhill 23rd Jun '16 - 9:45am

    JOHN INNES 23rd Jun ’16 – 9:23am Referendum in Wales first?

  • Nick Tregoning 23rd Jun '16 - 10:55am

    Suspect that I’ll be one of many insisting the Outers keep their promises to spend the same £385m per week over and over again on everything they can think of – the NHS, education, and regional development to name but a few; successfully conclude negotiations for more advantageous trade deals than we have now with the EU, China, NAFTA, India, the Commonwealth, South Korea, and all other emerging economies; support Wales to the same level as ERDF does now; and create 300,000 new jobs by 24th June 2018.
    As for their foul, lying, and dishonest posturing on immigration, by that time their true agenda will have been made explicit – though to be fair, with Farage’s poster that process is well under way. He is truly the heir to Mosley, and Powell.

  • Matt (Bristol) 23rd Jun '16 - 3:35pm

    George, my ‘what if’ scenario had a narrow win, with the Brexiteers doing straw-polling of the Tory party and realising that ‘their’ candidates could not win a leadership election, but then negotiating a ‘permanent internal secession’ inside the party, so that the Conservative Party was formally reconstituted as a dual coalition between a Euro-pragmatist bloc and a separatist/sovereignist bloc, a la the German CDU/CSU.

    Neither would be able to campaign in seats held by the other, but there would be regularly reviewed electoral pacts in key target seats.

    I think this is probably the only route to Tory unity that would keep them fighting the rest of us, rather than a long civil war on In/Out lines that could eventually draw every other party into a fundamental realignment.

    I think we’ll get the latter, anyway, to be honest, but its interesting to speculate.

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