Could Johnny Mercer Be the Next Tory Leader? - Katy Balls

By Balls, Katy | The Spectator, April 6, 2019 | Go to article overview

Could Johnny Mercer Be the Next Tory Leader? - Katy Balls


Balls, Katy, The Spectator


Could Johnny Mercer be the party's next leader?

A few weeks ago, Johnny Mercer spoke in Westminster on the future of conservatism. At the end, the audience was asked by the host who should be the leader capable of delivering all this and a voice from the back shouted: 'Johnny!' It was his wife, Felicity. She's not alone in her admiration. Throughout parliament, there's talk of Brexit having been messed up not just by Theresa May but a whole generation of career politicians. So perhaps, it's argued, the new leader should be from a younger generation, with a very different CV. Someone who can make inexperience into a virtue.

This 37-year-old former army captain might not be running for the job -- 'It's not a position you self select to' -- but he certainly hits the right notes. He openly despairs about the current state of the government and predicts that if the Tories go into an election now, calamity will follow. 'The party will get wiped out,' he says. 'We'll get top-sliced and bottom-sliced by those who don't want any Brexit -- and those who want a Ukip version of Brexit. We'll just get left behind and Jeremy Corbyn will be prime minister.'

He likes to do things differently, and initially suggested doing-the interview while running along the river. I politely declined, so instead he just met me in his running gear. He has always gone against the Tory grain. He won his seat (Plymouth Moor View) from Labour in 2015 with no help at all from the central Tory machine. He has openly criticised his party's policies on areas ranging from welfare to veterans' rights. A few months ago, he made headlines for calling his own government a 'shit-show'.

It's common now for Tory MPs to attack the party leadership. But Mercer is sceptical of those doing it only since it became fashionable. 'You have people lining up saying: this is all a disaster and aren't we terrible. I think it's a bit disingenuous: the time to say that was six or seven months ago, when I said it,' he says. 'It's not like I've got a degree in PPE from Oxford. But it was very clear to me that this was going to end badly -- so it was time to say something, to try and get a slight shift in direction. Now, has it got better? I mean you don't need me to answer that.'

Mercer has been on a 'normal journey' when it comes to Brexit. He voted Remain 'out of loyalty' to David Cameron but thinks voters made the right decision and 'we need to get on and see that through'. He's appalled that the Prime Minister cannot hold a meeting without anonymous quotes emerging in the press. 'You couldn't run Tesco, you couldn't run a corner shop, if all your workers went out and briefed the local press,' he says. His blunt advice to them: 'Put your name to it and say it or shut the fuck up.' The next leader should also be chosen based on their outlook rather than their age, he says. 'It is about whether you view this place as a stage to prance around on and think you're in a TV programme like The West Wing -- or whether you see politics as a vehicle to get things done.'

Does he agree with Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, who has said the next Tory leader should be a senior Eurosceptic who can navigate through the next phase of negotiations? 'Why would Chris say that?' he asks mischievously. 'Are you telling me that we need someone who has been here a long time to lead us into the next election? I don't agree.'

What then about ministerial experience? Is that needed before taking on the most important job in the country? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Could Johnny Mercer Be the Next Tory Leader? - Katy Balls
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.