With Remainer Theresa May becoming Prime Minister, is this a gift to Ukip?

Nigel Farage Joins Fishing For Leave On A Flotilla Down The Thames
Ukip may get a new wind with Theresa May in charge (Source: Getty)

Alex Deane, a common councilman who sits on the Corporation of London’s Policy and Resources Committee, says Yes.

Theresa May is a perfectly plausible candidate for Prime Minister and, while her striking illiberalism in her stint as home secretary is troubling, I do not doubt that, generally speaking, she will do well in office. But the timing of this elevation, and the manner of it, are both woeful. A Remain candidate (no matter how unnoticeable he or she tried to be) sits ill at ease with the clearly expressed will of the public, and a mid-term fixer’s coronation – as Gordon Brown discovered – produces no legitimacy, no matter how unpopular the incumbent. There is something cathartic and affirming about a public vote, even if only among those who are grassroots party members, which yields a mandate for the beneficiary. Despite May’s undoubted qualities, in the absence of that mandate, many who backed Leave and then backed Boris Johnson and/or Andrea Leadsom, will feel cheated by the manner of her victory. This can only be a boon for Ukip.

Chris Rumfitt, founder and chief executive of Field Consulting, says No.

Britain is not a radical country, but we have witnessed nothing less than a political revolution in the last three weeks. Brexit has been like a bomb that has destroyed everyone close to it – whether Remainers like David Cameron and George Osborne, or Leavers like Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, and Andrea Leadsom. Now, even many Leavers crave calmer times which Theresa May might just be the right person to deliver. She will include people like Chris Grayling and Gove in key roles, and unite the party around a slow, steady, negotiated path to Brexit. Leaderless Ukip, shorn of its one figure of national repute, is going to look like a risky proposition against the backdrop of that desire for stability. The party might continue to prosper in the north, where the epic shambles of the Labour Party continues to haemorrhage votes among its core support, but May will shore up middle England. The high water mark of Ukip passed on 23 June.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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