Tuesday 18 June 2019 5:30 am

DEBATE: Would Rory Stewart be a good Prime Minister to lead the UK through Brexit?

Would Rory Stewart be a good Prime Minister to lead the UK through Brexit?

Olivia Utley, deputy editor at TheArticle, says YES.

To make a success of Brexit at this late stage in the game, our new Prime Minister will have to do more than negotiate a good deal with the EU. He must – and this is the even tougher part of the challenge – provide a vision to unite and excite our bitterly divided country.

Rory Stewart – a politician who speaks not of the pros and cons of throwing milkshakes, but the importance of love and listening – is the man for the job.

His intelligence, charisma and confidence would, of course, go down a treat in any negotiating room, but as his sterling performance in the first TV debate on Sunday made clear, he also has the potential to become a figure around whom Brits can rally.

Most importantly, his fantastic social media campaign shows that he is capable not only of talking, but of listening too.

And at a time when many feel that democracy itself is under threat, a listening Prime Minister is precisely what we need.

Alex Deane, a Conservative commentator, says NO.

Trust Rory Stewart to take us through Brexit? We’d likely end up not leaving – which, as his campaign seems to hint, is sort of his aim anyway. Never mind democracy: it all seems a bit difficult, so let’s jack it in. What a view.

The slavish and uniform feting of Stewart by our media class is unsurprising, as he lobs the bombs they want lobbed. He’s so in tune with our bien-pensant Remainiac establishment (politicians who won’t deliver on what we voted for, the BBC, The Guardian, oddballs who fund lawsuits against politicians) that he’s exempt from scrutiny for high office.

He’s catnip to the anti-Tories, guaranteed airtime as he trashes the party brand.

But if, having asked the crocodile to eat him last, he succeeded in aiding and abetting the killing off of real Tories, the lefty media would turn on him – for his appeal is to people who praise “centrism” but vote for the left. And nobody prefers the ersatz to the real.

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.