In the two weeks since Britain voted to “Leave” the European Union, British politics has been more tumultuous than at any time in the recent past. David Cameron has resigned—and the race to succeed him as both leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister is well underway. Indeed, last week we ran a panel on who should replace him.
But while the conversation about who should lead the country has been constant, far less has been said on the matter of who should replace George Osborne as Chancellor.
Osborne joined Cameron in campaigning vigorously for a “Remain” vote, which presumably means he will eventually make way—voluntarily or otherwise—in the wake of the Brexit vote. Who should take his place—and why? Below, a panel of contributors including Vince Cable and Malcolm Rifkind offer their views.
Someone willing to challenge economic orthodoxy
Vince Cable, former Business Secretary
If Theresa is leader we shall probably get someone safe and sensible but unadventurous like Philip Hammond or Michael Fallon. Andrea Leadsom had a reputation at the Treasury as a very poor minister who thought she knew it all; she would probably bring in a maverick like John Redwood.
We desperately need someone who will challenge the Treasury doctrine which includes capital spending in the “deficit.” To my pleasant surprise my successor, Sajid Javid, has done just that with a proposed £100bn borrowing-to-invest package in order to counter the coming Brexit-induced recession. Ideally the next Chancellor would be a unifying, “one nation” Tory willing to challenge economic orthodoxy: a return to Ken Clarke or Andrew Tyrie.
I would go for Hammond
Malcolm Rifkind, former Foreign Secretary
I would be quite relaxed if George Osborne continued as Chancellor. He has been impressive, over the last six years, in his stewardship of the economy.
A Chancellor of the Exchequer needs to be tough, bright and willing to be unpopular. Edmund Burke once remarked that “To tax and to please is a power not given to man.” I assume Osborne now wants to move on. He would be a natural choice to do my old job of Foreign Secretary.
In current circumstances there are only two credible replacements. One would be Philip Hammond…