May the best woman win as next leader?

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If you are looking for Christmas goodwill and peace to all men over this festive season, you certainly will not find it in the Cabinet.

On the contrary, there is turmoil and vindictiveness rampant among the highest echelons of the Government.

The trouble, which is already starting to boil over, concerns who may succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party if next May’s general election proves a disaster for the Tories.

Theresa May, the most durable of Home Secretaries for many years, is now the acknowledged front runner for the post – a view which enrages the Chancellor, George Osborne.

Now it would seem, the gremlins are already at work to destabilise May. Two of her most senior advisers – presumably at the behest of the Prime Minister – have been removed from the list 
of potential Conservative candidates at the next election and beyond.

The reason for this is said to be that these two people, Nick Timothy and Stephen Parkinson, did not take part in the Rochester and Strood by-election which the Tories lost to Ukip.

It has also been alleged that Mr Timothy wrote something less than complimentary about the Prime Minister.

Although it could actually be argued that the flood of Tories who did take part in that by-election campaign probably annoyed the voters there rather than attracting them to support the Conservative candidate – some said it was overkill.

Whatever the reason, Cameron probably detests talk about his successor, and I don’t blame him for that, as the election grows ever closer.

But this is what happens in the cut-throat world of politics. And certainly Mrs May looks as likely a candidate as anyone else.

Stand by for further fireworks...

Labour is moving ahead again in the opinion polls. But Ed Miliband, who is coming in for more savage criticism from his own side than from the Tories, seems to be the party’s bugbear.

It seems a pity, from Labour’s point of view, that they were not able to persuade the hugely popular Alan Johnson, the ex-postman, to put in for the job.

He would have been Labour’s best hope.

Too late now.