Ex-minister says Conservative leadership race must take ‘some months to pick the right person’

A former minister has said that a Conservative leadership contest should take “some months” so that the party ensures the best person for the job succeeds Rishi Sunak. 

Kevin Hollinrake, who was one of 121 Conservative MPs elected to parliament in the election, said the contest should be “much slower” than the ones held in the recent past to give candidates time to set out their vision.

Asked who he wanted to be the next Conservative leader, Hollinrake told Sky News: “I have not made my mind up. I think we should have a much slower process than we have done in the past so we have got some months to pick the right person.

“I think we should probably start that contest in the autumn, September time, and conclude it by the end of the year and give the people who step forward the right chance to make their case about why they should lead the Conservative Party.”

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Earlier on Monday morning, Hollinrake insisted there is not “any rush” to find a new Conservative leader as he toured the broadcast studios with this message. 

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: “I personally think we should take longer than that, to get the right person in place.

“We need to take a few months to decide exactly what went wrong and then decide the right person to take us forward and to present a viable challenge to the Labour Party which I think we can do.”

He added: “So if we can regroup, unite, get a good leader, present the alternative, I think we’ll be in good shape to present a viable case for a Conservative government in 2029. That’s what we’re setting out to do so I don’t think there’s any rush to get the right person in place to do that.”

He went on: “We’ll go forward in terms of finding the right person. I don’t know who the right person will be, I don’t know who’s going to step forward right now.

“But that’s the work of the next few months. I think it’s very, very important that we present two good alternatives for our membership to have the final say on this of course, but that will take a number of months to do that.”

It came as Suella Bravermen, who is tipped to run in the Conservative leadership contest, argued her party faces an “existential threat” from Reform UK.

In a post to X/Twitter, the former home secretary said her party must take a series of steps to restore credibility with voters.

She said: “There is only space for one Conservative Party in British politics & we face an existential threat from Reform.

“We need to adapt [and] be credible on immigration, leaving the ECHR, lowering taxation [and] standing against identity politics.”

How the Conservative Party should deal with Reform is set to become a major dividing line in the leadership contest to come, with Braverman having previously stated that Nigel Farage should be allowed to join the Tories. 

Reform saw 5 MPs elected this election under Farage’s leadership.

The former home secretary told The Times newspaper during the election campaign: “We need to, in the future, to find some way to work together because there shouldn’t be big differences between us.

“I would welcome Nigel into the Conservative Party. There’s not much difference really between him and many of the policies that we stand for.

“We are a broad church, we should be a welcoming party and an inclusive party and if someone is supportive of the party, that’s a pre-condition and they want Conservatives to get elected then they should be welcomed.” 

Other individuals tipped to run alongside Braverman include former immigration minister Robert Jenrick, former foreign secretary James Cleverly, former security minister Tom Tugendhat, former home secretary Priti Patel and former health secretary Victoria Atkins. 

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