Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has hinted that she could run for leader of the Conservative party when David Cameron steps down later in this parliament
Mr Cameron has ruled out standing for a third term as prime minister and the latter years of this parliament are likely to be dominated by discussion of who his successor will be.
Ms Morgan told the Spectator magazine that whether she ran in the contest or not would depend on the status of her personal relationships.
“I hope that, in the not-too-distant future, there will be another female leader of a main Westminster political party,” she said.
“A lot of it will depend on family. I’d be saying this if I were male or female – in the sense that being leader of the party is so all-consuming, putting such a pressure on family relationships.”
The education secretary worked as lawyer before entering parliament. She was educated at Oxford University and the private Surbiton High School.
The ConservativeHome website, which tracks Tory activists’ opininos, has shown large leads for George Osborne in the running to be next party leader.
The Chancellor received a strong boost in his ratings after his most recent budget, and is gaining a reputation as a cunning political tactician.
Mr Osborne, preferred by a third of activists, is followed by Business Secretary Sajid Javid on 18 per cent and Home Secretary Theresa May on 15 per cent.
Former defence secretary Liam Fox and Mayor of London Boris Johnson are also close behind.
Ms Morgan was the first preference of only one per cent of voters in that poll, conducted this month.
The voting system for the Conservative party electing a new leader involve Tory MPs voting in rounds, eliminated the last-placed candidates one at a time. The final two candidates are put the membership at large.
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