Off the Record
Political Editor Paul Francis
While a beleaguered Theresa May clings on as PM, there are no such problems for the Conservative leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter.
He has just been re-elected leader with no dissenting voices by the Conservative group at County Hall.
After delivering a resounding election victory in May in which the Conservatives grabbed 67 of the 81 divisions up for grabs, Mr Carter has what by any measure meets the definition of “unassailable”.
He is now into his 12th year as leader of the Conservatives at County Hall.
The closest he got to losing political control was when UKIP came within a whisker of depriving the party of outright control in 2013.
Oh and he delivered a 15% rise in allowances for councillors. Which might have been a factor.
Positive discrimination by way of all-women shortlists for would-be MPs is back on Labour’s agenda in a bid to achieve parity between the sexes.
In Kent, however, just one target seat has been identified for an all– women shortlist – Dover and Deal.
Depending on which way you look at it, this could mean that Labour feels that it is the only seat in Kent it has hopes of winning.
And it is worth pointing out that four of the county’s MPs got elected without any such favours. And they are all Conservative.
With the Conservatives seemingly unable to get away from leadership contortions nationally, if the chance arose would any Kent MPs be in the frame?
Speculation is rife that among the new intake of Conservative MPs there is a feeling that the successor to Mrs May should be one of the new generation. And one name that has cropped up is that of the Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat, who is increasingly well-regarded by his peers.
And in a recent interview, he candidly admitted he’d like a shot at the job. “I bought a ticket, why wouldn’t I want to win the lottery?”
Depending on where you look, the bookmakers are offering 33-1 on him being the next to take the reins.
And that price puts him ahead of Michael Fallon, the Sevenoaks MP – but behind Ashford MP Damian Green.
But as they all invariably will say: “There is no vacancy.” Yet.
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