Telegraph columnist backs Mark Francois as next Tory leader

PUBLISHED: 12:34 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:54 11 April 2019

Mark Francois, Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford and hardline Brexiteer (Pic: Parliament)

Mark Francois, Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford and hardline Brexiteer (Pic: Parliament)

Parliament

A columnist for the Daily Telegraph has backed hardline Brexiteer Mark Francois to succeed Theresa May as the next Tory leader and prime minister.

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Charlotte Gill, a right-wing commentator who has dismissed campaigners for a People’ Vote as “like watching a sea of One Direction fan girls”, has said the vocal backbencher is “a potential leader for sorting out the mess”.

Francois, 53, previously a little-known junior minister under David Cameron, has made a name for himself with a series of increasingly eccentric statements on Brexit in recent months.

In January he tore up on live TV a warning from Tom Enders, who runs Airbus, about the economic ramifications of a no-deal Brexit, describing it as “Teutonic arrogance” and saying: “My father, Reginald Francois, was a D-Day veteran. He never submitted to bullying by any German and neither will his son.”

This week he held an event in Westminster to vow the UK would derail EU projects if Brexit did not happen, saying Europe “will be facing perfidious Albion on speed”.

He also read out an entire Tennyson poem to the predominantly elderly audience for reasons which were not immediately obvious.

And he took to Radio Essex to put on the record that he had a large penis following an awkward TV appearance with writer Will Self which went viral.

All that appears to have convinced Gill that Francois is ready to succeed the likes of David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Clement Atlee and Margaret Thatcher in the highest office of state.

She writes: “MPs spend far too much time laughing at the likes of the ERG [European Research Group], instead of examining their own faults as parliamentarians.

“Francois may not be the best person in the world at metaphors, but at least he can stick to the basic principle of democracy.

“How nice it is to have someone with bravado and conviction - who will stare it out with Will Self on Politics Live, if necessary, and stick up for Britain, when national self-loathing has become the norm.”

She adds that “MPs should not underestimate his mass appeal”.

“When I tweeted about his popularity, I was inundated with messages, such as ‘I think he’s terrific’, ‘he tells it like it is and he’s a true democrat’, with many users saying that they’d like him to be prime minister,” she says.

“Parliament can sniff at them all they like because of his brash statements. But at a time when so many are trying to circumvent a democratic mandate through ingenious methods, being straightforward goes a long way.”

Gill, 30, is also an outspoken critic of the #MeToo movement.

On Betfair Exchange Francois is currently 400/1 to be the next Conservative leader.

Political historians say that to find a time a leading British political party chose to elect a leader from the party’s furthest ideological fringes who dealt in wild generalisms and only pandered to a hardcore element who agreed with him, one would have to go back all the way to 2015.

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