Conservative Party Conference – Philip Hammond: Foreign Secretary but never party leader.
Philip Hammond: Foreign Secretary but never party leader.
Like a lot of conference speeches Philip Hammond’s speech sounded more like a wannabe party leader than a cabinet member. To be fair to Hammond this is a difficult thing to avoid when discussing foreign affairs. A Foreign Secretary is required to discuss Britain’s role in the rest of the world and what the country as a whole can do to help others. When discussing the country in relation to the rest of the world it is very easy to begin to sound more like the leader of the that country – whether they wish to or not.
However Philip Hammond has an air around him that feels that he considers himself a front-runner for the party leadership. Obviously anyone as high up as Hammond is expected to at least get a look in as the next party leader, but when it comes down to it and he is facing the likes of the formidable and strategic politicians such as May, Gove, Osbourne and Boris, he is likely to be left in their dust.
There is no doubt that he is competent and is a self-made man outside politics. But unlike the Labour Party, the Conservative Party has a few football teams full of self-made people. The competition is so much tougher in the Conservative Party – the calibre of MPs and Ministers is simply higher. Hammond is the sort of guy of guy you want in Cabinet – but not necessarily leading it.