Sleaford area Conservative councillor fears it will take ‘a long time’ to return to stability

A local politician has been expressing his reaction to the departure of Liz Truss as Britain’s shortest-serving Prime Minister in history and looking to the future as to who should – or could – replace her.

County Councillor Andrew Hagues wants stability in the party.
County Councillor Andrew Hagues wants stability in the party.

Liz Truss’ resignation came amidst more political turmoil after chief whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker quit, only to remain in their post following confusing scenes at a vote on fracking in Parliament on Wednesday night which left many Conservative members fuming.

She was elected just 44 days ago after taking over from Boris Johnson.

Andrew Hagues, of Leasingham, has been Conservative member for Sleaford Rural division on the county council since 2011.

He said: “My feelings are the same as most people in the country, I believe, that initially I was quite prepared to give her a bit of a chance, but I have to say it has just gone into a farce and the resignation has not come a moment too soon.

"It is going to take a long time for the Conservative Party as a whole to get back to some degree of stability.”

But he was more concerned about the stability of the country and wanted what was best for the greater good.Coun Hagues, a former chairman of Lincolnshire County Council, was surprised that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were already throwing their hats into the ring to take over as leader in what is expected to be a short contest, concluded by next Friday.

But he said either of those would get his support. “I just want to put all this behind us and get on with running the country.”

Other names being suggested include former leadership contender Penny Mordaunt but the party has stated that in order for a quick election, each candidate would need to get the backing of around 100 MPs to be in contention for the final vote.

Looking to the future Coun Hagues felt that whoever becomes PM is almost on “a hiding to nothing”, claiming media and public attitudes were largely anti-Conservative at the moment, although he could understand their reasons.

He said the action in Westminster also made it harder for local councillors to get on with their roles. "You all get tarred with the same brush as Conservatives.

"I only stood to see what I could contribute to my patch and leave it to central government to get on with their bit.

"It is going to make life very difficult and will take some time.”

Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Dr Caroline Johnson, a health minister in Liz Truss’s cabinet, has been approached for her reaction but is yet to respond.