— The Onion (@TheOnion) September 17, 2014
Cameron’s successor will be chosen for a very specific task; leading the Conservative party into the elections due next spring, not for the next two, three, five, or ten years. As such there are a number of considerations that may well lead the leading factions to settled on someone less prominent.
The first will be the nature of their ascension. Cameron’s fall will be interpreted as a judgement on Cameron’s tenure as leader, and the entire policy of his government. At the very least it will be seen as a repudiation of his handling of Scotland. The Chancellor, George Osborne is associated with both, and his recent entry into the Scottish campaign, the only senior Tory to do so, will reinforce that impression. This does not mean that Osborne or the Cameron faction will be without resources or prospects. Just because they cannot win a leadership contest in 2014, does not mean they would necessarily be unable to in 2015 or 2016. As such they have every interest to delay the issue of a permanent leader as long as possible, while also preserving as many existing MPs as possible in next year’s elections. The current MP intake is far friendlier to Cameron than any of their potential replacements will be. Both goals can be accomplished by backing a lesser-known right-winger as leader.