The ghost of Maggie rattles her handbag…

A CHOICE between Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom is devil and the deep blue sea time. So who’s the devil in this scenario?

Oh, take your pick. Both swim in deep blue waters, but at least we know that May is a cold fish in the Tory sea. Leadsom is more of a rogue catch, a right-wing snapper fish who wants to reduce the rights of workers employed by small firms, among other things.

According to reports, the largely unknown Leadsom disapproves of the gay marriage legislation introduced by David Cameron and wants to repeal the fox-hunting act so that ‘vermin’ can be hunted down. Oh, and she is a devout Christian who is said to believe that sometimes God talks to her.

When the God whispering in her ear theory was raised on Channel 4 News, Leadsom was not amused, saying: “That question is not one that is for laughing at and poking fun at.”

Oh, I don’t know about that.

Now I don’t wish to disparage religion here because plenty of good people have faith. But politicians who believe that God talks to them, now that is worrying. Did God tell Andrea that He didn’t approve of those gay marriages; and while He was about it, could she do something about hunting foxes as they were a right pest and He did so like those pretty pink coats worn by the men on horses? Now I can’t confess to knowing much about God, but it seems unlikely.

What we do know is that God or someone has decreed that the next prime minister will be a woman. This morning’s headlines are full of Maggie references, with the Sun offering rather tortuously, THE IRON MAYDEN, with the sub-head: “New Mrs T must be Tezza not Leadsom.”

I don’t greatly care who leads the Tory party, but that sounds about right, not least because Leadsom is a little odd. She gave a rather simpering interview to the BBC yesterday. She smiled sweetly whenever anything critical was raised, such as allegations that she had embellished her CV somewhat.

Watching her was like seeing a poor Margaret Thatcher tribute act running through her routine. But the thing about Leadsom is that she’s untried, untested and a bit of a raging right-winger. Theresa May is, they say, a safe pair of hands. And a canny operator who supported the Remain camp by doing nothing much other than once mumbling that staying in Europe might be a good idea, then kept her head down and let the Tory boys tear each other apart.

Post referendum, once the letting of blue blood had been done, once Michael Gove had skewered Boris, only to die himself by cuts from the brotherly blades; only then did Theresa May step forward, smile that chilly smile, and remind us that she was the only sensible one left standing.

Anyway it’s nothing to do with me. Or with you unless you’re a renegade Tory who reads leftie columnists. No, it is down to 150,000 Tory party members to vote, with the two candidates campaigning over the summer. The winner will be announced in September, in time for David Cameron to leave at a time of his choosing – rather than, as some of us might wish, receiving a boot up his Eton undies and being told to go now.

It’s always odd when a prime minister jumps ship midstream. Millions of voters have no say in who will lead the country; instead it is down, in this case, to what amounts to a handful of Tory party members, the faithful crusty few.

Will either of these women be a success? Well, Gordon Brown snatched the crown midway through a Labour Party matinee, and we all remember how well that worked out.

The Mirror goes with the Thatcher angle, carrying a picture of Leadsom next to Mrs Hacksaw (ah, haven’t used that label in ages). The strapline reads: “Be afraid… be very afraid!” Below that it says: “MAGGIE II” with the numeral decked out horror movie style. Time to shudder…

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