David Lidington: Who is minister being lined up as ‘caretaker PM’ if Theresa May quits?

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He is Theresa May’s de facto deputy who could soon succeed her as prime minister amid reports of a full-scale cabinet coup to oust her.

But what do we know about David Lidington?

Branded “Mr Europe” by one minister, according to the Mail on Sunday, Tory arch-Brexiteers have reportedly expressed astonishment at the possibility of the MP for Aylesbury succeeding Mrs May.

Indeed, Mr Lidington has also revealed his surprise, telling reporters on Sunday: “I don’t think that I have any wish to take over from the prime minister”.

The 62-year-old supported Remain at the 2016 referendum and played a key role in David Cameron’s failed renegotiation effort prior to the Brexit vote.

Mrs May’s decision to draft in Mr Lidington during her bid to renegotiate the EU withdrawal agreement earlier this year was criticised by former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab.

Despite describing Mr Lidington as “one of the most brilliant ministers” with “huge diplomatic expertise”, Mr Raab added: “Is he really going to have the kind of Brexiteer credentials to get this deal delivered in a way that is palatable back home?”

Elected as Conservative MP for Aylesbury in 1992, Mr Lidington became the longest-serving Europe minister under Mr Cameron, having previously held several shadow cabinet roles before the 2010 election.

He was appointed Leader of the House of Commons by Mrs May in June 2016 and was promoted to Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor the following year.

Now serving as Cabinet Office minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Mr Lidington has deputised for Mrs May at Prime Minister’s Questions several times.

He has emerged as a potential replacement for Mrs May if she resigns despite not being considered one of the contenders for the Tory leadership before she survived a confidence vote from her party in December.

Before entering politics, the married father-of-four worked in industry for BP and mining giant Rio Tinto.

He also holds the rare claim of having captained a championship-winning University Challenge team twice.

He first took the honour in 1978 with Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, before he was victorious again in 2002 to mark the 40th anniversary of the show.

(c) Sky News 2019: David Lidington: Who is minister being lined up as ‘caretaker PM’ if Theresa May quits?

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