`Tory Obama` in line for leadership
A multi-millionaire black MP is being secretly groomed by the ruling Conservative Party as a potential successor to David Cameron.
London: A multi-millionaire black MP is being secretly groomed by the ruling Conservative Party as a potential successor to David Cameron if the Prime Minister fails to deliver a majority at the next British elections.
IT tycoon Adam Afriyie, being dubbed the "Tory Barack Obama", is expected to be put forward as a surprise candidate for the leadership of the Conservative party if Cameron fails in the 2015 polls, according to `The Sunday Times`.
Afriyie, the son of a white English mother and a Ghanaian father, was elected to represent Windsor in 2005 when he became the first black Tory MP.
More than 100 party MPs have reportedly been approached about whether they would support a bid by the Windsor MP, who himself has dismissed rumours of any revolt within the party.
"It is of course a flattering suggestion, but I am simply working hard with my colleagues in planning how we can secure a Conservative majority government in 2015 and beyond," he said.
Afriyie grew up in poverty in Peckham, south-east London, and went on to build a fortune of around 100 million pounds with his IT services support business.
Besides a humble upbringing, his leadership credentials will be strengthened by the fact that he has a clean image and has never claimed parliamentary expenses for travel or a second home.
He and wife Tracy-Jane divide their time between their Windsor home and a four-storey property in central London.
"The team are well organised. They are very concerned about the long-term future of the party and believe Adam is the future. He has a fantastic back story and is very impressive," a friend was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
Rumours have been doing the rounds of Britain`s Parliament that around 55 Tory MPs plan to demand a leadership contest if Cameron continues to trail Labour`s Ed Miliband in the polls.
It takes 46 MPs to write to the party`s 1922 Committee to trigger a vote of no confidence.
A number of behind-the-scenes campaigns are believed to be under way to take over from Cameron, with Afriyie`s "Windsor set" the most formal and advanced.
He is likely to have to compete with George Osborne, the UK Chancellor, London mayor Boris Johnson and education secretary Michael Gove if the Tories are unable to secure a majority under Cameron`s leadership.
Reports of a covert operation against Cameron came as a Sunday Times `YouGov` opinion poll this weekend put Labour ahead at 41 per cent and Tories at 35 per cent in terms of public voting intentions.
It suggests that his long-awaited speech on Europe had not resulted in a surge of popularity or helped revive Conservative party fortunes.
Eurosceptics backbenchers within the party are not entirely happy with the party chief`s timetable for an EU referendum, scheduled for 2017.
They want legislation promising a vote to be passed before the 2015 election.=