MOST OF Argyll and Bute’s Conservative councillors are keeping their cards close to their chests over who should become their party’s new leader.

Only two of the party's nine councillors in the area expressed a preference for who should replace Theresa May, while a third said he had “no view” – and the remaining six had not replied by lunchtime on Friday, June 7.

Yvonne McNeilly, who switched from the Labour Party to the Tories in 2014 and who represents Cowal, is backing Rory Stewart, while Alastair Redman (Kintyre and the Islands) said he supported Boris Johnson.

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Mrs May formally stood down as leader of the party on Friday, June 7. It is anticipated that a new leader, and thereby Prime Minister, will be in place by the end of July.

Councillor McNeilly said: “My journey to Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives was five years ago. I had been a Labour member of 35 years and a former senior councillor.

“I knew where the party was going, but never in a million years did I expect Jeremy Corbyn. I am a full on centre ground person.

“If he manages to stay in, I support Rory Stewart.

“He is bang centre ground, engages with people and their concerns, has a massive backstory and has come right up and said we need to heal and also said bring love into the story.

“I have never in all my 30 years of public life experienced such division, lack of reasoned debate, any search for common ground, purpose, and real lack of confidence in our democracy.

“The rest of the hard line no deal Brexiteers are disasters. If any of them are elected then the Scottish Party needs to look long and hard at the position they find themselves in.

“All the genies are out of all the bottles – once they are out, they can’t go back in. [It] will give a lot of ‘Remain’ centre ground people a lot of thinking to do .”

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Meanwhile, Councillor Redman has a different view on who is best placed to become the next person to lead the country.

He said: “The choice for our next Prime Minister for myself is a very easy one. I, like so many other Conservative and Unionist party members, will be backing Boris Johnson to lead our party and our country.

“Boris is committed to delivering the democratic will of the people to take the UK out of the restrictive and outdated EU.

“Boris also has a proven track record of winning over many voters who have not traditionally voted Conservative and his social media campaigning is among the best in the country.

“He has particularity good relations with the current US leadership and the leaders of the Commonwealth nations.

“These good relationships will be immensely important as we are free to secure overseas trade deals when we leave the shackles of the EU.

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“It’s clear that voters from across every corner of our United Kingdom want a leader who is willing to speak their mind honestly and openly in a world weighed down by so much PC nonsense.

“Boris will always put our union first making sure that we keep not only Scotland in our United Kingdom but also will also keep our Ulster province in the UK.

“For all these reasons and many more I’m proudly backing Boris.”

David Kinniburgh (Helensburgh and Lomond South) said he had “no view”.

Five more Conservatives – Bobby Good, Gary Mulvaney, Donald Kelly, Andrew Vennard and Barbara Morgan – had not responded to enquiries sent by email to their council addresses, while Sir Jamie McGrigor’s inbox sent back an automated ‘out of office’ reply.