The political conference season is drawing to an end, and parliament will re-open next week. Since Paul urges us that “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2), then now seems a good time to be praying for all our political leaders.
And since too there’s been a huge turnover in the leadership of many of our political parties, now is a good time to remind ourselves of who is leading which party, and of the massive challenges they each face in their own way.
- Theresa May – unless you’ve been living in a cave the past few months, you’ve probably realised that Theresa May is now Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party. She has a massive task on her hands in leading the government through the Brexit negotiations, whilst also keeping an eye on all the other issues that PM’s would normally concentrate on. Pray that she is able to make a success of Brexit, as she keeps promising.
- Jeremy Corbyn – for the second time in 12 months Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the Labour Party, but he seems more estranged than ever for 80% of his MPs. Pray that he’s able to bring unity back to the party, and that the party can provide meaningful and constructive opposition to the government during this crucial time.
- Tim Farron – incredibly, Tim Farron is now the longest serving leader of our mainstream British political parties. With only 8 MPs he still faces the herculean task of reenergising the Liberal Democrats following their battering at the 2015 election. Pray that he chooses wisely the issues to focus on, and that he and his party still manage to be heard despite their shrunk size.
- Diane James* – you’ve probably never heard of her, but Diane James has now been leader of UKIP for over three weeks. Having won the EU referendum argument, UKIP faces a huge challenge on working out why it exists and what it now stands for as a political party. Pray for guidance and wisdom for Diane as she leads the party through that process. That’s a picture of her at the top of this post.
- Caroline Lucas & Jonathan Bartley – Caroline Lucas is now the most experienced leader from this group, having previously served as leader of the Green Party from 2008-2012. She’s now back co-leading the party with Jonathan Bartley. Pray for the two of them to successfully bring climate change and green policies higher up the political agenda, and ensure the UK has a greener energy, transport and industrial strategy.
All these people have a huge opportunity to shape the future of our country. If you ever wondered about the ability of a fringe party to impact the nation then just think about what Nigel Farage achieved with UKIP over the last 20 years. Pray that all of them would lead their parties in the national interest rather than out of self-interest or factional-interest. Pray that through their interactions, the best policies for the future of Britain would be implemented in the coming years.
*I wrote this last night, and already since then Diane James has stepped down as UKIP leader, claiming she didn’t have enough support within the party to be able to successfully do the job. Seems in many ways symptomatic of the crises affecting so many of our political parties. And even more reason to be praying for them…
Mark Williamson also blogs regularly for One Rock, a training organisation developing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s passionate about good films, good food, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.