Archive for April, 2012


Wednesday night in the PB NightHawks Cafe

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Welcome to the best overnight political conversation on the net.

Have a good evening.


Recent Threads


Will the Hunting of the Hunt succeed?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
Next cabinet exit betting Odds
Jeremy Hunt evens
Andrew Lansley 8/1
Baroness Warsi 10/1
Cheryl Gillan 10/1
Vince Cable 10/1
Ken Clarke 10/1
Caroline Spelman 12/1
Theresa May 12/1
William Hague 16/1
Michael Moore 16/1
Ed Davey 20/1
Owen Paterson 20/1
Iain Duncan Smith 20/1
Michael Gove 20/1
David Cameron 25/1
Andrew Mitchell 33/1
Lord Strathclyde 33/1
Justine Greening 40/1
George Osborne 40/1
Danny Alexander 40/1
Eric Pickles 40/1
Nick Clegg 50/1
Philip Hammond 50/1

The Culture sec now evens favourite to be next cabinet exit

Above are the revised prices from Ladbrokes on who will be the next cabinet exit. The market was suspended yesterday afternoon. Yesterday morning Hunt was at 50/1.

    I’m not attracted by the evens price. Cameron will do everything he can to keep Hunt in place but he might have to bow to the inevitable.

A telling feature for me was that the emails sent by Hunt’s now ex-SPAD, Andy Smith, did not go through the DCMS system. That suggests that he had doubts.

We shall see.

The US Election See my latest for Telegraph blogs – Newt Gingrich’s main contribution was to ensure that Rick Santorum wouldn’t make it.



The PMQs thread

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012



How’s this all going to play out in Britain’s “mid-terms”?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Will it be harder getting Tory voters to the polls?

As I mentioned on the last thread – yesterday I took the day off for my wife’s graduation and a family gathering and in what has become almost a PB tradition all hell let loose with a minister finding himself in deep water. It was the same with the Liam Fox explosion last autumn.

Today the headlines are awful for the Tories and with PMQs and Rupert going before Leveson today things are not going to calm down quickly

    The general theory on fighting elections when a party’s media coverage is so appalling is that supporters become de-motivated and are less inclined to turn out to vote.

    That certainly happened in 2009 for Labour and for the Lib Dems in 2010. My guess is that it will be the same for the blues a week tomorrow.

Given that many of next week’s clashes will be Blue-Yellow I’m beginning to wonder whether the Tories could finish with net losses against the Lib Dems. It also offers the prospect for UKIP to make progress at a local council level.

The big hope for the Tories is that “Team Boris” can still hang on in London. A victory there would take some of the sting away. The plus side for him is that mayoral battles are much less about party politics and more a clash of personalities.

Polling update: Due to my absence yesterday we’ve not covered the Ipsos-MORI April political monitor which at 38/35/12 was far better for the Tories than anything else we’ve seen in recent days. The other figures there which I focus on a lot are the leader ratings.

The big news here was that Ed Miliband at a net -18% is now ahead of Cameron on a net -20%.

The UKIP share in the MORI telephone poll was unchanged at 4% – half what the online YouGov had for the purples in the latest daily poll.

  • Good to see Marf back again. If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints, please contact her at
  • @MikeSmithsonOGH


    Is Hunt about to become Dave’s human shield?

    Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

    What’ll be the fall-out from today’s revelations?

    We’ve been in London all day for my wife, Jacky’s, graduation (she’s got an MSc from Birkbeck) and it was only on the train home that I first saw what could be devastating news in relation to culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

    The Telegraph’s Iain Martin has got this right – Cameron will use Hunt as a “human shield”.

      In May last year Cameron said in words that might come to haunt him in May 2011: “Jeremy Hunt had a quasi-judicial role to carry out, which he carried out in my view entirely properly.

    This comes on top of all the post-budgets problems and allegations of cash for access. The narrative is not good for Tories and their leader.

    Labour is already ratcheting up the rhetoric that Hunt should resign and tomorrow we have PMQs. It’s going to be an interesting 24 hours.

    The next cabinet exit betting markets appear to have been suspended.



    The May 3rd local elections – your predictions

    Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

    Please take part in the big PB survey

    Which if these possible outcomes do you think will happen on May 3rd? (Tick all that apply)


    Suddenly the bookies have woken up to May 3rd

    Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

    How many seats will Labour gain?

    With just nine days to go before what are being described as the “Britain’s mid-terms” there’s a whole raft of new markets being set up by the bookies.

    Until now virtually the only focus has been on London. Now many other options are available including the second biggest mayoral election – the choice of the first elected mayor of Liverpool from William Hill. Labour is the 1/10 favourite but you might have local knowledge.

    The big focus on the night will be the total of LAB council seat gains and here PaddyPower is offering some interesting bets.

      Less than 500 –5/1
      500-599 –7/2
      600-699 –9/4
      700-799 –2/1
      800-899 – 4/1
      900-999 –6/1
      1000 or more –10/1

    So if you believe the Labour spin that they are going to get about 300 then the 5/1 that it will be less than 500 looks fantastic value.

    PaddyPower has also got “how many of these councils the Conservatives take control of: Portsmouth, Cheltenham, Colchester, Winchester. Can be minority or majority control. BBC recorded results will apply. Here the odds are:-

      None –8/1
      One – 5/1
      Two –5/4
      Three – 6/4
      Four –6/1

    These are against the Lib Dems. Given the Tory collapse in the national polls could they be restricted to two or fewer? This is a market I’m going to study in detail.

    There are also interesting markets on the turnouts in the various London boroughs.



    LAB move to biggest ICM lead since the general election

    Monday, April 23rd, 2012

    CON 33 (-4)
    LAB 41 (+3)
    LD 15 (+2)
    UKIP 3% (-1)

    For the first time the firm has them in the 40s

    The April ICM poll for the Guardian is just out and has LAB in its best position with the pollster since the general election.

    The changes above are with the last ICM poll to be published not the last one in the Guardian which was a bit earlier.

    more follows