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The prospect of Johnson as leader should make Theresa’s position a bit more secure

August 9th, 2018

How many are going to no confidence her if he’s alternative?

Much has been written about the incredible resilience of Theresa May who has managed to hang on to her job now for well over a year after losing the party it’s majority in the June 2017 general election.

She became a contender in the post referendum Conservative leadership race in July 2016 with her backers arguing that she was the one for the party to get behind in order to stop Johnson.

It was a powerful appeal as we saw with Johnson himself bottling out of the fight on that extraordinary Thursday morning in early July two years ago when he realised his MP support base was nothing like as wide as he thought.

One of the ex-Mayor’s problems has always been his relations with many fellow Conservative MPs. Few appear ready to back him and speak up when required. Also the cack-handed way he dealt with Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom during the last contest caused both to enter the race.

At the moment the one CON MP who seems most ready be interviewed and publicly support him is Nadine Dorries – her of “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” fame. She used to attack Cameron and Osborne for being “posh boys” something she hasn’t raised in relation Johnson in spite of his similar educational background.

The experience of the Conservative leader no confidence procedure is that it has only ever been used once and then there was a degree of unanimity about who should be the successor. That was in 2003 when Iain Duncan Smith was voted out and Michael Howard took over the leadership without there being a members’ ballot.

If when parliament returns 48 CON MPs are bold enough to send letters demanding a confidence vote then you can see ahead of the MP ballot Team Theresa twisting a few arms with the message – “do you really want Boris as PM?” If all MPs voted 155 would have to back a confidence move and Johnson does not have that much support.

The betting has moved away from TMay going this year and if she makes it till 2019 she’s surely going to continue to Brexit and beyond.

Mike Smithson