Archive for the 'Boris' Category


Former runaway favourite Johnson now slips to just a 6.6% chance in the next CON leader betting

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Amber Rudd, Jacob Rees Mogg, and David Davis, now ahead of him

One of the little commented upon factors since GE2017 is that the former Tory golden boy appears to have lost the midas touch. Certainly there has been a big move away from him on the betting markets and he’s now in fourth place.

For several years, even before he returned to the Commons at the 2014 Uxbridge by-election, there’s been a widespread assumption that if ex-mayor Johnson could make it as far as the members’ ballot in a CON leadership battle the old Etonian with the distinctive hair cut would take the crown. The big question was whether he could gain the support of enough MPs to make the final two which go forward to the membership.

Until last weekend this was based on the perception of punters ready to risk their cash. Then we had polling of CON party members overseen by QMUL’s Prof Tim Bale where the fieldwork was carried out by YouGov. This had 21% backing David Davis with Foreign Secretary down at 17%. The poll had 26% saying they didn’t know or opted not to choose any candidate.

This was the first real polling there’s that there’s been in a long time and Johnson’s position did not come as a surprise.

Maybe it’s an appreciation of the massive challenge of getting Brexit right that doesn’t fit with Johnson’s seemingly flippant approach. The ex-mayor has never appeared to be a details man.

Of course TMay continues in the job but the polling and Johnson’s deterioration might just give an added impetus to Davis backers who want to seize the moment now.

Mike Smithson


This is why you should be laying Boris as next Tory leader/PM

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Video: Boris Johnson being by Eddie Mair a few years ago, the interview did not go well for Boris.

The Spectator have a great piece by James Forsyth about the next Tory leadership contest

Boris, though, has had it even worse than most frontrunners. His problem is that there are not one but four groups who have it in for him. The Cameron/Osborne gang will never forgive him for ending the career of both their king and their dauphin, and they are determined to stop him claiming the crown. Their desire for vengeance blinds them to the fact his liberal Toryism means he is closer to the Cameron project than nearly any of the other contenders.

The second lot are the Tory Europhiles who blame Boris for the referendum result. Then come the May ultras, who regarded Boris as the most immediate threat and so put him in the frame for leadership in order to make him an obvious target. Then there are the men of government who are offended by his unconventional path to one of the great offices of state; I am told that Philip Hammond is ‘obsessed by Boris’. It is little wonder that even the Foreign Secretary’s friends have been reduced to declaring that ‘every-one’s out for Boris’.

Not all of Boris’s problems can be put down to referendum bitterness or tall poppy syndrome. In many ways, he is not helping himself. He is still making too many unforced errors. His spectacularly bumbling Eddie Mair interview was harmful because it played up to the clownish stereotype of him that his opponents want to present. Boris’s ministerial enemies claim, unfairly, that he is shambolic both in cabinet and on the international stage. When Boris mucks up a media appearance, he makes these distorted reports seem more credible. His timing has been off too. His team’s intervention on public sector pay infuriated Tory MPs because it looked like he was jumping on the bandwagon, putting his own interests ahead of the party’s.

Boris’s Falstaffian coming-of-age moment is overdue. Even those Tory MPs who are well inclined towards him want some sign that he has put aside childish things, that he is surrounding himself with serious people. Yet Boris cannot bring himself to say ‘I know thee not’ to some of the less impressive characters who have attached themselves to him in the hope of preferment. That’s an admirable kindness, perhaps, but a great flaw in a politician.

At the same time, Boris needs to get to know his colleagues better, given the tactical voting that will be organised against him. He will need the support of 106 Tory MPs to be sure of making it to the final round. But as one of those who knows him best observes, Boris doesn’t make friends — he receives offers of friendship. The result is he remains a stranger to far too many Tory MPs. When he recently made an appearance on the House of Commons terrace, parliament’s prime spot for summer socialising, it was the first time that most MPs had seen him there.

The whole article is fascinating about the next Tory leadership contest and why the timing of it is so crucial to the chances of so many. As someone who is laying Boris Johnson for the second Tory leadership contest in a row, there maybe a bit of confirmation bias for me, however given the head of the National Audit Office’s intervention in the Brexit debate today where he warned ‘the Government could come apart like a chocolate orange’ this makes me think this a time for a serious politician, and that rules out Boris.

As an aside, this intervention makes for damning read for David Davis with the head of the NAO revealing ‘that David Davis’s Brexit department failed to show him a plan for how leaving the EU will work, despite his requests, and could only offer a “vague” explanation as to why it was unable to.’  

If Brexit descends into a mess then I’d be laying anyone who was involved with Brexit as it appears those charged with delivering Brexit lack the vision, the wit, and managerial ability that God gave pistachio nuts.



This makes me glad I’m laying Boris in the race to be next Tory leader

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

ConservativeHome have released their latest cabinet league table based on the votes of readers of Tory members on ConHome. Whilst the most eye catching thing might be Mrs May’s spectacular record breaking fall from grace, for me it is the score achieved by Boris.

With the seriousness of Brexit in both securing a good deal and the post Brexit environment I suspect this poll is a reflection that is a time for serious politicians and not a court jester, so for the second consecutive Tory leadership market I’ve been laying Boris Johnson.

It speaks volumes about the pickle the Tory party finds itself in when the best rated politician in this isn’t even a Tory MP, but the results in Scotland on June 8th were the only high point for the Tories, which was down to Ruth Davidson so that is reflected in these ConHome findings.

I know I’m not the only Tory who somehow hopes Ruth Davidson becomes an MP before the next Tory leadership election but I suspect she sees her role for the next few years as ensuring Scottish Nationalism really is killed stone dead and that can only be achieved in Holyrood and not Westminster.



Boris gets his own back on Theresa

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Paul Waugh writes on HuffPost about tonight’s reception at Lancaster House,

“In front of hundreds of diplomats from around the globe, he made a typically maverick speech hailing Brexit, while teased the PM on everything from foreign student numbers to Nigel Farage’s links with the US and even Heathrow’s third runway.

But after days of “trousergate” controversy – sparked by former minister Nicky Morgan’s criticism of the cost of May’s leather pants – Johnson couldn’t resist the biggest target…

“We are so cosmopolitan that we drink more champagne, more prosecco, buy more German cars than anyone else,” he declared.

“And our wonderful Prime Minister actually wears lederhosen!”

Quite where this is all going will be one of the fun stories of 2017.

Mike Smithson


Betting on will Boris Johnson still be Foreign Secretary of the 1st of January 2018

Sunday, December 11th, 2016


Boris Johnson’s desire to be Prime Minister is why he will stay & try to make a success of being Foreign Secretary while Mrs May cannot sack him without causing problems for herself.

William Hill have a market up on whether Boris Johnson will still be Foreign Secretary on the 1st of January 2018.

I think despite the events of the summer when Michael Gove’s transformation into the lovechild of Frank Underwood and Niccolò Machiavelli fatally damaged Boris Johnson’s chances of suceeding David Cameron, Boris still wants to be Prime Minister. He knows he needs to show he can be and is a successful Foreign Secretary rather than be perceived as neither a flouncer nor the court jester if his dreams are to be realised.

Though it speaks much about Mrs May’s people skills that in the past few weeks we’ve seen talk of her Chancellor quitting (and his odds as first out of the cabinet tumble from 25/1 to 8/1) and now there’s a betting market on her Foreign Secretary not lasting the whole of 2017.

To lose her two senior ministers so early in her premiership would be a harbinger of a forthcoming leadership challenge to Mrs May. As someone wryly observed to me a few weeks ago Theresa May is Mrs Thatcher without the warmth, people skills, or election winning nous, can you imagine Mrs Thatcher and her staff banning a fellow Tory MP from a dinner after said MP commented on the PM’s choice in clothes? Mrs May and her staff are displaying all the character flaws of this country’s last mandateless Prime Minister.

Given the recent comments made by Boris about Iran and Saudi Arabia and subsequent contretemps which have spilled out into several of today’s papers with Iain Duncan Smith being touted as a replacement for Boris as Foreign Secretary (Yes IDS as Foreign Secretary!), I can see why people might want to back the 6/4 but all told I’m taking the 1/2 on Boris still being Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the 1st of January 2018.

With Theresa May’s Commons majority reducing in the past month and the looming Brexit negotiations she needs Boris as much as Boris needs her, were she to lose the front man of the Leave campaign then doubts about her commitment to the full fat Brexit that many Tory leavers want will emerge. Both Boris and Mrs May have to make it work for both their careers.



Boris can’t go on being overruled by Number 10 and remain as Foreign Secretary

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

If it wasn’t for Labour TMay’s government would look shambolic

Ex BBC Political Editor, Nick Robinson, hits the nail on the head with his Tweet this afternoon after another instance of the Foreign Secretary making a statement only for it to be countermanded by Number 10 shortly afterwards.

This latest one was about Saudi Arabia creating an ambivalent view which cannot, surely, be helping relations with the country.

Over a period when members of a government don’t speak as one an impression of incompetence starts to develop which is not good for any party reliant on people’s votes.

I’ve no idea who is at fault here – Mr. Johnson or his boss, Mrs. May. The former has a reputation for making striking statements while the latter is known, fairly or unfairly for her control-freakery. The impression from these ongoing incidents is that the semior members of the government don’t converse as much as you would expect them to.

At some stage Boris has got to find a way of working with the PM or he’ll have to go. Maybe the 6/1 that Ladbrokes is offering as him being the net cabinet exit is a good bet.

Ladbrokes Next Cabinet Exit betting


Mike Smithson


New entrant Ed Balls moves immediately to 3rd place in latest YouGov favourability ratings

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Both Theresa May & Corbyn see drops

Here they are – the latest YouGov favourability ratings, the polling where the site has chosen who/what should be included.

The first time we did this was in August and since then all the UK politicians have seen net drops. Ed Balls, included after his Strictly successes, was not part of the August list.

In the summer TMay was still enjoying her honeymoon and had a net +12%. That’s now down to +5% with 46% favourable to 41% unfavourable. Boris has seen a decline from -5% in August to -13% now (38-51). Meanwhile, just on his heels, comes Strictly star Ed Balls with 32-47%. So he’s in negative territory but nothing like as bad as Mr. Corbyn who has 26-51 representing a net move since last time of minus 10.

Tony Blair might be thinking of some sort of UK come-back but his ratings, 14-74 are awful and he is only just ahead of Putin and Trump.

Donald Trump gets the best numbers from GE2015 UKIP voters who split 45% to 49%. They also have the most favourable view of Mr. Putin.

Mike Smithson


Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his country for his career.

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Boris wrote that Brexit could lead to economic shock, Scottish Independence, and Russian aggression 2 days before he backed Brexit.

For the last few years I generally kept on advocating that Boris should be laid for the Tory leadership, that advice isn’t going to change for the next Tory leadership contest. It will be very easy to portray Boris as someone who puts his own ambitions ahead of the best interests of the country, that is something that should fatally damage his chances of ever leading his party or country.