Archive for the 'Boris' Category


On the day of BoJo’s big Brexit speech the TMay successor betting edges further to an Etonian, but not the Foreign Secretary

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Moggy is still dazzling the markets

I had a thought before the Foreign Secretary’s big Brexit speech that there might be a case for putting a small amount on him on Betfair’s next Conservative leader market. Generally betting can respond to news coverage and clearly Mr Johnson is going to get a lot of that today.

Only problem, looking at the chart, is that what betting movement there has been has not gone to Mr Johnson but to Mr Rees-Mogg so I’ve probably saved myself a bob or two.

I still think that Moggy might struggle under the current Conservative leadership rules to make the final two which goes to the membership. He needs the support of enough fellow CON MPs to get to that stage and I thought that David Herdson’s analysis at the weekend had this right.

Of course, as we always say, Mrs May is still there and seeking to struggle on with her target being the next general election which is not due until 2022.

I’ve just got a feeling that there’ll always be a reason why the time will never be ripe for the party to get involved in what’s likely to be a divisive contest and she could survive.

Mike Smithson


Peston suggests that Boris might be preparing the ground to flounce out of the cabinet

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Could this be BoJo’s Heseltine moment?

In an interesting Facebook post under the heading ““Is Boris preparing to flounce out of the cabinet?” Robert Peston ponders the question of whether we are seeing the Foreign Secretary prepare the ground for a bid at the leadership.

This is, of course, in the context of Johnson’s demand, reported in the Times this morning, for an extra £5bn for the NHS. Peston concludes:

“..If Johnson feels his best chance of becoming leader would be by first preparing the ground from the back benches, the principled reason for resigning – in order to win back the support of sceptical colleagues – would be because the prime minister is offering the wrong kind of Brexit.

And his personal manifesto pledge would be the late delivery of that £350m for hospitals!”

Certainly the longer that TMay remains at number 10 the bigger the challenge facing Johnson if he wants to go for the job. As time passes other names could come into the frame and strategically it is probably better for him if the challenge comes before Brexit has happened. It certainly makes sense in that context for him to be seen to be the one making the move.

Remember he was the strong favourite to succeed in the weekend after the election when TMay had lost the Tories their majority.

Ladbrokes have Boris at 5/1 for next Cabinet exit – Paddy Power offer 6/1.

Mike Smithson


After Toby Young the focus moves to some of BoJo’s writing about women and gay people

Friday, January 5th, 2018

Could it hurt his CON leadership chances?

Mike Smithson


It’s time Michael Gove got the credit for stopping Boris from becoming Prime Minister

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

At 25/1 the Environment Sec looks a value leadership bet

We all remember that crazy Thursday morning in June last year when Michael Gove announced that he was standing for the Conservative leadership thus scuppering in one blindingly effective stroke the bid by former Mayor of London, Mr Johnson.

If anyone can take the credit for undermining the Boris bid for Number 10 it is the Environment Secretary. He did it because he more than anyone could see the inadequacies of the man who a few days later Mrs May appointed as Foreign Secretary.

    It was a brave and potentially risky thing for Gove to do and each consequential cock-up by Johnson as Foreign Secretary underlines how important his move then was.

The Foreign Secretary’s dreadful handling of the case of the British woman in an Iranian jail has surely put Boris out of the running for the leadership. The absence of Tory MPs in the Commons chamber this week for his statement was a good pointer to his chances now.

A Conservative leadership election, of course, is in two parts and the most vital first hurdle is to get backing of the parliamentary Conservative Party. Only the final two in the MP ballots get to be put to the party membership at large in the postal ballotand it is very hard to see the Foreign Secretary making it now. Iain Martin in the Times this morning notes:

At Westminster, Michael Gove is undergoing a renaissance. “Michael was proved right about Boris’s unsuitability last year,” a colleague observes. I suggest a modest flutter on his leadership chances.

That sounds like good advice given that it is likely to go to a leaver who takes over from Mrs. May.

Mike Smithson


Today could have been the day when BoJo’s dream of becoming PM finally ended

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Punters abandon the ex-mayor on TMay successor market

The story of BoJo’s unguarded comments on the Brit being held in Iran has been dominating news bulletins for the past couple of days. That the woman could face five more years in jail because of what the Foreign Secretary said wrongly about what she was doing in the country is going to be remembered for a long time to come.

It puts the spotlight on his greatest weakness – not reading his brief – and not appreciating what he should have told the Commons. Johnson doesn’t do contrition which he really needed to do this afternoon.

Inevitably punters can come to their own conclusions.

Back in June, after the general election, Johnson was a 30% chance on Betfair of becoming next CON leader. Only three days ago he was still favourite. Now the betting looks like this:-

Rees-Mogg 13% chance
DDavis 13% chance
Rudd 10%
Johnson 8%
Davidson 6%
Leadson 6%
Williamson 4%
Tugendhadt 4%
Rabb 3%
Gove 3%

Mike Smithson


Betting on who will be Foreign Secretary on the 1st of January 2018

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Ladbrokes have a market up who will be Foreign Secretary on the 1st of January 2018, I quite like these kind of markets. Boris Johnson’s actions in recent weeks has led many to urge Mrs May to conduct a reshuffle to rid her of her meddlesome Foreign Secretary.  With rumours abounding that Mrs May will conduct a reshuffle after this week’s EU Council Summit, this looks like a tempting market.

I think we can rule out Emily Thornberry being Foreign Secretary on the 1st of January, the chances of either Labour forming the government in the next three months, or her defecting to the Tory party are a lot higher than the 25/1 offered in this market.

People have started mooting David Cameron as Foreign Secretary, so the 100/1 might seem tempting, I’m not tempted as I suspect, given Cameron’s role in the Remain campaign, would cause apoplexy amongst the more hardcore Leavers, even though he has the experience and nous to be an outstanding Foreign Secretary, Mrs May cannot annoy her more passionate Brexiteers, especially since she frittered away David Cameron’s hard won majority.

Of the prominent Leavers, Michael Gove at 12/1 looks good, he would reassure the Leavers whilst offering a more nuanced and diplomatic Foreign Secretary, but he’s being touted as the next Chancellor of the Exchequer. David Davis probably won’t be moved because given the complexities of the Brexit deal, it would be problematic for a new Brexit Secretary to be appointed midway through the process.

Of the  other prominent Leavers, such as Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling, Liam Fox, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, a mixture of inexperience and/or fundamentalism to the Brexit cause should surely rule them out.

Anyone outside of the cabinet should be ruled out as well, as I don’t think Mrs May will want to promote from outside the cabinet for the role and not antagonise most of her ministers within the current cabinet.

I think the value is with Jeremy Hunt at 50/1, he’s dealt well with being the Tory Health Secretary for over five years, so he’s tough in dealing with emotive issues. Although he voted to Remain, he’s recently stimulated the political erogenous zones of the Leavers announcing he had changed his mind on Brexit, Hunt said,

‘Frankly the way the EU Commission has behaved since the referendum has been very disappointing. It’s that arrogance that we’ve seen. Every time we make really generous and open-hearted offers it’s not enough.’

I can understand why people might wish to back the evens on Boris Johnson, as this would be a quite ballsy move on Mrs May’s part, and probably precipitate a leadership challenge, but I suspect the shenanigans of Boris Johnson in recent weeks, which has annoyed many Tories, give Mrs May a bit of protection if she moves Boris from the Foreign Office.

Jeremy Hunt appears to have all the qualities required in a Foreign Secretary in this uncertain post-Brexit world, qualities Boris Johnson lacks in abundance. 



BJohnson now clear betting favourite to succeed TMay

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Peston: “No longer absurd that Boris could be PM within weeks”

The former Mayor and current foreign secretary is now clear favourite to be the next CON leader but his odds are nothing like as strong as they were in the weekend after the general election.

One of the drivers of the increased sentiment in Boris has come from a Facebook post by ITV’s Robert Peston. This is what he wrote about the Brexit divisions in the cabinet.

“..Her (TMay’s) perhaps fatal weakness is that she lacks the authority to settle this argument, such that the rest of the EU would have a clear understanding of who actually represents the UK and what we want from Brexit.

In the words of a senior member of the cabinet, it is a scandal that there has never been a cabinet discussion about what kind of access we want to the EU’s market once we leave, what kind of regulatory and supervisory regime should then be in place to ensure a level playing field for EU and UK businesses, and -don’t gasp – how much we might actually pay to the EU as the so-called divorce bill.

In the absence of a settled government position on these most basic of our Brexit demands, it is little short of a miracle that the leaked draft of a possible EU council statement actually holds out the possibility of the EU itself beginning to mull the form of possible trade and transition deals with us.

To be clear, it has been her ordinance that there should be no cabinet discussion of all this. And if the prime minister lacks the power and authority to negotiate Brexit with her own ministers – who after all are supposed to be on the same side as her – what possible chance is there of her reaching any kind of entente with 27 EU governments?

What should trouble her profoundly is that even those who just a week ago were savaging Boris for his disloyalty, or who detest his Brexit dogmatism, now say little could be worse than the status quo – and that as he seems to own a torch and a stick, they’d rather have him.

To be clear, I am not saying Boris Johnson will be PM within weeks. But I am saying that I no longer regard that as an absurd notion.

Time will tell.

Mike Smithson


For everyone’s sake, Mrs May shouldn’t demote Boris but engineer a job swap between her Foreign Secretary and the editor of the Evening Standard

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Mrs May attempts undo the strangest political appointment since Caligula wanted to make his horse a Consul

When Theresa May’s political obituary is written people might conclude she destroyed her premiership within minutes of becoming Prime Minister when she fired George Osborne as Chancellor and appointed Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.

At a stroke she made a needless enemy and compounded that mistake by appointing a blunderbuss as Foreign Secretary when the United Kingdom faces arguably its greatest foreign policy challenge since the second world war.

Where Boris Johnson should be bringing harmony, truth, faith, and hope, he seems to be bringing discord, error, doubt, and despair, as evidenced, for example, by talk of the French President administering world war two era punishment beatings over Brexit or that ‘joke’ about dead bodies in Libya. Michael Gove’s derailing of Boris Johnson’s leadership bid in 2016 should have given Mrs May pause for thought before she appointed Boris Foreign Secretary.

Last week The Sunday Times reported that Boris Johnson was struggling to live on the £141,505 annual salary of a Foreign Secretary because of his extensive family obligations, he has four children with his wife, and a daughter from an affair, once again the political ambitions of ‘Bonking Boris’ might be curtailed by his inability to keep the snake inside the pet store.

Freed from office and The Commons, George Osborne is earning, inter alia, £650,000 per annum for one day a week, if Boris wants to earn that kind of money, then the solution is obvious for Boris, as being Prime Minister doesn’t pay much more than being Foreign Secretary.

So instead of demoting him later on this month as today’s Sunday Times alludes to, where by demoting him she will create another needless enemy, she should help him realise his earning potential outside of politics, she should point out he has more journalistic experience than George Osborne had when he was appointed editor of The Evening Standard.

With the actions of Boris having so destabilised Mrs May and the Tory conference, you can see why it might be in everyone’s interest that the Conservative party’s colossal Johnson pulls out of professional politics.

If Gordon Brown can bring Peter Mandelson back into government despite their long standing issues, then Mrs May can bring back George Osborne into government. It would show Mrs May is the bigger person. I’m sure George Osborne, a man who loves his country and party, would be willing to serve for the national interest.

I suspect it pains him to see all the hard work of David Cameron and himself to detoxify the Tory party undone by Mrs May, and he’d want to restart the detoxification project, that would also appeal to him.

As the only Tory to win a majority in the last twenty five year, David Cameron can attest that Osborne gives unwavering loyalty and support to a Tory Prime Minister, something Mrs May currently lacks, he’d also bring the vision thing, something which Mrs May’s government lacks.

Over to you Mrs May, hiring George Osborne might be the only way to save your Premiership.