Archive for the 'Boris' Category


Boris’s CON leadership betting spurt appears to have run out of steam and others are moving up

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

It is inevitable with all the political moves relating to the prime minister that there is a lot of betting focus at the moment on who will succeed her both as CON leader and also Prime Minister.

Last week as the chart shows the money moved to the former mayor and former foreign secretary who has hired Lynton Crosby to run his leadership campaign, Mr Johnson. That’s evaporated but he’s still favourite though there are four or five others there waiting in the Wings.

The big factor that impacts on this market is the statement by Theresa May last week that she is[to step down and will not lead the party at the next general election. Quite when this will happen we don’t know but clearly, following the culmination of Brexit however that goes, she’s likely to be seen as a lame duck Prime Minister.

I still wonder whether her eventual successor is not yet regarded as a serious runner and might emerge as Theresa May gives further clarification of when she thinks she might be stepping aside.

Remember the historical factor in CON leadership races is that the long-standing front runner gets beaten.

Mike Smithson


The Brexit deal is being put to the Cabinet one by one

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

But what are the chances of success?

So the brexit process moves a step forward with a broad agreement that Theresa May now has to sell to her cabinet, then her party, and then the House of Commons.

Each of these hurdles looks insurmountable but then Theresa May has got over many obstacles in the 18 months since she lost the party its majority and is determined enough to push this as hard as she is able.

If Brexiteers like BoJo simply keep on with their tedious repetition of the phrase “vassal state” without doing any serious thinking then she might have a chance.

    At the end of the day the choice for MPs looks set to be between her Deal, No Deal, and the possibility of Mr Corbyn becoming PM. The latter is as horrifying to many Labour MPs as it is to Tories.

The betting markets move towards the UK leaving the EU as planned on March 29th.

Bring on BINO.

Mike Smithson


If Boris Johnson is putting the CTF band together the last time they worked together he was massively overstated in the polls

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Don’t be seduced by massive Johnson leads. History suggests Boris isn’t as personally popular as the polls would have you believe.

The Times reported earlier on this week that

An aide to the campaigning guru Sir Lynton Crosby was seen at Boris Johnson’s home yesterday morning, hours before his conference rally. In the clearest sign yet of how closely the former foreign secretary is working with Sir Lynton’s company, Mimi Randolph, a staffer at CTF Partners, was pictured leaving his Oxfordshire home. She is understood to have helped to organise his speech in Birmingham.

Mark Fullbrook, whose surname provides the “F” initial for CTF, also had a reserved space at Mr Johnson’s packed-out rally.

Sir Lynton masterminded Mr Johnson’s two successful campaigns to be London mayor before running David Cameron’s 2015 general election campaign. But he also worked on the Tories’ disastrous general election campaign last year.

It is understandable that Boris Johnson is getting those who helped him win the London Mayoralty twice to work for him again in his aim to become the next Prime Minister but look at the chart below.

Now I can imagine the retort of the supporters of Boris is that well he won even if his lead was overstated but with the current electoral geography, where a 1% swing at the next general election can mean anything from a Tory majority to a Labour led government then accurate polling is essential. It is possible for the Tories to win most votes and seats and still lose power at the next election.

We learned at the last election that the Tories having an overrated leader produces a sub-optimal result for the Tories.



How the next CON leader betting market has moved since last year’s Conference

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

A Mr. Johnson still favourite but Javid very close

I love these historical charts of Betfair trades from and they are particularly interesting when you have events like the party conferences.

The man I’m working hard not to call just by his first name is still there in the favourite slot but the big gainers during the year have been the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, and the BrexSec, Dominic Raab. Both got promotions since the 2017 conference.

I’ve never been fully convinced of Johnson’s chances simply because of the CON election system. Remember how Portillo was squeezed out of a place in the members’ ballot in 2001 because he was pipped by IDS for one of the two names that MPs decided should be put before the membership. Looking back the Tories would surely have performed far better with Portillo than the hapless IDS who was forced out in a confidence vote in October 2003.

That’s history and Portillo’s career is now on a different track usually a railway one.

There has been some talk of the system being changed but it is hard to see CON MPs being ready to give up their power to determine the final shortlist of two.

All is dependent on when TMay goes and I am not convinced that she’ll be out next year.

On the betting I like to feature the Betfair exchange because the prices are based on real money being risked.

Mike Smithson


With his corn field jape Boris seems to be trying to validate the 57% of voters who say would he “make poor leader”

Monday, October 1st, 2018

And latest from the betting markets


Cat meet pigeons

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

Those hoping for a quiet Autumn on the politics front are set to be disappointed.

Just when you thought politics couldn’t get any more exciting several newspapers are reporting that

Theresa May last night declared war on Boris Johnson after allies said they had rumbled a plot by her Election guru to install the former Foreign Secretary as the next Prime Minister.

Senior figures at Tory HQ claim that Sir Lynton Crosby is behind plans to mount a nationwide campaign against Mrs May’s Chequers agreement on Brexit as the precursor to a Boris leadership challenge.

Australian-born Sir Lynton, who masterminded Mr Johnson’s London mayoral victory in 2008 and who remains a close friend, is said to be motivated by ‘revenge’ after No 10 blamed the strategist for last year’s botched General Election.

Mr Johnson denies plotting with Sir Lynton to derail Mrs May’s Brexit negotiations and seize Downing Street. But in a sharply worded shot across his bows last night, a senior Tory source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Boris hasn’t thought this through. His plan could result in us delaying leaving the EU, or even not leaving at all. If that happens, the party membership would never forgive him.’

When Boris Johnson and Sir Lynton Crosby work together it usually leads to success for Boris. But the political attractiveness of the 2018 Boris Johnson is much diminished from the political attractiveness of Boris Johnson of 2008 and 2012.

Although if this Crosby campaign is as successful as the Tory general election campaign of 2017 I’m fully expecting the UK to Remain in the EU whilst signing up to the Euro and Schengen within weeks.



Allies of Boris worried that Tory MPs will practice safe X to avoid waking up with a dumb blonde

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

As long as MPs exclusively control who the final two candidates sent to the members are the leadership ambitions of Boris are set to be unfulfilled.

For me the most interesting political story this week from a British standpoint was the desire of some supporters of Boris wishing to change the Tory leadership rules.

What many of us have been saying for a long time, and has been guiding my betting position, the quasi-AV system the Tory party uses to elect their leader is very unfavourable for someone like Boris Johnson, has been realised by the supporters of Boris.

The Conservative Party leadership election rules should be changed to make it more likely a pro-Brexit candidate succeeds Theresa May, a prominent MP has said.

Andrea Jenkyns, the Tory MP for Morley and Outwood, said as a majority of party members backed Brexit “they should be fully represented in any future leadership elections”.

“So we should be considering reforming the rules to allow for a members’ choice on the ballot, or a third ‘people’s’ candidate to join the two put forward by the parliamentary party,” she wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

“No more betrayal of our supporters,” she added.

Jenkyns is a vocal critic of the prime minister’s Brexit plan and praised Boris Johnson for quitting as foreign secretary over it.

Currently only two leadership candidates chosen by MPs go to a final vote of the membership.

The system is seen as making it harder for Johnson to make it onto the ballot as he is thought to be more popular with the party’s members, than with its MPs.

If you’re wanting to change the voting system then that’s very ominous for your chances of winning under the current rules.

Whilst Boris Johnson as Prime Minister/Tory leader appals enough Tory MPs in the way the prospect of pineapple on pizza appals all right thinking people I’m not expecting him to be Theresa May’s successor under the current rules. We only have to look at his decision not to run in 2016 because he knew he’d be humiliated to see a precedent.

But supporters of Boris Johnson shouldn’t be disheartened if they can’t get the rules changed. Back in 2005 Michael Howard attempted and failed to change the Tory leadership rules. The changes were designed to favour his protégé David Cameron, but Cameron still won a thumping victory under the existing rules.


PS – Imagine you’re one of the Arron Banks entryists and you’re paying £25 a year to vote in the Tory leadership contest and the final two end up being two Remainers such as Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid. How annoyed are you going to be?


Mr Johnson’s fate might have been sealed when CON MPs decided to stick with the woman who lost the CON majority at GE2017

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

TMay June 9th 2017

In retrospect this was a huge rebuff to the ex-Mayor

If you want to get an idea of the challenges Johnson faces with his fellow CON MPs cast your mind back to those heady two or three days following the last general election when Mrs May looked certain to be replaced. She had made the decision to go to the country early, run a campaign based almost solely on herself and it was her then top aide, Nick Timothy, who had written the disastrous manifesto.

There was no hiding place – she was the one responsible for the loss of the CON majority and the predicament the party faced. Few disagreed when ex-chancellor, George Osborne described her as “a dead woman waking”.

The obvious successor was Johnson who had played such a key part a year earlier in the referendum campaign. That had gone his way and this was the moment for him to claim the prize he had sought after all his life.

Yet on the following Monday afternoon party’s MPs didn’t try to oust Mrs May but accepted her pledge to carry on at Number 10 to sort the mess out that she had created.

    Looking back this was surely a rebuff by the Parliamentary party to the man who that weekend had reached his top point in the betting. If there had been a desire by CON MPs for the ex-Mayor to succeed then Mrs May’s plan to carry on would not have been accepted.

For the problem for Johnson has always been the lack of support from his parliamentary colleagues. When the big influx of new MPs arrived at Westminster after GE2010 he wasn’t even an MP and missed out on the opportunity to build relationships with the new arrivals. He didn’t return until 2015 and for his first year back had several roles – being the member for Uxbridge, the elected Mayor of London and, of course, leader of the Leave campaign.

His lack of an MP power-base was exacerbated when Michael Gove abandoned him on that fateful Thursday in July 2016. He’d also alienated the Andrea Leadsom team by poor communication.

That lack of support from fellow MPs remains hence the desire to change the leadership rules so that it would be easier for him to get on the members’ ballot.

At the moment, of course, there is no vacancy. TMay is still in post and there seems to be little stomach within the party for a confidence vote.

Mike Smithson