Archive for the 'Boris' Category


Suddenly Tory cabinet indiscipline moves to the top of the political agenda

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Maybe it was BoJo that started it but very quickly we are seeing leading cabinet figures seeking to set the agenda away from the principle of cabinet collective responsibility. This could be very dangerous for TMay who clearly does not feel she has the strength to sack the rebels.

With DefSec, Gavin Williamson, demanding zillions extra for defence the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss is this morning attacking cabinet colleagues particularly Michael Gove.

Perhaps they should all take a breath and read Danny Finklestein’s piece in the Times this morning. On Boris he writes:

“He is being asked to take his share of responsibility for the government’s airport decision. If he is unwilling to do so, he really can’t continue in office. After all, if the rules don’t apply to him, why should they apply to anyone else? Why should the chancellor not hightail it to some supposedly vital meeting thousands of miles away when the prime minister next asks him to vote against a customs union?

Mrs May should appreciate that in allowing Mr Johnson to behave like this she is altering the constitution. Collective responsibility isn’t a law, it’s simply a custom and once the custom is broken it will be hard to restore it. Without collective responsibility, cabinet government ceases..

These are dangerous times for the government.

Mike Smithson


A year ago BoJo was hot favourite for PM: Now those concerned about Brexit jobs are being told “F**k business”

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

The TMay successor betting since GE17

Mike Smithson


Despite 34% voters thinking Jeremy Corbyn personally has anti-Semitic views Boris Johnson’s approval ratings are near identical to Corbyn

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Further proof that Johnson’s going to pull out of another Tory leadership contest?

I’m a fan of approval ratings as they are a very good pointers to general elections, as Mrs May’s alarming collapse in the closing stages of the 2017 general election confirmed.  So this morning’s debut poll by DeltaPoll caught my eye for this very reason.

For many Tories Boris Johnson is the man to win the Tories a majority in 2022 against Corbyn but if his ratings are on a par with Corbyn then his appeal will wane further. My view is that this polling is reflection of Johnson’s role in Brexit and his tenure as Foreign Secretary where his blundering gave succour to Putin.

If you take away Boris Johnson’s electoral appeal what exactly does he offer apart from buffoonery with the occasional classical history reference?

When Theresa May and Philip Hammond have substantially better ratings than Boris Johnson then Tory MPs and activists will look elsewhere especially Corbyn is now personally getting tainted with anti-Semitism as seen in the tweet above. Do they really want someone who has equivalent ratings to Corbyn?

In 2016 Boris Johnson declined to run for the Tory leadership after seeing his popularity take a hit then I suspect he’ll decline to run again when Mrs May is replaced if his ratings maintain this trajectory, bet accordingly.

You can view the full entrails of the DeltaPoll here.



Just under nine months to go for Toby Young to win his £15,000 “Boris will be CON leader by 2018” wager

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

My money’s on Nigella Lawson, who accepted the bet, winning

Fifteen years ago Toby Young had a bet of £15,000 with Nigella Lawson that Boris Johnson would become Tory leader by 2018.

Well the days are ticking away and there are just eight months and 26 days to go for the event to happen and Young to pick up his winnings.

In 2011 Tim Montgomerie wrote about the bet on ConHome quoting an article by Young in the Spectator:-

Since Salisbury Mrs. May has looked even more secure and it is becoming harder to see a vacancy occurring.

Mike Smithson


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