Archive for the 'CON Leadership' Category


Jacob Rees-Mogg now clear betting favourite to be next CON leader

Friday, November 17th, 2017

The history of the Tory party is that favourites rarely make it

The latest betting chart from is above and shows Jacob Rees-Mogg now clear favourite to succeed TMay but a 14% chance is not that strong. He’s the third Tory to have been favourite since the general election and who knows others could follow.

My first ever bet as a 16 year old (I went into a bookie wearing my school blazer and yes I was breaking the law) was on the 1963 CON contest when there was no electoral process within the party and even MPs didn’t get a vote. The system involved a new leader “emerging” in an apparently mystical process. The hot favourite had been Rab Butler but Earl Home, who later became a commoner and fought a by-election to become an MP, was the winner. My first ever political bet was a loser but that did not stop me.

After the party’s defeat in 1964 the Tories introduced a new system with MPs making the choice. The first to benefit was Edward Heath, who wasn’t favourite, who went on to lead his party to a majority in 1970.

We are in a very strange position at the moment. It is widely acknowledged that Mrs. May will step down after Brexit if not before so the person who will lead the party into the next election is not yet known.

My guess is that we’ll see others move into the favourite slot before a successor is chosen.

Mike Smithson


Father of six who has never been a minister nor changed a nappy now favourite to succeed TMay

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Jacob Rees-Mogg: “I am not a modern man”

With all the focus on the Westminster sexual abuse scandal there has been a big change in the Conservative leadership betting. Jacob Rees-Mogg who is not and never has been a minister has now moved above a former Mayor of London and no Foreign Secretary, Mr Johnson, and just ahead of the Brexit Secretary Mr David Davis.

He’s also a father of six and back in July admitted that he’d never changed a nappy telling the Telegraph that he “is not a modern man”. Like David Cameron, the last male CON leader, he is an old-Etonian

He is extremely articulate and effective on TV much more so than any of the other possible contenders. If he put himself forward and got to the final two than he’d surely, stand a good chance in the members’ postal ballot.

Mike Smithson


Why the Tory plotters wanting to oust May need have no worries about letting Corbyn in

Monday, November 13th, 2017

A new CON leader WILL NOT mean an early general election

With the Sunday newspaper reports that the CON MPs plotting an early retirement for Mrs May being just 8 MPs short of the 48 required for a confidence vote we could be very close to a formal move against Mrs May.

One of the big arguments that May backers and the Tory whips are apparently making to MPs is that if she goes early then it heightens the risk of an early general election in which Jeremy Corbyn could be Prime Minister.

The same theme is taken up by the New Statesman George Eaton in an article in which he sets out how the fear of letting Corbyn in is being used.

… , having lost their majority earlier this year, the Conservatives are loath to do anything that could prompt a second general election. Labour would begin as favourites and Tory MPs sincerely fear the consequences of a Corbyn victory.

Faced with a choice between bad and worse, most Tory MPs believe that May’s survival represents the former. “

This, of course, is completely bogus and overlooks the legal mechanics of how general elections are now called. No longer does a Prime Minister have it in her or his gift to trot along to the Palace to call a general election.

For while the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, enacted as part of the coalition deal, is still on the statute book it is very hard to envisage the circumstances in which Mr. Corbyn enters Number 10 in the foreseeable future.

The FTPA lays down just two ways that an election can be called early: by two thirds of all MPs voting for one as happened last April or by a vote of no confidence in the government which is not rescinded within two weeks. Given what happened to Tories in June it is hard to see any TMay successor being foolhardy enough to risk either route.

In any case the next Tory leader is likely to have been elected in a members’ ballot which would give him or her more legitimacy. It was the avoidance of such a vote last year which was one of the factors that drove Mrs May to use the FTPA process in April.

There is no other legal mechanism for an early election to be called which is something which many close observers and active politicians don’t seem to have fathomed.

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


Patel goes and so the attention will now focus on Boris

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Patel’s problem was always that she had few CON friends


With Priti Patel flying in from Kenya her situation and the government’s gets more complicated

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017


Tonight’s Marf cartoon on the new Defence Secretary who keeps a pet tarantula

Monday, November 6th, 2017

Will he devour all rivals to get TMay’s job?


Latest ConHome party members’ survey finds no clear preference for who should succeed Mrs. May

Monday, November 6th, 2017

This, surely, is TMay’s greatest strength

At some stage in the next 20 month or so the largely male and elderly membership of the Conservative party will vote on who should be the next Prime Minister – so we need to keep an eye on the regular ConHome surveys of party members.

Although these are not what can be described as proper polls with representative samples they have in the past been showing a broadly similar picture to what YouGov has found.

Given how precarious Mrs. May’s position is we could see a challenge at any time and in in any case it is hard to see the party allowing her to remain in post to fight the next general election.

What will spark off a contest is hard to say but her appointment of Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary created an enormous amount of anger amongst CON MPs last week. How could someone who has never spoken from the dispatch box in the Commons be given such a big position?

    That’s by the bye. The PM is in such jeopardy at the moment that she wants her friends, those she can trust, round her. The naming of her long-standing friend and colleague, Damian Green, in the harassment scandal, which he strongly denies, must be very hard for her.

The survey above reflects her greatest strength. There is no obvious alternative but that could change.

Williamson himself is said to be scheming for the job and I just wonder if at the end of the day he will become the assassin. He knows the parliamentary party better than anyone and is ambitious.

Mike Smithson