Archive for the 'CON Leadership' Category


After a difficult week since the “deal” was published some welcome polling for TMay from YouGov

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

This is as negative for the ERG gang as it is positive for the PM

On the front page of the Times  this morning there is a report on part of its latest YouGov poll relating to its TMay trackers asking whether and when she should go. Last week’s poll came just as the Brexit deal was being published and had the most negative numbers yet for the PM. In just a week as the chart above shows there’s been a major turnaround.

What’s particularly pleasing for Downing Street is that the party splits have supporters of all parties being more positive about the PM this week compared with last week with CON voters showing the biggest change. The latter wanting her to stay figures moved from 46% to 62% in this latest survey. LD voters moved from 40% to 56%.

These changes are well outside the margin of error and suggest that there has been a change in the way voters are viewing Mrs. May.

A week ago 43%  who voted Conservative in the 2017 general election said that they wanted her to stand down. Now that’s 27%.

There were reports over the weekend that many Tory MPs were finding more positive support for Mrs May in their constituencies than might have been apparent from the media coverage.

I wonder whether the reluctance of the PM’s staunchest critics in the parliamentary party to send confidence vote letters to Graham Brady has been because they detected a change in the public mood.


Mike  Smithson


How the “deal” has impacted on the main UK political betting markets

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

The biggest gamble’s been on TMay surviving the year

The money’s piled on an election next year


Raab soared in the TMay successor betting

All charts based on Betfair exchange prices by

Mike Smithson


If the ERG plotters get their 48 letters today and TMay loses the vote she’ll likely still be there at the end of the year

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

At one stage in my career I used to advise Betfair on the precise market rules for its political markets. These are critically important because an exchange like Betfair stands in between those who are laying bets and those who are backing and needs to have something to fall back on should there be a disagreement. So anytime you want to make a political bet it is important for your own protection to check the market rules.

The currently heavy traded date of TMay’s exit Betfair market defines it in these simple terms  “When will Theresa May officially cease to be leader of the Conservative Party?”

So if she lost a confidence vote tomorrow my reading is that she would remain in post until such time as the process of selecting a new leader had been completed and there was a winner.

There is a relatively recent precedent – IDS in October/November 2003. He lost the confidence vote of CON MPs on October 29th 2003 but remained leader until November 6th when Michael Howard won the leadership unopposed. The differences between now and 15 years ago is that the CON leader is PM and it is highly likely that there will be a contest.

The first part of a contest, MPs voting to draw up the final shortlist of 2 to go to the membership could be truncated by having a number of MP ballots on the same day. The membership postal ballot would be much more difficult given that we are fast heading to Christmas.

Given the uncertainties of the post at this time of year it is hard to see how the packs could be produced mailed and party members given time to fill in their ballots and return them within the time that is available this side of the holiday.

It might be recalled that in 2007 Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne who fought it out for the Lib Dem leadership with a deadline for the return of ballot in mid December. There were reports that a sack of returned  packs had been held up in the mail and even though they arrived while the count was taking place they did not get there before the deadline and were ignored. That caused a lot of controversy particularly because Clegg’s winning margin was so small.

I would suggest that it would be extremely difficult for a Conservative leadership election ballot to be completed before the Christmas and they probably would leave it over to the New Year.

This is important for those betting in the TMay exit date market. If my reading is right those betting on her surviving until at least the New Year could well be winners already.

Mike Smithson


Mr. Johnson becomes favourite once again to succeed Mrs. May

Monday, November 19th, 2018

But there’s no sign of an early contest

Thanks to BEM for the cartoon.

Mike Smithson


A big reason TMay is defying political gravity is because of the possible alternatives

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Last year my biggest political betting loss was on Theresa May not surviving. Like many others after her disappointing GE2017 outcome I was ready to write off her chances of staying at number 10.

Well 18 months on she is still there and I now approach the end of the year with completely the opposite betting position. My money is on the Prime Minister being the Prime Minister and Tory leader at the end of the year.

This is a market which as seen huge amount of turbulence in the last few days as the political world has digested the draft agreement on Brexit. At one stage on Friday Betfair had her as a 62% chance to be out this year. As I write this post that is now below 30% and could ease even further as we get closer to the year end.

    Whatever Moggsy and the ERG gang might hope I don’t think there is the stomach within the parliamentary Conservative Party for a leadership challenge at this crucial stage.

Even if 48 letters are received by Graham Brady then it still has to come to a vote and it is possible that the detractors would struggle to secure the support of 150 plus MPs which will be required for TMay to be ousted as CON leader.

The above ComRes/Sunday Express polling published yesterday highlights what is proving to be TMay’s firewall – the lack of a consensus amongst voters about a likely successor. All four names polled have big negative figures. If there is a confidence vote then many CON MPs are likely to be concerned that they could be providing the mechanism for someone they don’t want becoming leader and PM.

The other factor that I believe is constraining Tory MPs is that if there was a confidence vote this week that Mrs May won then she would be guaranteed to be able to stay in post free from confidence challenges until November 2019.

The argument for holding their fire until after Brexit in March next year is quite persuasive.

Mike Smithson


Sir Graham Brady’s comments today make me think backing Theresa May not to be ousted this year is the best bet

Sunday, November 18th, 2018



Betting on just how many candidates are on the first ballot paper of the next Tory leadership election

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

A mixture of ambition, ego, a low nomination threshold, and a very democratic voting system allows a lot of Tories to stand for leader.

Since the current Tory leadership rules were first used in 2001 the highest number of candidates to be on the first ballot paper is five, in 2001 and 2016, so I can see why people may wish to back the 8/15 on there being fewer 7 candidates, however I think the value is betting on there being 7 or more candidates next time in this market by William Hill.

The events this week have shown there’s several strands of opinion in the Tory party coupled with the egos politics attracts I can see a lot of candidates standing. I can see at least four different types of Leavers standing. ERG approved, pragmatic Leavers, tweak Mrs May’s deal Leavers, and of course Boris if he doesn’t win the ERG drawing of lots.

On the One Nation wing of the party I can see a similar number wishing to stand from those espousing a second referendum to those who accept we must Brexit to those who wish to move on from Brexit and talk about delivering the policies that wins a majority.

The other factor in allowing a lot of candidates to stand is that to stand in a Tory leadership contest all it requires is for two Tory MPs to nominate a candidate. This is vastly different than Labour which requires 15% of the Parliamentary party to nominate a candidate to stand in their leadership elections.

With the quasi-alternative vote system the Tory Party uses to elect their leader it is possible for several candidates from the same strand of Conservatism to stand in the first round without damaging that strand’s chances of winning the leadership. If the election was conducted under first past the post system then there’s a huge disadvantage for one wing of the party to put up multiple candidates.

Who knows we might find out very shortly just how many make the ballot paper in the first round. Today’s Sunday Times says Boris, Hunt, Rudd, Mordaunt, Javid, Davis, and Raab are all actively preparing leadership campaigns whilst Geoffrey Cox is putting out feelers.


PS – If there is a coronation the fewer than 7 would be a winner, however I’m not expecting a coronation before the 29th of March 2019, given what is at stake.


Mad Tory Friday part 2…..

Friday, November 16th, 2018