Archive for the 'CON Leadership' Category

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My Christmas eve bet that TMay will still be PM at the end of next year

Monday, December 24th, 2018

Moggsy’s failed confidence move gives her 12 months immunity

On the day of this month’s confidence vote amongst Tory MPs on Theresa May the PM declared that it was her intention not to lead the party into the next general election. If we stick with the Fixed Term Parliament Act timetable that means any time before the spring of 2022.

That might have helped her in fending off Moggsy’s ill-judged move which also provided her with the additional bonus that under current Tory rules she is now immune from facing another confidence move until December next year.

    I have seen nothing that suggests that she is thinking of departing during 2019 even if the Brexit deal goes through and the UK leaves the EU as planned on March 29th. She appears to want to stay and she’s helped by there being no obvious successor.

What that exercise taught us is that it is very difficult removing a PM who is determined to hang on.

Yesterday the Sunday Times was reporting suggestions that she would like to continue until maybe a year or so before the next general election when she would step aside. The hope is to create opportunities in her cabinet for some new blood and potential successors.

All this makes the 68% Betfair betting exchange price on her going in 2019 as something of a bargain for a lay bet (wagering that it won’t happen). We have seen that amazing fortitude and resilience battling on when everything seems against her. I find it hard to envisage her going quietly after Brexit as many within the Conservative Party appeared to be hoping for.

There’s another factor which my guess is impacting on her thinking – she doesn’t want former Foreign Secretary, Mr Johnson, to succeed her. The longer she say stays, you can see her reasoning, the worse his prospects become.

I’m on with Betfair wagering that she’ll still be there at the end of 2019 laying next year as her exit date at 1.48.

Mike Smithson




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Which will happen first? TMay to step down as PM or the UK to leave the EU?

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

I rather like this betting market which asks which of the two events will happen first – Theresa May ceasing to be Prime Minister or the UK actually leaving the EU.

With uncertainties over both events this is quite a good match.

My guess as we get closer to the March 29th article 50 deadline that this will see a fair bit of activity and no doubt the leave EU price will move to the favourite slot if the Theresa May deal does in fact pass and the reverse if it doesn’t.

Punters on this option would also be a winner if the deal didn’t get through the commons but we carried on till March 29th and there was no deal.

On Theresa May’s job prospects there’s little doubt that they have been enhanced in the last few days after last week’s VONC amongst CON MPs and more confident performances in the Commons both at PMQs yesterday and on Monday reporting pack on the latest round of discussions in Brussels.

  • Chart showing Betfair exchange prices from Betdata.io
  • Mike Smithson




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    Survation poll of CON Councillors finds Javid leading over Johnson as first choice for TMay’s successor

    Thursday, December 20th, 2018

    You can see fuller details from the poll in this Survation video.

    Mike Smithson




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    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 Betdata.io 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




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    The gilded cage. How the DUP are using the new rules of the game to trap the Conservatives

    Sunday, December 16th, 2018

    Board games are always a good source of arguments. There seem to be as many views on how to play Monopoly as families. Some place all fines in the centre, to be collected by anyone who lands on Free Parking. Some don’t allow rents to be collected in Jail. Views differ on what is to be done with the properties of bankrupt players. It is important to establish the rules in advance if you want to avoid unseemly rows.

    Parliamentary politics is often presented as a parlour game. It isn’t: but it has rules. Those rules recently changed in a small but critically important way. Most people haven’t properly thought through the implications of that rule change. Unseemly rows will ensue.

    Let’s start with the basics. Government is formed by a Prime Minister who can command the confidence of the House of Commons. Where one party has an overall majority, the leader of that party will get the job pretty much automatically. Where there is a hung Parliament, there is some horse-trading to be done. Parties can form a formal coalition, as happened in 2010, or a minority government can be formed with a smaller party offering only supply and confidence for an agreed programme rather than ministers, as happened in 2017 when the DUP backed the Conservatives.

    Such agreements, however, only operate in the sphere of politics. They are not legally binding. The Conservatives found out in 2012 that coalition partners can rat on the deal when the Lib Dems refused to agree to boundary changes. They found out earlier this year that support in a minority government can be just as flaky when the DUP opposed some measures in the budget.

    The reason for the DUP’s unreliable behaviour is well-known. The government’s proposed backstop in the withdrawal agreement would change Northern Ireland’s status in a way that they regard as completely unacceptable.  They are out for blood.

    In times past, the defeat of the government on central measures like the budget would have led inevitably to its fall, the defeat itself demonstrating that the government no longer has the confidence of the House. The Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 changed all that though. There is now a formal mechanism for selecting governments and, still more importantly, a formal mechanism for getting rid of governments.

    There are exactly three ways of getting rid of a government. The first is that a motion for a general election is agreed by at least two thirds of the whole House (that is what happened in 2017). The second is that a motion of no confidence is passed. The third is if the Prime Minister voluntarily resigns.

    What this means is that the DUP can leave the government becalmed in the doldrums, with confidence but without supply. The government cannot call a general election unilaterally. If a vote of confidence is called, the DUP can cheerfully support them in that. Everything else, however, and the government is on its own. Block the Prime Minister’s deal? That goes without saying. Vote down the budget?  Sure. Support Labour in a vote of censure against the Prime Minister? Naturally.

    This leaves the government potentially paralysed. Unless it can find alternative support in other votes, the government will be in office but not in power until such time as it does what the DUP wants. Such alternative support will not be easily found or come cheap.

    This gives the DUP outsized importance. In many ways they have more power than the ERG, which breaks the Conservative whip only at the risk of losing it, with all of the profound consequences that holds. Maybe the ERG might break away to set up Son Of UKIP but the Rubicon can only be crossed once. Till then, the ERG will need to display a veneer of loyalty to the Prime Minister.

    If the DUP want shot of the Prime Minister – and they may – they have a technique to winkle her out of Number 10 without letting Labour in. It may have done Theresa May no practical good at all to have won her party vote of confidence if the only thing she can achieve in the House is to defeat votes of no confidence. If so, sooner or later she or her colleagues are going to need to change strategy or change the leader, or both. The fact that she is bomb-proof in her own party for a year would be an irrelevance.

    So what does the government do next? For now, it is putting off the moment of decision. Unable to win the meaningful vote on its deal, it is temporising. There look to be only two ways out of this impasse. The first is to continue to temporise up to 29 March 2019 and hope that the nerves of some Labour MPs will be sufficiently worn that they will cave in and support the deal, with an acceptance that no deal might be the result. The second is to switch tactics and seek to build a cross-party alliance for a referendum, throwing the matter back to the public.

    Neither looks appetising for Theresa May. Never one to make choices actively, she might well take the first route by default. Will her colleagues allow her to do so or will she find herself bypassed? We might well find out. Either way, the Conservative party looks set to break.

     

    Alastair Meeks




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    The confidence vote betting: How the betting markets got it right from the vey start

    Thursday, December 13th, 2018


    Chart betdata.io

    But if punters could see this why not Moggsy’s ERG?

    Yesterday was a huge political betting day with two million pounds on the Betfair market alone being wagered on the confidence vote on Theresa May.

    It’s quite useful to look back and see how the markets performed against the actual result and as can be seen the lowest it ever dropped to on the Betfair Exchange for Mrs May was within the first hour at 9.40am when it was 65.6%.

    As the day moved in it edged up steadily in the prime minister’s favour and five minutes before Graham Brady’s announcement you could have got a bet on at a 93% chance.

    As well as the Betfair Exchange all the major bookies put up betting markets quickly following the announcement yesterday morning that a vote would take place and my guess is that the Betfair Exchange represents about 1/3 of the overall total number of wagers.

    Given that quite a lot of betting on politics like this is generated within the Palace of Westminster itself then that might explain the fairly confident picture for Mrs May throughout. One would assume that this was almost the sole topic of conversation and many in in the Palace would have had a very clear sense of the way it was going.

    The only other recent confidence move was the one against IDS in October 2003 when it became pretty clear early on what his fate was.

      My nagging doubt throughout was my erroneous assumption that Moggsy’s ERG gang would not have made a move like this unless they were fairly confident of success. That is a lesson to learn for the future. The most important thing when you mount a coup is to ensure you get a body.

    So both Moggsy & co plus the PM have been weakened.

    Mike Smithson




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    Bad news for TMay from ConHome – nearly two thirds of members surveyed want her out

    Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

    With voting due to start at Westminster at 6pm there’s bad news for the PM from the ultra Brexiteer site, ConHome. A snap survey finds 63% of those who participated wanting the PM out.

    The question of whether this is representative of CON members I don’t know but this is very much the impression that CONHome tries to project.

    Whether this will influence MPs as they prepare to cast their ballot in the confidence vote is hard to say. ComHome has become an ultra hardline Brexit site and one assumes that this approach chimes with its audience and survey participants.

    The betting continues to look good for her. It’s now an 89% chance on Betfair that she will survive.

    Mike Smithson




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    If punters risking their cash have got this right TMay’s safe

    Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

    But could the betting markets have it wrong?

    Betfair and the other bookies were quick off the mark this morning getting markets up following news that tonight we will see a confidence vote amongst Conservative MPs on Theresa May.

    So far, it seems that political betting public at least thinks that she is going to survive and currently, as I write, (1200) Betfair has the prime minister with an 80% chance of ending the day still in her job.

    The last time this procedure was used to try to oust a CON leader, the confidence vote against IDS in October 2003, the Betfair market proved to be a good pointer to what was going to happen. It should be said that voting in that election took place all day and not like this one where it starts at 6 p.m. at night.

    I’m going to be out for most of the afternoon and will probably not be posting again till 5 or 6 p.m.

    Will what’s been described as the “most sophisticated electorate in the world” surprise us? It might.

    Mike Smithson