Archive for the 'CON Leadership' Category


Even though TMay slumped to her worst ever Ipsos-MORI PM ratings & Corbyn has the second worst Opposition leader rating

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Never have the views of both CON & LAB leaders been so poor

Just out today is the latest Ipsos-MORI political monitor whicht has the Tories taking a lead of 4% over labour. Last time the two main parties were level pegging.

Also, as ever, included are the firm’s  leader satisfaction number a polling series that is now into its forty-third year. For the Corbyn and TMay the ratings are dreadful. The former has the second worst Opposition leader numbers on record only slightly better than last month which were the worst.

TMay’s ratings were the worst she’s experienced since becoming PM although she has a “lead” over the LAB leader in the sense there his net negatives are 16  points worse than hers.

We’ve never had a time like this when the leaders of the two main parties are simultaneously recording record lows. TMay has had Brexit while Corbyn continues to be hit by the anti-semitism rows which simply won’t go away.

In one sense the Tories are in a better position in that TMay has said she won’t fight the next general election as leader. Corbyn’s still there.

Mike Smithson


Meanwhile Johnson edges up further in the next CON leader betting

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019



Will it be PM Boris by the end of the year?

On the Betfair TMay exit year market TMay the 65% favourite for when she will step down as Party leader and Prime Minister is 2019. This suggests that there’s likely to be a leadership contest this year and no doubt the events that are taking place today in Westminster will have an impact on the eventual outcome of that.

A lot of eyes will be on the role of the former Mayor and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson and how he handles the response to Theresa May’s revised deal that was agreed last night in Strasbourg. There’s a suggestion that he might appear the the peacemaker -the once leader Leaver who was ready to bring the party together for the sake of ensuring that Brexit takes place on time.

Whatever there’s little doubt that he has been on maneuvers of late and it’s been remarkable how he has created a very different image for himself. His hair has been cut and he looks less like the fool of yesteryear. My view is that he’s just kept up with his age. Once he turned 50 his persona as the joker became harder to sustain. This was something that you expect of a younger man and that did quite ring true as he got older.

He’s been advised by Lynton Crosby who was the campaign mastermind behind his London mayoral victories in 2018 and 2012.

It’s always been said that Johnson’s biggest challenge in the leadership election will be getting to the final 2 report on the membership ballot which is decided by an MPs ballot. This is looking less of a hurdle and all the polling suggests that if it does get on the members ballot then he would be the victor.

My big caveat with all CON leadership contests is that the established favourite never gets it as David Davis, Michael Portillo and Michael Heseltine would no doubt attest.

Mike Smithson


Damian Hinds – the 100/1 CON leadership longshot who at Oxford beat Moggsy for the Union Presidency

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

A guest slot betting tip from Woody662

I’m sure those political obsessives amongst us all remember the ‘Party Games’ episode of Yes Minister where 2 candidates on the extremes of the party were frontrunners for the post, only for the civil service to conspire to see them withdraw in favour of a compromise candidate. Sir Humphrey and Sir Arnold listed their requirements ‘malleable, flexible, likeable, No firm opinions, no bright ideas ect’ and eventually arrived, to initial self-amusement, at Jim Hacker.

Looking at the next Conservative leadership race, could we hit on a situation where a life mimics fiction once again. In a party that is split between Breixiteers and Remainers, it is entirely plausible that if one of the extremes of either camp becomes leader, it will split the party.

    As the next election looms and Brexit is dealt with one way or another, the Party will inevitably regroup and focus on its ultimate reason for existing and that’s power and keeping the Labour Party out.

To attract the broadest possible voting coalition therefore, a moderate compromise candidate could be seen as the best way of achieving this. Someone who after the referendum has supported Government policy on Brexit. Someone who is actually getting positive airtime for their portfolio. Someone who could be acceptable to both wings of the party, someone with not a lot of baggage.

Few of the frontrunners meet that criteria but looking at members at senior cabinet level, there is one contender I believe is vastly overpriced and he is Damian Hinds.

Now when I researching Damian Hinds, there wasn’t a huge amount of information, clearly he is a man who just quietly gets along with his business. However there is a profile on Conservative Home from last year which has some very illuminating information. For instance, it quotes Michael Gove, who ‘foresees a day when Hinds might contest the Conservative Party leadership against Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary.’ He goes on to say ‘Hinds (President of the Oxford Union in 1991, three years after Gove) was “a dashing and accomplished speaker”.

It also confirms that Hinds beat a certain Jacob Rees Mogg to that position of President! He is one of very few Cabinet Minister’s getting on TV talking about matters other than Brexit (he has appeared at least 3 times on Good Morning Britain in the past few weeks opposite Piers Morgan, and come out unscathed) and again from Conservative Home, a journalist was quoted as saying after a lunch with Hinds “He was enormously impressive – he didn’t tell me anything at all. He was just very straight and gave nothing away,”

Hinds head the Education Department where the heavy lifting of policy development has already been completed by Michael Gove, and doesn’t appear to be attracting the scorn of the teaching unions that his predecessors endured. Unlike the likes of Javid, Hancock and Rudd, Hinds shouldn’t have historic departmental problems to trip him up. He enjoys positive numbers in the Conservative Home cabinet league table and they have crept up over the last 3 months.

If the moderates in the party are looking for someone to take on a Brexit candidate and if Gove does indeed get behind him, Hinds may well be their man. The Education Department has a decent record of providing Conservative leaders and 100-1 looks a good value bet.

Woody662 has worked for a CON MP for the past decade


Corbyn’s Ipsos-MORI ratings take a huge tumble with 72% saying they are dissatisfied with him

Friday, February 8th, 2019

These looks being the worst LAB leader ratings on record

The latest Ipsos-MORI voting intention figure have LAB and CON level pegging which puts the pollsters out of line with Opinium and YouGov which both have CON leads of seven points.

But there’s a shock for the LAB leader in the firm’s satisfaction ratings which have been recorded in every published survey since the 1970s. A total of 72% of those in the sample said they were dissatisfied with Corbyn against just 17% who said said they were satisfied.

I’ve scanned through every poll from the firm since 1977 and cannot find anything that is as bad as this for a LAB leader.

Historically these ratings have been a better pointer to general election outcomes than the voting intention numbers.

The Standard in a commentary notes:

“..It’s not hard to work out why. He has led Labour into the intellectual wilderness, allowed nasty anti-Semitism to flourish, encouraged deselections by the hard Left of moderate MPs, visited the graves of terrorists and made alliances with Venezuelan dictators. But all this was known some time ago.

What is the reason for the more recent collapse in Mr Corbyn’s ratings?

The answer, according to the polling, is his position on Brexit.

A mere 16 per cent think he is providing strong leadership on this central issue facing the country, less than half Mrs May’s rating — 47 per cent of the public think he is acting in his personal interest rather than the national interest. They are right. ..”

Things, of course, could change between now and the next general election and we might look back at this and see it as a low point. But this should be worrying for the party.

Mike Smithson


Gove still heading the TMay successor betting as we get closer to the Article 50 deadline

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

But it really could be just about anyone

David Herdson’s header this morning about the LAB leadership is a reminder that we haven’t looked at the TMay successor betting for some time. Given that a 2019 Conservative leadership contest is much more likely than a LAB one then we should really keep an eye on it.

The chart shows the extraordinary rise in early January of Michael Gove who has now established himself with a solid lead, in the betting at least. Boris Johnson the man who signed up Lynton Crosby to run his leadership campaign, has found it a bit of a struggle.

    The big picture, though, is that the favourite is being rated by punters as only a 16% chance which doesn’t suggest much confidence in the betting markets. In the immediate aftermath of TMay losing the Tory majority in June 2017 Johnson touched 30% in the betting.

Given that the final decision is made by Conservative members who will have a choice of just two selected for them by the Conservative parliamentary party I cannot see both Gove and Johnson occupying those two slots. I also think that the ex-mayor is going to struggle more with Conservative MPs in the knockout process that precedes the membership ballot stage.

We could be fairly close from a contest. My guess is that Theresa May will be there until after Brexit but then after that anything can happen even in spite of the fact that she won a theoretical reprieve by winning the confidence vote of MPs Before Christmas. That should give her 12 months immunity but you see heavy pressure being put on her post-brexit to retire. The Tories want someone who can take on Corbyn and the memory of the PM’s 2017 campaign still lingers.

Looking at the top seven in the betting I get a sense that the eventual next Conservative leader is not listed amongst those rated at 3% or above on the Betfair exchange.

Mike Smithson


Govey maintaining and extending his lead in the next CON leader betting

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019


Given the precariousness of Theresa May’s position a new Tory leader contest could happen at just about any time.

In one sense she is immune from pressure within the party until December because of the failed confidence vote that the rebels triggered and which Theresa May won with a clear margin.

The rules state that a leader cannot be challenged again within 12 months but so much is happening at the moment you could see all sorts of pressure being put up on her at any time.

On Betfair it’s currently a 62% chance that she will step aside this year though what we should read into that I don’t know.

Ever since the June the 2017 General Election disaster for a party she has looked incredibly vulnerable and it is amazing that she’s had the resilience to carry on and stay in the post. She’s helped, of course, by there being no obvious successor and, of course, the Tory Party leadership election system which puts a lot of power in the hands of MPs.

To remind ourselves the process involves a series of exhausted ballots amongst MPs to work out a final shortlist of 2 which is then put to the Conservative membership at large. If Boris gets to the final two then he would make it but there is a big question mark over whether he would get the backing from his parliamentary colleagues.

His time as Foreign Secretary hardly reinforced his case to be next leader. He’s now lost a bit of weight and tidied his hair – moves that look like preparation for a contest.

Michael Gove has been doing himself a lot of good of late and his speech in the big debate last week has certainly attracted a lot of attention. Maybe that’s behind the betting move towards him. I’m still not convinced nor do I believe that Johnson is going to be the successor. Just about anything could happen.

Mike Smithson


Why HealthSec Hancock should be factored in as a potential TMay successor

Monday, January 21st, 2019

The ambitious Osborne protégé who wasn’t purged by Theresa

Over the weekend I’ve been trying to look through other possible contenders for TMay’s job which might become vacant in a matter of weeks or a few months. Who are the dark horses who might be a good punt at long odds?

Of all the Tory ministers who have been wheeled out recent weeks to argue the government’s Brexit position two of them, to my mind, stand out. One is the prisons minister who used to run a province in Iraq, Rory Stewart and the other is the ambitious Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The latter was a protégé of the the former Chancellor George Osborne and a key member of his team. He entered Parliament at the 2010 General Election. He did not have to wait too long before he got promoted to being a minister and in the chopping and changing that we’ve seen post GE2017 he is now the Health Secretary.

This is part of a ConHome profile on him written by Andrew Gimson last May.

Hancock is a modern man, and that is one reason why he has bubbled to the surface. He has a capacity, and willingness, to express unbounded, if painfully bland enthusiasm for any modish cause….

He is particularly enthusiastic about digital transformation, and is reckoned by Whitehall warriors to have done well to keep it out of the hands of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, where it could equally well belong.

In February [2018] he brought out the Matt Hancock app, which produced a burst of derision at his expense, with even the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer making jokes about it..

One of Hancock’s many useful characteristics is an ability to get people to laugh with him, rather than at him. Beneath the laughter could be detected a note of respect..”

Gimson goes on to report the observation of a mandarin who worked with him.

“I have to say I never took to the man. Clearly able in a Bank of England sort of way. But devoid of principle, transparently ambitious and pleased with himself beyond measure.

Given that none of the frontrunners has appeared to have gathered any traction I just wonder whether Hancock would be tempted to put his hat into the ring. He is good communicator with a confidence that compares so well with the incumbent.

I’ve got him at 65/1 for next leader and 90/1 for next PM.

Mike Smithson


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