Archive for the 'CON Leadership' Category


As the big vote gets delayed the betting on 2nd referendum gets tighter and tighter

Monday, December 10th, 2018

..the ex-Mayor is once again favourite to succeed TMay

..and TMay becomes a 28% chance to go this year

Mike Smithson


Geoffrey Cox for next CON leader? He’s head and shoulders above the rest

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

At 50/1 a good bet?

These are quite extraordinary times and one of the “stars” to have emerged has been the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox – someone who first came to many people’s attention when he introduced TMay at October’s CON conference.

I thought he did brilliantly yesterday handling what was a very difficult issue for the government and no doubt will be seeing more of him later.

    He’s not someone who has been mentioned much as a prospective CON leader but if he has ambitions in that direction he has done himself a power of good over Brexit. As I write the best price on him to succeed Mrs. May is 50/1 which looks a goodish longshot.

If Theresa May manages to get through this difficult period with the deal agreed, a big if, and the UK does leave the EU in March as planned then one of the major factors will have been the role of Mr Cox.

This morning, of course, the whole EU exit business took a turn with the recommendation to the ECJ that the UK could unilaterally revoke the article 50 declaration that was made in March 2017.

One of the effects of this, I suggest, is that it is going to help the whips as they try to get leavers to back the Prime Minister in the big vote next week. Assuming the advice the European court is getting is accepted then that places the whole subject in a very different context and the threat of Brexit not happening will be greater.

Wavering Tory MPs will be told in no uncertain terms that TMay’s deal is the best way of guaranteeing Brexit.

Let’s now see what the rest of the day brings.

Mike Smithson


If TMay has to go quickly then, surely, Javid or Hunt should be favourites for “Emergency PM”

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Both might be worth a punt for next PM

I’ve long taken the view that Theresa May is not going to resign voluntarily before her mission of handling brexit and taking the UK out of the EU has been accomplished. However the big Commons vote goes next week she’ll want to cling on and see it through.

But there must always be a chance that she would quit or even more likely face a vote of no confidence amongst her MPs if the outcome is really bad for her.

One of the things that, surprisingly, there has been very little discussion about is who would be emergency PM should TMay resign suddenly and there is no time for a proper leadership election. The cabinet then would be likely to choose a temporary PM while a leadership ballot went forward.

Assuming that this happened before the termination of the article 50 process on March 29th then the new prime minister would have to take over at a very difficult and challenging time in order to handle the whole issue of the UK’s extraction from the EU.

This is a big task and not one you could see current CON leadership favourite Boris doing. One thing he’s never been is a details man. There’s Dominic Raab who has only been in the cabinet a few months and really doesn’t yet look the part.

    Looking around I very much agree with Ian Martin’s tweet above that there are only two big beasts there ready to fit the bill – the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt and the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid. They would also be in a position to determine TMay’s future.

Quite what the mechanics of the change would be is clearly open to speculation but a lot could be in TMay’s hands. Part of her constitutional duty on handing in her resignation as PM is to advise the Queen on who should be invited to lead the government.

My guess is that she would prefer Hunt who like her is one of the three remaining Cabinet ministers who have served since continuously since GE2010. She wouldn’t however want to go against the will of the cabinet.

In the betting the best market to go for is next PM rather than next CON leader. The odds are slightly longer. I’ve just had small wagers at 11 and 12 on Betfair on Javid and Hunt respectively. Even if there is no immediate vacancy they are both strongly placed for when she does go.

Mike Smithson


“Ken Clarke” takes on the man who failed to get 48 CON MPs to support his oust TMay move

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

The Tory EU wars part 373


Survation-Daily Mail poll finds growing support for TMay’s Brexit deal

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Now more support than oppose

The big overnight Brexit news is a Survation poll for the Daily Mail conducted yesterday which is being splashed all over its front page as can be seen above.

The big news is that on comparative questions there has been a significant increase in those supporting the deal compared with similar questions which were put by Survation in a poll on November 15th.

Clearly this is good news for Theresa May who has started to look beleaguered following the reception the agreement has been getting from party MPs. The general favorability to Theresa May on this issue is in broad line with the Times YouGov polling that was published in the middle of last week.

No doubt the Conservative whipping operation at Westminster, which is facing it’s biggest test for years, will be using these numbers as it seeks to persuade wavering party MPs to fall in line.

    Mrs May is being very much helped by the very different approach being taken by the new editor of The Daily Mail who replaced Lord Dacre in the summer. I doubt if the latter would have commissioned a poll like this and even if he had done he certainly wouldn’t have been giving it front treat front page treatment as above.

The 39-42% LAB voter split on how MPs should vote might help lead the party, to do what many have been predicting, to abstain when the big vote is taken.

The Betfair price on TMay going this year has dropped from 30% last night to 28% this morning. Back on November 15th it was 60%.

Mike Smithson


The Telegraph leading on May’s TV Corbyn debate plan

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

At least she’s taking the initiative

This reminds me very much Tony Blair in the period leading up to the Iraq War. That, it will be recalled, saw massive demonstrations and Commons revolts but in the end the UK joined the US in going to war.

The hardline Brexiteers would have been in a stronger position now if they’d put the grunt work in and had had an alternative plan.

Anyway another week begins.

Mike Smithson


After an historic morning in Brussels the betting remains that Brexit will happen on time & TMay will survive until at least 2019

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

The uncertainties remain

I’m taking profits on my TMay surviving 2018 bet because I think there’s just an outside chance that she could quit if the Commons votes against her plan. That would happen before Christmas.

One thing that’s happened during her premiership is that ultimately she’s won just about all the main votes on Brexit. Things might look bleak now but is Labour really going to risk being tarred with having made a no deal exit to actually happen?

There’s a huge difference between the party abstaining and actually voting alongside the DUP and hardline Tory rebels to strike it down. My guess is that Corbyn’s party will abstain.

What we don’t know is how much the “put it to the national in a referendum” argument will resonate. It becomes harder to resist now that we know what leaving actually means.

Mike Smithson


This might be the moment for Rory Stewart – the old Etonian of whom great things were predicted even before he became an MP

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

He’s become TMay’s main Brexit defender

Great things were predicted for Rory Stewart after his selection as CON candidate ahead of GE2010 for the safe seat of Penrith. He attracted an enormous amount of coverage and in December 2009 Ladbrokes made him the 12/1 fourth favourite to succeed Cameron as CON leader.

To get a sense of the atmosphere at the time this was from a glowing profile from Anna van Praagh in the Sunday Telegraph in 2009.

Britain doesn’t make men like Rory Stewart any more. The former diplomat has trekked 6,000 miles across Asia; at 28, wrote a best-selling book, The Places in Between, about the walk; was governor of a province in Iraq at 29; and last year, as well as becoming a Harvard professor, was hailed by Esquire magazine as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. Brad Pitt has already bought the rights to his biopic. And he’s only 36…..

…. his impressive CV might strike fear into Cameron, whose own contains a comparatively drab seven years in the communications office at Carlton TV.“

Nearly a decade on Stewart’s yet to achieve the early promise partly because people who arrive in parliament with big reputations tend to struggle. It was a long time before Stewart become a minister and he’s not yet in the cabinet. Things, however, might be changing.

It has become very noticeable over the past few days as the government has tried to defend its Brexit position how often Rory Stewart is now the person chosen to put the government’s case.

At times he seems to be appearing everywhere and in his calm handling of tough questioning you can see why the Number 10 communications chief, Robin Gibb, selects him. Gibb is no stranger to the needs of politics on TV and was the BBC’s head at Westminster before taking up his job with Mrs May.

I’ve been impressed by the way Stewart’s handled a range of tough interviews and he’s managed to keep his cool and get over the central points. If Theresa May survives the next 4 months beyond the article 50 deadline you can see her making more changes in her team and Stewart would be well placed to get into the cabinet.

Everything in CON leadership betting depends on when there is a vacancy but if it is later rather than earlier the old Etonian Oxford graduate might just be a contender. His current odds of 100/1 are somewhat weaker than in 2009 but he could just be the person for the moment. I’ve had a tenner on.

Mike Smithson