Archive for the 'CON Leadership' Category


Leadsom, Williamson and Tugendhat move into the frame in the TMay successor betting

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

The Westminster harassment allegations have led to a shake up in the Betfair exchange next CON leader betting with several new names coming in including Andrea Leadsom, new Defence Sec Gavin Williamson and Tom Tugendhat.

Although Davis is still in the favourite slot at 13% he is nothing like as strong a favourite as he was. Rees-Mogg continues to be favoured while BoJo is now in third place.

What makes this market more interesting is that the mood amongst CON MPs appears to have edged a touch away from TMay with considerable opposition to her choice of Williamson, who has never spoken from the Commons front bench, as Fallon’s successor at defence.

Now we await the Sunday papers. Will they change anything?

Mike Smithson


Mrs May needs to use the Fallon vacancy to bring in new talent

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Why she should follow the example of Michael Howard

One of the things that is often commented on as people discuss who will be the next Tory leader is how underwhelming the obvious front runners appear.

If you look at the betting there is no clear choice and this is an opportunity for Mrs May to plan for the future of her party by promoting people who could grow and become the leaders of tomorrow.

I was always impressed by Michael Howard in the 2003-2005 period after he took over from the hapless Iain Duncan Smith who of course was ousted in a vote of confidence.

He was the one who brought on George Osborne and of course David Cameron the latter being the only person to lead the party to an overall majority in a quarter of a century.

One of the criticisms of Cameron is that he failed to rejuvenate his team as often as he should which in many ways is a reason for the lack of apparent talent at the moment

A key factor for Mrs May for which she will take very detailed advice from the Chief Whip will be to avoid politicians who have apparent “baggage” that could blow up at any time in the future.

Assuming that the Fallon successor is a current minister then that appointment will also create vacancies and she might use the opportunity to do make some other more strategic appointments.

We don’t know yet why Michael Fallon felt he had to resign but he will be much missed. He was a very accomplished media performer and capable attack dog and we all remember the role he played in the 2015 General Election when he accused Ed Miliband of having stabbed his brother in the back. Fallon was able to change the media narrative.

Mike Smithson


Corbyn becomes an even stronger betting favourite to be the next PM

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

The current scandals are moving the markets

Above is the trend chart showing the big movement to Corbyn in the next PM market.

This is a crazy market as I’ve observed here before. Fact is that it is hard to see how Corbyn or any Labour leader becomes PM before the next general election and after TMay’s GE2017 experience she is hardly going to precipitate an early election once again. In any case it is hard to see the blue team allowing her to be at the helm by the time of the next election.

So Corbyn might well become PM but it is hard to envisage the circumstances that this happens before the election. For the bet to come good TMay has to remain in post.

The latest movement is surely a reflection of views about the what’s going on within the Tory party in the wake of the ongoing harassment scandals.

Mike Smithson


In the TMay successor betting the BoJo price slumps

Monday, October 30th, 2017

The political day in the UK has been dominated by the Westminster harassment allegations and the spreadsheet listing the names of MPs, including ministers, said to have committed inappropriate behaviour.

Whether this has driven the changes in the next CON leader betting I don’t know. The chart based on Betfair last trades at 2100 GMT is above.

The trend has been moving away from the ex-mayor since the election when he stood as a 30% chance.

The problem with this market, of course, is that it could be years before there’s a vacancy. When will TMay decide to call it a day or be pushed? That’s very hard to say.

Mike Smithson


Congratulations to TMay for surviving beyond October 29th

Monday, October 30th, 2017

She’s doing better than IDS in 2003

Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of what I considered to be one of the best political betting days ever where the best place to find out what was happening was to look at the prices on the Betfair Exchange.

After taking over from William Hague two days after 9/11 Iain Duncan Smith struggled for more than 2 years to maintain the confidence of his party and that all finally snapped at the end of October 2003. His opponents in the Parliamentary Conservative Party gathered up enough letters for a confidence vote. These were presented them to the chairman of the 1922 committee who then called the ballot for the following day.

That IDS was going to lose that confidence vote and be replaced, without the having to face an opponent, by Michael Howard all became apparent during the afternoon of the vote on Betfair. Suddenly on the next CON leader market all the money started draining away from the favourite at the time, David Davis and before the confidence vote was announced Michael had become odds on favourite to become Tory leader.

Then of course, the Tories were in opposition and not in government as now and a leadership election to replace Mrs May would be about choosing a new prime minister.

Remember that less than a month ago all the talk was of such a move against Mrs May in the period after conference. We had the suggestion that the party chairman under Cameron, Gavin Shapps, was collecting letters but clearly not enough MPs have been prepared to act now.

In the meantime TMay has had some tricky Commons performances particularly at PMQs where Corbyn had become much more sure footed.

    But we’ve got to the end of October and the PM is still there with almost no talk of immediate confidence votes any more. She appears, and I write guardedly, safe for now.

The Tory party could be in danger of losing its reputation of being the most ruthless when it comes to failing leaders. Mrs May had a majority, called an election that wasn’t necessary, lost the majority and ended up having to agree the £1bn+ deal with the DUP.

She has been helped, of course, by the fact that there is no obvious favourite to replace her. Boris has become a diminished figure since the election and DDavis isn’t going to set the world on fire.

So Mrs May remains and that is something of an achievement. Congratulations.

Mike Smithson


The next PM could be someone who is opposed to women who’ve been raped having abortions

Friday, October 27th, 2017

The Pool

If Rees-Mogg goes for it abortion will dominate the campaign

Jacob Rees-Mogg continues to feature strongly in the betting for next CON leader and next PM. He’s third favourite for the former and fourth favourite for the latter, The latest Betfair trades in both markets make him a 10% chance.

There’s no doubt that he’s become a big media figure and comes over very strongly – something that is helped by his lack of equivocation on the big issues of the day. JRM doesn’t hide potentially controversial positions behind smart drafting.

There has never been a members’ leadership election to replace a sitting PM. Gordon Brown succeeded by coronation and TMay took over from Cameron when Andrea Leadsom, who’d come second in the MPs ballot, pulled out following her controversial comments having an advantage of Mrs. May because she was a mother..

The widespread assumption is that TMay will stand down or be forced out well before the next general election so we could be moving into a CON membership ballot to choose the next PM.

If Rees-Mogg runs then inevitably his very strong view on abortion will figure very strongly. How this will go down with his parliamentary colleagues and Tory members I don’t know. My guess is that it would be an net negative for the Tories in a general election.

Mike Smithson


If it gets to a confidence vote then timings will make it harder for the Whips to defend Theresa

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Although the media has moved on she isn’t out of the woods yet

No doubt the Number 10 PR team is absolutely delighted that the media has moved on from speculating about TMay’s future as PM but it was a story that dominated the news for five full days.

She’s still there and showing resilience. But having been party chair at the time of the last move by CON MPs to oust a leader she’ll be acutely aware of the process that happened fewer than four weeks after the 2003 conference to the then leader Iain Duncan Smith.

The process then was brutal and incredibly fast. Letters from more than 15% of the Parliamentary Party were filed in the afternoon and the following morning MPs were voting on whether or not they had confidence in the leader. So there was a tight time-line.

So far TMay’s Whips have done a good job protecting the leader. It was said that they leaked that Grant Shapps was plotting which helped forestall it. But the period of danger is far from over. At any time the chair of the 1922 committee could be presented with the necessary letters from 48 CON MPs requesting a confidence vote.

This makes it much harder for the Whips to influence the outcome and is a point, no doubt, that those wanting her out are telling fellow MPs that they are trying to persuade to send letters.

What surprised me in 2003 was that IDS was ready to tough it out and go through with the vote rather than resigning beforehand. My guess is that TMay would do the same.

Mike Smithson


Ex-Tory chairman Shapps “leading the rebels working to oust TMay”

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Meanwhile YouGov finds the country divided over TMay staying

So the battle for the future of the Conservative Party is now on with senior figures ready to go on the record saying they are working to try to force her out.

In process terms the rebels need 15% of the parliamentary party, 48, to send letters to the chairman of the 1922 committee demanding a confidence vote on the Prime Minister. The Times report linked to above says that there are at least 30 names.

As I have noted in previous posts the process of ousting a Conservative leader is very separate from the process of electing a new one. Only after there has been a vote has no confidence or Mrs May quits voluntarily will possible contenders have to declare themselves.

    What is interesting here is that the rebels do not appear to be Boris Johnson backers but previous loyalists to the last Conservative Prime Minister to win a majority, David Cameron.

It was that majority that Mrs May lost on June 8th in the general election that she personally called three years early.

There have been separate reports that supporters of the former Mayor and now Foreign Secretary have their own list of MPs ready to demand a confidence motion.

Whether they are included in the 30 total I do not know. Last week I was given a figure of Boris backers of 38 CON MPs from what I regard as a reliable party source.

Whatever the battle for the future of the Conservative Party is now on.

Latest betting has Mrs May a 2/1 to survive the year.

Mike Smithson