Archive for the 'CON Leadership' Category


24 hours after TMay’s exit plan announcement and Michael Gove the clear betting favourite to be next PM

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

We are going to see a lot of this chart in the next few weeks – how punters on the Betfair exchange are seeing the Tory succession.

I choose Betfair because this is an exchange market where punters, not bookmakers, are setting the odds and you do get more movement.

At the moment it is the Environment Secretary Michael Gove who is making the running ahead of ex-Mayor, Johnson.

Interesting that the top choices in the betting are all male. Things are likely to change when a CON leadership election is actually called and it might be that someone who is not rated at the moment comes into the frame.

There are two relevant markets – the next Tory leader and the next PM.It might of course be that there’s a general election between now and when this contest takes place in which case Mr. Corbyn could conceivably succeed in the latter one.

Mike Smithson


It’s time we moved back to MPs choosing the party leader instead not members

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Having a leader who is not the choice of MPs will inevitably lead to problems

Consider where British politics is quite likely to be in a few months time – LAB still being led by Corbyn who is opposed by most of his MPs and Johnson being the CON leader in spite of his relative lack of parliamentary support

Both would be in their jobs because of their appeal to party members and neither command the support of their parliamentary parties. Given the main role of a leader is to head the party in the Commons then it should be those who work alongside MPs that should have the final say.

One of the difficulties that Ed Miliband had during his five years at the top was that he wasn’t the choice of his fellow MPs. In the ballot in 2010 he was nearly 9% short of his brother David amongst the parliamentary party.

Corbyn’s position is much worse because as we saw in 2016 a vote of confidence in him amongst the parliamentary Labour Party he secured just 20% of the vote.

Going back within the Tory Party would Iain Duncan Smith have been elected leader in 2001 if it had been left to his parliamentary colleagues. I suggest not. What happened during a critical time in British history, the Iraq war, the party and the country as a whole would have been better served by the Conservatives if the leader had been more able to hold the government properly to account.

The big difference between the Conservatives and labour is that there is a simple process within the former for an elected leader by the membership to be ousted. That’s what happened to IDs in October 2003.

This fad of letting the membership decide is a very modern. Labour introduced it in the early 1990s with John Smith being the first leader to be elected partly by members. The first Tory leadership contest to involve the membership was in 2001.

There was a thread on Twitter a few weeks back which I’ve been pondering about ever that suggested that one of the big problems in British politics is that the main parties select their leaders by leaving the final decision to the memberships.

This diminishes the role of the individual MP. Sure party members should be able to choose their candidates in their constituencies for general elections but that suggests that being involved in the final choice of a main party leader is not a good.

Why should  members, most of whom just pay their subs, be the ones to choose?


Mike Smithson


The picture of TMay that says it all on most of the front pages this morning

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Will she stay if Brexit doesn’t happen?

It is not often that the papers are all at one over what is the big news of the day. Interestingly as well they mostly use the same picture of Theresa May to illustrate their stories and this, my guess, will go down as a match to the shots of Maggie Thatcher in the car as she was leaving Downing Street for the last time in November 1990.

The problem with her withdrawal plan is that it is conditional on the first stage of Brexit going to plan and that is far from clear. We don’t know whether she will get a vote through on her deal and the signs are that this might not happen.

The question then becomes what happens to Mrs May? Is she going to struggle on or will she have to be forced out in some manner? Is the deadlock over Brexit going to be a semi-permanent fixture of a politics while a battered leader struggles on?

For those PBers who are punters there are also betting issues and I will be down a bit if a deal is not accepted by MPs the end of tomorrow. So be it.

What Theresa May’s announcement yesterday has set off, of course, is the next CON leadership election because it will no longer be a requirement of apparent loyalists to deny any interest in the job.

The interesting betting move last night was towards the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, someone whom I tipped here in January when he was 65/1.  It’s been notable that Hancock has played a big part in explaining to the media and doing some  key interviews on behalf of the government. Hancock, of course, is a George Osborne protégé and I wonder whether the London Evening Standard will be a great big backer if it comes to a contest.

All to play for.

Mike Smithson


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