Archive for the 'Theresa May' Category


Why there’ll always be a reason why the time’s not ripe to depose Theresa

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Nick Palmer suggests she could be around for longer than predicted

Like many observers, I have the clear impression that most Conservative MPs feel that a change of leadership is needed before the next election. As many have observed, challengers are mainly inhibited by the sense that whoever challenges may not win, and the potential leaders would rather have May than a possibly successful alternative blocking their own chance at the top. At any moment, there could be a deal between two of the factions sufficient to trigger a leadership challenge – all the main contenders could rustle up 50 letters to achieve that if they worked at it.

But…when? What is the process that makes it happen? Parliament now disappears for two months, appearing only fleetingly in September before packing up again for the conferences. It’s likely, though we can never be sure in these turbulent times, that politics will be fairly quiet for a bit, with nearly all the main actors scattered around the world.

What about September? Well, say you’re a Tory MP. You come back refreshed, still concerned about the polls but largely out of touch with any ongoing plotting. Do you instantly sign a letter to force May out? No. You have a think, talk to colleagues, consult your constituency association. Two weeks pass quickly, then you’re off again.

What about the Conference? Well, that’s a good time to meet lots of potential fellow-plotters. But it’s a terrible time to launch a challenge. “Here’s our Prime Minister, speaking about the year ahead for Britain, and by the way we’ve decided this week to get rid of her. Enjoy the speech anyway.” No.

Of course, she might decide to resign voluntarily. But she’s stuck through a pretty nasty period. Why would she suddenly leave after a quiet one, with the Conference giving the chance to reboot her leadership?

What about after Conference? What, in the middle of substantive Brexit talks? It’s clearly against the national interest AND the party interest. It would look both frivolous and self-centred.

What about when Brexit talks end? If they fail altogether, maybe, but the EU doesn’t do failure, it does fudge. Given any sort of deal, it will be presented as the best result available, with a tricky transition period to get through. Time to have a leadership election? Not really. Rather, they’ll try to argue that actually they’ve got a very good deal.

So I can’t see that there’s a natural time to change before 2020. If Labour is then 20 points ahead in the polls, the party might finally move, in desperation. Otherwise, quite likely not. Theresa May is the Tory leader, even though most MPs might still wish she wasn’t (and if that reminds you of any other parties, life is full of ironies). Get used to it.

Nick Palmer was Labour MP for Broxtowe, 1997-2010


Leadsom might not ever have a better chance of becoming PM than the 2016 leadership race that she flunked

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Her withdrawal then was a great disservice to the party

It is being reported that Andrea Leadsom is ready to stand if there is move within the parliamentary party to try to anoint a successor to GE2017 failure, TMay, without the necessity of going through a full fledged leadership contest.

The Tory leadership election system dates back to William Hague’s days in the 1997-2001 parliament with the final choice being made by via a members’ postal ballot from a shortlist of two agreed by the party’s MPs.

A year ago Leadsom had, through a series of well documented freak circumstances, made it to the final two and was all set for the next leader and PM to be decided by members’ ballot.

However she pulled out of the contest after an unfortunate interview with Rachel Sylvestor of the Times when she appeared to suggest that she was better qualified to be leader because unlike TMay, she was a mother.

    Leadsom’s decision meant that TMay got the job by default and was never tested fighting for the support of party members – an experience, I’d suggest suggest that would have prepared her better for leading the party at a general election.

May would have had to go through hustings meetings with Leadsom, TV debates and tough probing interviews – all things that the very private Mrs May finds hard to deal with. It would have been much harder ducking out of Woman’s Hour in a leadership contest than as an incumbent PM.

But the overall experience would have honed her up and made her more cautious about calling a general election.

Given what we now know about how the PM performs under such electoral scrutiny there’s also a possibility that TMay might not have beaten Leadsom who did well for her side in her public appearances during the EU referendum.

You can get Leadsom at 20/1 on Betfair to be TMay’s successor.

Mike Smithson


Some numbers that could help TMay’s survival. Another poll, YouGov, has her & the Tories edging back a touch

Monday, July 17th, 2017

But still LAB leads

Given how close it is to the last election it is hardly surprsisng that there are so few voting intention polls coming out. Today’s from YouGov is only the second since Mrs. May lost her majority on June 8th and has the gap down just a touch.

CON 40 +2
LAB 45 -1
LD 7 =
UKIP 2-2

This follows the weekend’s Survation online poll which had the LAB lead down to 2% from 6% on the weekend after the election.

TMay is also seeing her “best PM” numbers edging back up a notch. With YouGov she is now back in the lead.

Best PM in latest YouGov
TMay 38%+4
Corbyn 33% -2

Give the fractious state of her party these numbers should ease the jitters just a touch but, of course, the moves are small. TMay has successfuly negotiated the first six and a half weeks since the disastrous result and now she must be looking to get through the summer and conference season.

But she cannot airbrush out of history the fact that she called the election to increase her majority and ended without one at all. In earlier times she would have been toppled within days.

Mike Smithson


I think allies of David Davis are overreaching and going to damage their man fatally. This is becoming very ugly

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Whilst the briefing against Philip Hammond continues



If or when Theresa May is replaced her successor shouldn’t hold a snap election (or even think about it)

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Mrs May has probably ended any talk of or actual snap elections in the future by her successors

The last ten years in British politics have been the most dramatic ten years I can recall in peace time. We’ve had, inter alia, the great financial crisis, the coalition government, the Scottish Independence referendum, the SNP tsunami, the Lib Dem wipe out of 2015, which saw David Cameron become the only Tory to win a majority in the last 25 years, the rise of Corbyn, and of course Brexit.

Interestingly these ten years have been bookended by a mandate-less Prime Minister trashing their reputation with a needless snap election, or speculation therein, memorably in Gordon Brown’s case when one of his minister’s wrote publicly in September 2007 ‘Shortly there will be an election, in which Labour will increase its majority.’

As seems likely Mrs May’s tenure as Prime Minister ends before the next general election the one thing that seems certain is that her successor  won’t be doing is holding a snap election, even if the polls show them 25% ahead, apart from the fear of running a truly terrible campaign, one thing the 2017 general election has confirmed is that voters don’t like be asked to vote again for partisan reasons nor do they like politicians who break their word so spectacularly.

Exactly one year ago Mrs May became Prime Minister very few, including Mrs May, would have thought within a year she’d be forever be associated with the greatest act of hubris since Emperor Palpatine allowed the Rebel Alliance to know the location of the second Death Star.

Happy anniversary Prime Minister.



Some Tories are determined to retoxify the party

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Unless you’re over 90 or grew up in antebellum Virginia, you should not be using the n word or even thinking about using it, but today a Tory MP, Ann Marie Morris, uttered the n word, unsurprisingly she had the whip removed.

Credit must be given to Theresa May for acting so swiftly, given her approach on things like stop & search and equalities, Mrs May will have experienced genuine revulsion at such comments, I think she realises how damaging this is because she is in some respects is the grandmother of the Tory detoxification project with her nasty party speech back in 2002.

However Mrs May and the Tories who may still have work to do with this incident, there’s already pressure on Mrs Morris to resign as an MP, however I think pressure might also be directed towards to the other panelists at the event which Morris spoke, as the Huffington Post observes ‘Despite using the racist term, none of her fellow panelists, including Tory MPs Bill Cash and John Redwood, reacted.’

Given the pressure the Tories and Mrs May are currently under following her calamitous decision to hold a snap election and the performance therein which saw her wipe out David Cameron’s majority I suspect the media focus on this story will not end with the decision to suspend the whip from Ann Marie Morris.

Mrs May will need a lot of nous to stop this becoming a damaging incident, especially given how much the party has focused on incidents of antisemitism in the Labour party.



At last! Mr. Trump shakes hands with a leader who has worse leader ratings than he does – Mrs. May

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

One of the most worrying features for Mrs. May following her failed GE17 gamble and her determination to stay in the job has been the sharp move downwards in her leader ratings. Whether the format has been about favourability, satisfaction, approval or doing well/badly she has seen a very sharp reversal since June 8th.

Trump has had poor ratings right from the start and in recent weeks the President has seen his net favourability numbers down at a net minus 25%. The trend is getting worse.

    But for all Trump’s numbers amongst US voters are poor he is not yet down at the levels being experienced by Mrs. May amongst British voters.

The post general election polling has been really bad for the Tories and TMay. Recent polling from YouGov had TMay’s favourability at a net minus 34% – a picture that is broadly the same as other pollsters. The latest ICM had just 28% say she was doing a “good job” as PM with 54% saying “bad job”.

I’ve long argued that the trend in leader ratings is as good, if not better, pointer to electoral outcomes than voting intention numbers. Indeed in the lead up to June 8th Corbyn enjoyed a significant boost in his numbers which were broadly over-looked because they did not fit the prevailing “CON landslide” narrative.

Mike Smithson


Whilst Mrs May is performing very badly, we should also remember and praise Corbyn’s contribution

Friday, July 7th, 2017


Ditching Mrs May won’t be the panacea for the Tories some Tories think it will be.

Last night stories emerged that Theresa May is a ‘lame horse’, furious Tory ministers warn, amid claims they could resign to force her out, but I’m coming to the conclusion that whilst Mrs May is a pox on the Tory party, ditching her won’t necessarily improve the Tory party in the polls, though it would stop the haemorrhaging.

The chart above sums up the current political mood, but whilst Mrs May has received a lot of opprobrium for her calamitous decision to hold an early election and her performance during said campaign, I don’t think Corbyn is getting enough credit for his performance over recent months, the Tories need to understand why Corbyn has become so popular given his backstory, after all 46% is Labour’s highest ever share with YouGov.

Last summer I said we shouldn’t underestimate Corbyn as nobody has become rich by underestimating Jeremy Corbyn, Corbyn has probably a comeback to rival Lazarus, one wonders just how far Labour would go if the Parliamentary Labour Party backed Corbyn wholeheartedly?