Archive for the 'Theresa May' Category


It is now an 91% chance that TMay will be out this year

Monday, May 13th, 2019

From chart of Betfair market

Aside from the Euro elections next week the other big UK political betting market which has seen a lot of activity is on the date when TMay will finally step aside. After the local elections two weeks ago and the impending disaster for her party a week on Thursday this surely will be the moment when she finally runs out of time.

Yet will she? One thing we know is that she isn’t going of her own accord. She will have to be forced out and until now her party colleagues have never had the bottle to force the issue.

The confusing part about all of this is that there have been so many false alarms before. At one stage I was counting the number of front page stories in the national press which were predicting Theresa May’s imminent political demise and they were all proved wrong.

TMay has made her total mission in life over the past three year to implement the 2016 referendum and she hasn’t given up.

Her resolve and determination to achieve the goal runs so deep that you cannot judge her by other political leaders. She’s suffered commons revolt after commons revolt with the worst votes ever against a government ever but she has stuck to her task.

I certainly would not bet on her going this year at current odds.

Mike Smithson


If Graham Brady had acted differently in July 2016 TMay might never have become PM

Monday, May 13th, 2019

And the last three years could have been very different

With the pressure ratcheting up in the Tory party against TMay it is perhaps worth recalling how she got the job in the first place in July 2016. Boris was the longstanding favourite but pulled out following Michael Gove’s surprise entry into the race. In the MP balloting TMay came top with Andrea Leadsom second.

So Leadsom and Theresa May were two names that were to go to the membership. But on the following Monday Leadsom pulled out after a huge furore over her comments in the Times about the fact that she was a mother and Theresa May wasn’t. This was seen as an unfair attack on Theresa May and she eventually stepped aside.

It is at that point, looking back, that the chairman of the 1922 committee, Graham Brady, made a decision that was to change everything. He declared Theresa May the winner without her having to go through the process of facing a leadership ballot of the membership.

There is a strong case for saying that what he should have done was to go to the next in line in the MPs ballot, which happened to be Michael Gove, and these two would have been the choice that went to the membership.

Brady’s move meant that Mrs May, who’s never been known to like being questioned or being accountable, was able to take the job without the scrutiny that such a membership campaign would have inevitably involved. As we saw at GE2017 she isn’t good as an election campaigner

I believe that the whole process of the members ballot with the associated huge media coverage and examination of the contenders would have exposed some of Mrs May’s worst features and that she might not have made it.

Winning a membership ballot would have added to her legitimacy for there has always been a problem that she was a Remainer .

And so she struggles on.

Mike Smithson


There’s something rather magnificent about the way TMay just keeps keeps hanging in there

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Whenever her detractors think she’s in a corner she always manages to play for time

So another day and another key confrontation for TMay over when she is going to finally step down as CON leader and Prime Minister. Like all  others such key moments, it seems, she has found a way to get a key decision deferred till next week or the week after with the result that the pressure for now is offloaded. This is wonderful to watch.

Those Tory MPs who want her out, and it is said that the number is growing, must really be furious about the ERG attempt last December to force a vote of no confidence against her. She survived as we all know that means she has 12 months immunity from a further challenge. Now they are trying to change the rules.

Since the party conference last October I have lost count of the number of front pages of the Times,  Sunday Times, the Sun, the Mail, the Telegraph and others that have warned of imminent doom for Mrs May. But it has never happened and even though she is pursuing a policy on Brexit which is alien to a large part of her party she is still there in control.

Looking back it all went wrong for CON MPs when she reported to the 1922 Committee on the Monday evening after she had lost the Tory majority on June 8th 2017. That was the moment, surely, when they should have been firm and got her out. As the former Chancellor, George Osborne, observed in the hours after the election result  she was a dead woman walking. Well Theresa has proved him wrong many many times over.

She’s helped, of course, by a lack of unanimity within the party over who should be the successor and the warring factions between the different groupings of brexiteers who are not going to compromise.

I am one of many punters who has lost money betting that she’d be out early but I’m keeping out of the market now. Currently it’s 84% chance on Betfair that she’ll gothis year.  I just wonder whether she might make it into 2020. Whatever her resilience is truly magnificent to behold.

Mike Smithson



What better front pages for TMay on the day of the big local elections

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

She  comes over as decisive firm and tough

The conventional wisdom is that you don’t want negative stories about your party to be making the headlines on the day of any elections. Everything is about turnout, particularly with the locals, and all efforts should be made to ensure that your base and your activists are out there enthusiastically going to the polls and getting out the vote.

So I just wonder whether the very public sacking Gavin Williamson yesterday evening was part of a Number 10 plan to present the Prime Minister in a much more positive light.

There’s little doubt that over the last few weeks ahead of the elections that CON canvassers have been hearing a very similar message from their supporters on the doorstep. The process of trying to get the Brexit deal through Parliament has led to Theresa appearing indecisive and weak. What better way of countering that than to have her seem to be acting in a such forthright manner when the victim is not someone who is universally popular (remember the Private Pike jokes).

One thing we know about Theresa May is that she is very keen on local government. She is a former councillor herself and even as PM is known to regularly do door-to-door canvassing for local elections in her constituency. She must have been very aware that a very poor result tonight could be a trigger for a move against her.

My guess is that the Tories are still going to have a bad set of your local elections today but the scale of the seat losses that have been predicted might not come about. It doesn’t take much in low turnout elections for a little bit of extra enthusiasm from party voters and supporters to make a big difference.

Tomorrow morning I might be proved right that public sacking of Gavin Williamson was a master stroke.

Mike Smithson



TMay sacks the man who ran her 2016 leadership campaign

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

And the betting opens on the replacement

Mike Smithson


On this day exactly two years ago it was Peak Theresa May (and Nick Timothy)

Friday, April 19th, 2019

On the betting markets it was a 92% chance that the Tories would win a majority. It got even tighter than that – on the weekend after Tory performance in that year’s local elections the betting chance of the CON majority hit 97%.

Then there was:

The launch of the Tory manifesto (written by Mr. Timothy and not even approved by the cabinet) on May 18th 2017…

Mrs. May’s refusal to take part in a TV debate with Corbyn.

The Dimbleby QuestionTime Special when a nurse whose pay had stood still for eight years was told by the PM “There is no magic money tree”

The exit poll.

Mike Smithson


Ex-CON leader betting favourite, Javid, drops sharply amidst reports of plots to block him

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

A sign of the Tory Islamophobia crisis?

As can be seen from the betting price chart six months ago the Home Secretary. Sajid Javid, was 6the favourite to succeed TMay as CON leader and prime minister Since then he has seen a steady deterioration in his position in the betting and over the last couple of days he’s moved down from an 8% chance to just 5%.

Earlier in the week BuzzFeed was reporting that Tory members were posting anti Muslim comments on social media urging one and other to prevent Javid from becoming leader The report stated that about 52 members have now been suspended over anti Muslim posts. According to the report

“On Monday, BuzzFeed News presented Conservative HQ with a list of another 20 Facebook users who claim to be Tory members and have made Islamophobic comments on the platform.

The users all publicly stated that they are current party members, and either discussed how they intend to vote in a future Tory leadership election, or are members of a closed Facebook group which only allows confirmed party members to join.

It is understood that more than 50 Tory members have now been suspended over anti-Muslim posts, though the party refuses to say which members it has suspended, or how many.”

LAB supporters often complain that all the public attention seems to be on their party’s anti-semitism crisis with very little focus on the Tory problem with anti-Muslims. There is a difference. The LAB issue goes right to the heart of the party’s leadership while nobody is saying that Theresa May is in anyway sympathetic or involved.

Mike Smithson


TMay makes most of the front pages this morning as reports continue of efforts to oust her

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

But she’s not going, surely, before the Euros?

Given the fact that we could be seeing two separate sets of elections next month, the locals on May 2nd and the Euros on May 23rd it is hard to see how TMay a can be pushed out before then.

In many way her challenges are not of her own making. It was her predecessor who committed the Tories to a referendum and the 51.9%-48.1% outcome was hardly a mandate for some of the radical ideas of parts of her party.

She is, of course secure from an MP vote of no confidence because of the rule that once she has survived one, as last December, then there cannot be another attempt until a year later.

It was the ERG group of Brexit hardliners who forced that vote Before Christmas which they lost. Surely they would have been in a better position, knowing the rules about the immunity a positive result for the PM would have given, if they had waited until now?

As a general rule it is unwise to mount a coup unless you are confident of coming back with a corpse.

Unfortunately this sort of thinking does not appear to be a quality in some of the hardliners who are now getting restless as we get closer and closer to the deadlines.

Now we must wait for the EU27’s response. Are, as is being suggested, we going to see an extension of a year?

Mike Smithson