Archive for the 'Theresa May' Category


The end of an era. Sir Paul Dacre is said to have edited his last Daily Mail

Monday, August 13th, 2018

We can expect fewer powerful pro-Brexit front pages like these?

The biggest political development over the weekend, I’d suggest, was the report in the Observer about the replacement of Paul Dacre as Daily Mail editor with the Geordie Gregg, of the Mail on Sunday, who has taken a totally different view of the referendum outcome.

Gregg will start in September a couple of months earlier than planned and it is hard to see, given his views, him carrying on with Dacre’s strident approach epitomised in a whole series of striking front pages. UK Press Gazette is reporting that “Dacre is understood to have edited his last Daily Mail

The Mail is enormously powerful both because it has the second largest UK circulation and by some margin the busiest online presence. There’s little doubt that it has a big influence on public opinion. The Observer report noted:

“The incoming editor of the Daily Mail has indicated that he will only gradually tone down the strident pro-Brexit agenda espoused by his predecessor when he takes the helm at the powerful rightwing tabloid at the beginning of next month.

Geordie Gregg has told staff not to expect an immediate change in political coverage when he takes the reins from Dacre who spent 26 years in charge, for fear of alienating readers and because the wider political situation is so uncertain. Instead the focus will be on ensuring that the country achieves the least damaging form of Brexit and developing a more nuanced editorial line by next spring, a shift in emphasis that will be welcomed in Downing Street, where Theresa May is battling to control a revolt from the right of her party.

The planned Greig approach of achieving the least damaging form of Brexit appears to chime with that which is being followed by TMay.

The changeover could also impact on whether there’s a CON leadership challenge and the position of the Etonian hard line Brexiter duo of Moggsy and BoJo. It is hard to see them getting the backing from Greig that you’d expect Dacre to have given?

This, of course, comes at a key time in the Brexit negotiations and in the run-up to the party conferences.

Mike Smithson


This poll just about sums Brexit up – 60% don’t care what happens over Brexit they just want it to be over

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

This is good news for TMay

I’m starting to like some of the original output from DeltaPoll – the new pollster established a few months ago with Martin Boon, ex-ICM and Jo Twyman ex-YouGov at the helm.

In this question which came out during the week I think they’ve touched the mood of the nation. This seems to have gone on for so long and people are just bored.

Notice in the splits that Remainers are less likely to take this view but then that is understandable.

It is against this background, I’d suggest, that TMay’s Chequers strategy might eventually resonate. Her plan is essentially BINO, Brexit in Name Only, and is designed to honour the referendum result while causing as little damage as possible to the economy.

A lot now could depend on Labour and how influential Corbyn remains within the party. His strong pro-Brexit stance is very much out of line with his party supporters but he has held to it until now. The party conference, however, could be interesting with a big move going on to get backing for another referendum.

The antisemitism row has clearly weakened him and whether he can continue to stick with his policy on that and hold firm on his Brexit approach is very much a moot point.

Mike Smithson


The prospect of Johnson as leader should make Theresa’s position a bit more secure

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

How many are going to no confidence her if he’s alternative?

Much has been written about the incredible resilience of Theresa May who has managed to hang on to her job now for well over a year after losing the party it’s majority in the June 2017 general election.

She became a contender in the post referendum Conservative leadership race in July 2016 with her backers arguing that she was the one for the party to get behind in order to stop Johnson.

It was a powerful appeal as we saw with Johnson himself bottling out of the fight on that extraordinary Thursday morning in early July two years ago when he realised his MP support base was nothing like as wide as he thought.

One of the ex-Mayor’s problems has always been his relations with many fellow Conservative MPs. Few appear ready to back him and speak up when required. Also the cack-handed way he dealt with Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom during the last contest caused both to enter the race.

At the moment the one CON MP who seems most ready be interviewed and publicly support him is Nadine Dorries – her of “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” fame. She used to attack Cameron and Osborne for being “posh boys” something she hasn’t raised in relation Johnson in spite of his similar educational background.

The experience of the Conservative leader no confidence procedure is that it has only ever been used once and then there was a degree of unanimity about who should be the successor. That was in 2003 when Iain Duncan Smith was voted out and Michael Howard took over the leadership without there being a members’ ballot.

If when parliament returns 48 CON MPs are bold enough to send letters demanding a confidence vote then you can see ahead of the MP ballot Team Theresa twisting a few arms with the message – “do you really want Boris as PM?” If all MPs voted 155 would have to back a confidence move and Johnson does not have that much support.

The betting has moved away from TMay going this year and if she makes it till 2019 she’s surely going to continue to Brexit and beyond.

Mike Smithson


If the senior Tory quoted here is right TMay will be out this autumn

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

On Betfair it’s a 38% chance that she’ll be out this year

I’ll believe it when I see it. Tory MPs, surely, will only back a confidence move if they are confident their choice will succeed.

Mike Smithson


TMay has taken a hammering in YouGov’s “best PM” tracker but Corbyn has dropped by nearly as much

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

The Tory Brexit split and LAB antisemitism one are taking their toll

Above is a YouGov table showing all the published “Best PM” ratings since the start of the year.

As can be seen both main party leaders have taken a tumble and the gap between them is almost what it was. The timing is interesting. The TMay drop has happened in the post-Chequers environment and was largely in July. Corbyn’s decline has more gradual.

The big message from where we are is “not sure” is growing almost by the poll.

In the first published poll after last year’s General Election both May and Corbyn were on 39% each.

Mike Smithson


YouGov finds TMay rated about the same as Major, ahead of Blair and Brown but behind Cameron

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Above is from some new polling just issued by YouGov in which those surveyed were asked to rate TMay against the three preceding PMs.

The Blair figures shows, I’d suggest, the continuing legacy of the Iraq war. It is perhaps worth noting that he is the only one being compared who led his party to sustainable Commons majorities. In electoral terms he is also the most successful leader in his party’s history and there are no matches in modern time for his three successive general election victories.

Cameron’s legacy will forever be calling the Brexit referendum and it is perhaps surprising that he is as being ahead of May.

The John Major figure is interesting given how he was eventually forced out of office in the biggest defeat of modern times at GE1997.

Mike Smithson


Amazingly TMay makes it to the long summer recess and she’s still there

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

The confidence motion threat was all piss and wind from the Brexiteers

Today has been a very important milestone because Parliament has risen for the summer recess and Mrs May is still Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party.

Giving the a long time table of a Conservative leadership election it is hard to see how Mrs May can be ousted and for a successor to be in place in 2018. The chances are now that her exit date will be 2019 or later.

As we all know she has been treading on very thin ice since June the 9th last year when her election gamble went badly wrong and the Tories lost their majority. But in spite of the precariousness of her position she’s clung on because there is no obvious alternative and it is she who is leading the effort on the terms for Britain’s departure from the EU.

It has been a pretty turbulent year parliamentary year with quite a few cabinet exits, her excruciatingly awful conference speech last October and the hardline Brexiteers still biting at her heels. But she is still there.

The chart above shows the changes in the Theresa May exit year market on Betfair in recent weeks you can see by the movement that this has been pretty active. I’m just wondering whether laying (that’s betting against) 2018 at the current odds might still be value.

Mike Smithson


Another day goes by and still 48 CON MPs have not sent letters demanding a TMay confidence ballot

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

If its like the IDS ousting the first signs will be on Betfair

Since the Conservative Party introduced its new leadership roles while William Hague was in charge the procedure for getting rid of the incumbent has only been used once. That was, of course, the ousting of Iain Duncan Smith in October 2003.

What was intriguing about that dismissal was that the events behind closed doors in Westminster were largely being reflected on Betfair. Like now there were two markets – whether he would survive and then, of course, in the betting on who would succeed.

Even before we heard the news that thought that the requisite number of MPs had requested a confidence vote there were signs of Betfair that something was afoot. The odds on Smith not being there by the end of the year started to tighten.

While the confidence ballot was taking place there were two developments: firstly in the Smith survival market and at the same time there was a rush of money going on Michael Howard. The latter, of course, secured the top job without having to be troubled by facing a members ballot.

Given the problems that Theresa May is facing following last night’s Commons vote you would have thought that there’s a possibility she would be in trouble. Not so. She remains on a 38% chance to go this year or a 62% chance that she will survive.

The difference between now and 2003 is twofold: firstly the Tories are in power and we’re talking about a new prime minister and, of course, there is no agreement about who should be her successor.

It is that latter factor that I believe has prevented a move taking place against her. There’s no point in moving into the unknown unless you’ve got a pretty clear idea who you think will be the one to win the ensuing contest.

Mike Smithson