Archive for the 'Theresa May' Category


The Daily Mail’s change of tone Brexit should help Mrs May sell her Brexit deal

Friday, September 14th, 2018

Welcome to this Bizarro world where in the eyes of the Daily Mail traitors are the hard Brexiteers.

The tweets atop this thread show some excerpts from various editions of the Daily Mail this week we can see the impact of Geordie Greig taking over the editor’s chair last week, it appears the Mail’s tone on Brexit has changed.

The Guardian observes

The initial editions of the Mail under Greig appear to suggest a more nuanced editorial line, where a soft Brexit is a price worth paying to keep Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, out of No 10. The shift is in line with what Daily Mail insiders told the Guardian last week.

So if one of the staunchest supporters of Brexit is softening their support that should help Theresa May sell to the country a Brexit deal that isn’t quite as Brexity as the ERG would wish. I suspect out the Sun and Telegraph only the Telegraph wouldn’t support a pragmatic Brexit. I’m not sure how the Daily Express now see themselves now they are aligned with the Mirror Group.

What a world we live in that the Daily Mail might be the best hope of a soft Brexit/BINO.



After delivering Brexit TMay’s follow-on objective will be blocking Boris4PM

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

The Cape Town message is that she’s not going of her own accord

With Mr Corbyn apparently totally secure as Labour leader for as long as he wants the main UK political betting activity, as we get ready for the conference season, is focused on the Tories particularly on Mrs May’s survival.

There was a widespread view following the last general election 15 months ago that she will be “allowed” to stay in the post until Brexit has been achieved and then she will be going. Based on what she has said in Cape Town that does not fit with her own view of her personal situation. This is from the Guardian report link to in the Tweet above:

When asked specifically if she would contest a leadership challenge from Johnson, the former foreign secretary, May said she hoped to fight on as prime minister: “I am in this for the long term. I am in this for delivering for the British people, and that’s what I’m focused on.”

Under current CON leadership rules there can be no “challenge from Boris” only an MP no confidence move to force her out. This is not like it was in Mrs Thatcher’s final days.

Katy Balls in her latest email from the Spectator, the magazine that Johnson used to edit, has this interpretation:

“..A number of May’s inner circle privately concede that her departure is not a matter of if but when. Although most Tory MPs still think that she should steer the party through the final stages of Brexit — if only to ensure Britain does actually leave — there is a growing consensus that her job will then be done. ‘It’s very difficult to justify her existence past March,’ explains a normally loyal MP. Ministers who still stand behind her do so on a number of caveats. ‘If she doesn’t give a resignation timetable after Brexit, there will be moves against her,’ explains one cabinet minister.

Given that there isn’t much of a happy precedent when it comes to prime ministers pre-emptively announcing their exit, perhaps insisting one is in it for ‘the long term’ is the least worst option.”

I’m not convinced because I don’t believe there’s the stomach within the Parliamentary party to oust her. And like Gordon Brown in the years ahead of GE2010 the longer she survives the closer it gets to the next general election and the less the case for a potentially divisive leadership contest.

What really underpins her position is the suggestion that she would be succeeded by the former Mayor of London and ex-Foreign Secretary, Mr Johnson, who is, according to the latest ConHome membership surveys, the top preference for next leader. His challenge is that he’s not popular with fellow party MPs whose votes would be required first to oust her and then to make the top two in the CON MP election to choose the final two to go to the membership.

Betfair has it as a 48% chance that she’ll be out next year. I’m far from convinced.

Mike Smithson


2019 now rated as a 44% chance as the year that TMay ceases to be PM

Monday, August 27th, 2018

Could she go all the way to 2022?

This is one of those betting markets that we return to time and time again. Because clearly there cannot be a leadership contest without a vacancy and at the moment Theresa May is sticking in there and looks reasonably certain to remain until Brexit.

I find it somewhat amusing when I get correspondence from bookmakers and Boris backer, Arron Banks, alerting me to a leadership fight within the next 3 months. Theresa May is not going to go of her own accord. She has a sense of duty to see Brexit through and that means no movement before March 29th next year.

While Mr Johnson is seen as the likely successor, at least by the betting markets, then not enough Tory MPs are going to support a move that would oust Mrs May. Stick with Nurse. She’s safe because the alternative is seen as far far worse. But will that pertain beyond March 29th?

I just wonder what is going to happen next year, So many Conservative MPs have said that there’s no chance that she will be allowed to lead the party into another general election campaign given how poorly she performed in the last one. But are they going to oust her and risk someone like publicity-seeking ex-mayor who is loathed by many of his colleagues?

This all reminds me of the 2007-2010 period when all sorts of plans to oust Gordon Brown were reported and none of them came to fruition.

She could even outlast Mr. Corbyn.

Mike Smithson


ICM poll: Tories would be worse off if either BoJo or Moggsy succeeds TMay

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

And the Washington Post describes TMay as “A Great PM”

Those of us who were around following the polls in 2007 remember how the succession of Gordon Brown as Labour leader was going to undermine the red team. Poll after poll found LAB’s position deteriorating when Brown name was mentioned and I certainly took that on board.

As it turned out the new Labour leader gave the party a huge boost in his first three months as leader. Browns personal leadership ratings soared while Cameron’s dropped to the lowest point ever. LAB looked to be in a very strong position and all the talk was of an early General Election.

It all fell flat for Brown after his dithering over whether to call an October 2007 General Election or not. He never went on to match the numbers he had seen during his political honeymoon.

All of his has made me some what sceptical about poll findings like the one featured in the Guardian article.

Generally whoever succeeds as prime minister gets a big boost because all the attention is on them and, of course, they aren’t their predecessor. Brown in June-October 2007 had the benefit of not being Tony Blair while TMay two years moved up because she wasn’t Cameron.

Meanwhile there’s a remarkable upbeat feature on TMay in the Washington Post.

Mike Smithson


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