Archive for the 'Tories' Category


David Davis still firm favourite to succeed TMay while Johnson slips to 5th

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

The latest CON leadership betting

David Davis 18%

Phillip Hammond 9%

Jacob Rees-Mogg 9%

Amber Rudd 9%

Boris Johnson 8%

Ruth Davidson 5%

Damian Green 4%

This is based on last trades on Betfair.

What will ignite this market is any suggestion in the run-up or at conference in the first week of October that a challenge could be mounted to TMay.

Mike Smithson


Ruth Davidson’s Scottish successes saved TMay’s bacon on June 8th but that comes at a price

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

The mathematics of the Tory power struggle

The chart is very simple but illustrates clearly why Scottish Conservative leader feels able to to put pressure on TMay over the PM’s hardline immigration rhetoric.

Davidson is making a pro-immigration argument that’s rarely heard from a Conservative. She says ‘with the country on the road to full employment, potential for growth is facing ever greater limitations’ without the boost from immigrants.

The Scottish Conservative leader attacks May for her “easy slogans” on getting numbers below 100k and comes at a crucial time in the Brexit negotiations.

In many ways Davidson’s approach is at loggerheads with the TMay interpretation of the referendum result making control of migrants a main priority.

    Davidson’s pressure and influence is part of the price the PM will have to pay for their very different performances on June 8th. Theresa May’s gamble ended in failure the scale of which was mitigated by Davidson’s success in Scotland.

On specifics Davidson wants May to drop her longstanding insistence that overseas students be included on immigration something that’s been widely criticised by universities because it undermines their income base and their efforts to attract the most able students.

A Spectator email has noted that Davidson’s move seems to “echo that of the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who has also previously cast doubt over the government’s goal of reducing net migration to below the 100,000 target”.

Could this be part of what Rudd and Davidson discussed during their private meeting in Glasgow last week?

Mike Smithson


The Tories needs to resolve divisions soon because divided parties struggle at election time

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

One of the things that we know from previous elections is that parties that are seen to be divided can get punished by the voters. That was John Major’s fate at GE1997 after five difficult years of one split after another.

The current situation, as seen in the recent YouGov polling illustrated in the chart and touched on in this week’s podcast, looks challenging and could be hugely problematical if there is the need for an early election. This, of course, is something that’s made more likely with the current Commons arithmetic. That just 8% of the sample and only 15% of CON voters felt able to describe the the party as “united” is extraordinary.

What’s really striking about the poll is that when this was asked two weeks before GE17 43% said the thought to Tories were united with just 29% against. That’s a whopping turnaround.

Public splits are going to be magnified simply because of the threat to the government’s position.

Labour, as we’ve seen in the reaction within the movement to Corbyn’s weekend comments on BREXIT on the Marr show, is nearly as bad but interestingly there’s been a huge effort in the past few days to create a semblance of a unified position. I put that down to the Corbyn’s comment being poorly prepared for the Marr interview.

There’s a great article by Marie Le Conte on Vice news about the current state of thinking within the blue team and how a before the recess senior Tory figures were briefing against TMay only a few yards away from where the PM was standing at some events. It is here under the provocative heading “An Insider’s Guide to Tory In-Fighting”.

My view is that the Tory splits will continue as long as the leadership position remains uncertain.

Mike Smithson


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


Remember when David Davis quit to fight a by-election the purpose of which was soon forgotten

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

His weird 2008 move will raise questions about his judgement

If failed 2005 leadership candidate and current Brexit secretary, David Davis, does find himself campaigning to be TMay’s successor then every bit of his political career will be scrutinised for pointers to whether he’s up to the job or not.

One weird bit of his political CV that has been long forgotten but surely will be focused upon was his resignation as an MP for the Yorkshire seat of Haltemprice and Howden in 2008 to fight a by-election on the issue of freedom. His announcement of the move is featured in the Sky News clip above.

The problem was that it was quite hard to work out what he was trying to achieve and why resigning as an MP and re-fighting the seat was the best way of doing it. His effort to make it a protest against the then LAB government’s detention without trial period was effectively thwarted by Gordon Brown’s party not putting up a candidate against him. The LDs also stood aside.

As the campaign developed Davis added reason after reason for his move which were all packaged under a campaign titled “David Davis for Freedom” whatever that meant. This was the logo.

He also set up YouTube Channel which which barely attracted any interest with the total number of subscribers failing to reach triple figures.

He had, following the resignation as an MP, to resign from the shadow cabinet where he’d been shadow Home Secretary.

The CON leader David Cameron came to campaign with Davis for just one day. The whole exercise appeared an embarrassment for the party which had just chalked up a spectacular gain from LAB in the Crewe & Nantwich by-election. Davis was never to make a return to the top team until TMay’s arrival a year ago.

He won of course with 71.6% of the vote with turnout down to just 34%.

The problem was that the issue failed to resonate and looking back it is hard to disagree with those that at the time described it as attention seeking.

Davis is currently 7/2 favourite to succeed TMay.

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



Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

For the second year running Andrea Leadsom is ensuring Theresa May is Prime Minister.

Last night I observed the unofficial Tory leadership contest is increasing in its tempo and activity, today The Financial Times have more information on it.

Some speculate Mr Davis might be given a “coronation” as the leadership candidate best placed to deliver Brexit, but few Tory MPs believe that a transfer of power would be anything other than brutal and protracted. “There won’t be a coronation while Andrea Leadsom is alive,” sighs one Conservative MP, referring to the ambitious leader of the Commons who made a shortlived bid for the Conservative leadership against Mrs May last year.

Meanwhile, Tory MPs recount how other potential contenders are suddenly clearing their diaries to spend more time with colleagues. “[Chancellor] Philip Hammond had drinks the other night in his office,” says one Tory MP. “It’s not like him.”

Some MPs argue Mr Hammond might act as a stopgap leader — perhaps serving for two years to deliver Brexit before standing aside — but the idea of the Conservatives fielding three prime ministers in a single parliament is seen as bizarre by many. “What would be the point of Philip Hammond?” says one Tory MP. “It’s like deciding you want to change your Volvo and you come back from the garage with…another Volvo.”

So last year Andrea Leadsom effectively made Theresa May Prime Minister and one year on she’s still ensuring Theresa May continues to be Prime Minister because Mrs Leadsom still harbours ambitions to be Prime Minister and won’t allow a coronation. This also does tend to give credence to the reports that after the general election Mrs Leadsom wanted Mrs May to appoint her as Home Secretary or Foreign Secretary.



The unofficial Tory leadership contest is getting vicious with all sorts of briefings and smears flying about

Friday, July 14th, 2017

It might be time for the Tories to ditch leadership contests and bring back the magic circle.

Rather than focusing on Brexit and other matters of state the Tories are trying to nobble their rivals for the Tory crown, my hunch is that is going to get even uglier and nastier, this is not for the faint of heart.