Jeremy Hunt – 4th favourite to succeed TMay – being investigated by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

April 18th, 2018

All we have at the moment is the Laura Kuenssberg tweet above but this does sound possibly serious for the Health Secretary.

The main betting markets that could be affected are the next CON leader one, shown above, and of course the next cabinet minister out. I find it hard to assess the seriousness.

Hunt has been one of the very steadiest forces within the Conservatives party in government over a period of 8 years and is one of a very select group who have held cabinet minister positions right from the start of David Cameron’s Premiership in 2010. He’s certainly steadied things at Health which is always a tricky portfolio in a Conservative government.

I’ve long thought he could make it to the top. He was a Remainer at the referendum but has since developed his views.

Mike Smithson


If TMay and Corbyn are still there at the next election then Windrush & antisemitism could still be dogging them

April 18th, 2018

These are leadership more than party issues

What a dramatic few days for both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. Two huge issues continue to dominate the news which are big negatives for each of them respectively.

The Windrush affair, which is being juxtaposed with the meeting of Commonwealth leaders, is a reminder of how Theresa May handled things when she was in the Home Office from 2010 to 2016. It was under her watch that the law was changed making life a lot harder for those who been in the UK for decades who have to prove their right to be in the country.

We have heard tear jerking stories from one elderly immigrant after another and no doubt there are others in the pipeline. All is made much harder for them because the onus is now on them individually to prove their status which in many cases is simply not there.

The anti-semitism issue within Labour stepped up a notch last night with the debate on the issue, which had been tabled opportunistically by the Tories in the Commons. Again we heard tear jerking stories from several Jewish Labour MPs which were more powerful because on the face of it Mr Corbyn appears to have done very little to change the environment in the party.

Whatever Corbyn needs to find some way to assuage some of the fears of the Jewish community and from what we’ve seen since he became leader he appears to lack the ability or inclination to do that.

Both of these issues are about race and both highlight, I suggest, blind spots in Mrs. May and Mr. Corbyn.

Let’s see how PMQs goes today.

Mike Smithson


Corbyn accused of being a coward for leaving the chamber at the start of the antisemitism debate

April 17th, 2018


If there’s a high turnout of Jewish voters in this key ward then LAB’s main London hope could be thwarted

April 17th, 2018

Sean Fear rates a Barnet CON hold a 50-50 chance

I’ve just had a bet at 23/10 with Ladbrokes that the Conservatives will hold on to Barnet in the local elections on May 3rd. My reason is an assessment by long standing PB contributor, Sean Fear, that this is a 50-50 chance and in such cases the betting option that’s longer than evens is the value bet.

Sean has long experience of London elections and I for one take notice of it.

This is Sean’s reasoning:

The crucial Barnet wards are:-

Brunswick Park. This went Labour 42.6%, Conservative 41.2% Green 11.2%, Lib Dem 4.9% in 2014. Labour won 2 seats to 1 Conservative. It’s on the edge of East Barnet and Southgate. It’s only 5% Jewish, Labour are doing increasingly well in Chipping Barnet, and I think they’ll win the third seat.

Hale. Conservative 43.1%, Labour 40%, Green 10.9%, Lib Dem 6%. 2 Conservative to 1 Labour. This is basically, the parts of Edgware and Mill Hill that don’t fall into Edgware and Mill Hill wards. Although it’s mixed, it’s mostly prosperous. It’s 19% Jewish, and comes into Hendon constituency where the Conservatives have done very well since 2014. I think the Conservatives will win the third seat.

Assuming these two wards are as I predict, this puts the Conservatives and Labour on 30 seats each.

Childs Hill. Conservative 32.1%, Labour 29.8%, Lib Dem 27.5%, Green 10.5%. 2 Conservative to 1 Lib Dem (Cllr. Jack Cohen polled far better than the other two Lib Dems). This lies between Golders Green and Hampstead. It was safe Lib Dem for years, but the Conservatives unexpectedly gained 2 seats in 2014. It’s 17% Jewish, and could produce any result. I think the result of the borough election hinges on Childs Hill. If the Conservatives retain 2 seats, they’ll have 32 out of 63. But, each of the parties could win all three, or it could be split in any direction.

Unfortunately Ladbrokes have now tightened the price to 2/1.

Mike Smithson


The commentators blaming TMay for the Windrush affair are right – she not ARudd but should be carrying the can

April 17th, 2018

This could be very dangerous for the woman who lost the Tories their majority last June

As those who watch politics closely will know who it is very common for ministers to blame the previous administration when things go wrong on their patch.

There’s a problem though, as the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, found yesterday when under pressure in the Commons, if the person she wanted to blame was her boss the Prime Minister.

We had this ridiculous situation where the Home Secretary was telling MPs that the problem was caused by the Home Office. That, surely, was Mrs Rudd’s way of getting over the fact that this wasn’t her fault but her predecessor.

A huge problem for the Government and particularly the PM is that the public is very much on the side of the immigrants. YouGov yesterday found 78% saying they should be allowed to stay against 9% that they shouldn’t.

All this comes at a time when the Tories have Mr Corbyn over a barrel following his response to Salisbury and Syria. He is very much on the wrong side of public opinion.

    My sense is that Mrs. May is pushing her luck at the moment: agreeing to the Syria attacks without recalling parliament, her handling of immigration while Home Secretary and of course the divides within her party over Brexit. Her Salisbury boost in the polls has fizzled out.

Remember it only requires 48 CON MPs to send letter to Graham Brady for her to face a confidence vote. On Betfair it 3/1 that she won’t surive 2018.

Mike Smithson


MEMO to Mr Corbyn: Most GE2017 LAB voters think the Russian Government is a force for evil in the world

April 16th, 2018

Like Brexit another area where Team Corbyn appears out of line with GE17 LAB voters?

We have seen since the general election that there is an increasing divide between the views of team Corbyn and those who voted for the party at the last general election on Brexit. Overwhelmingly LAB GE2017 voters believe that the decision to leave the EU was wrong which appears out of line with the policies being pursued by the opposition front bench under Mr Corbyn.

With the Salisbury attacks and now the growing crisis in Syria over chemical weapons the public’s view of the Russian government is being looked at by pollsters. The latest findings from ComRes are in the chart above and show that the overwhelming majority of Labour voters at the last election are hostile to Mr Putin’s government.

Based on his actions I would suggest that this sets the Labour leader someone at odds with those who voted for the party on June 8th last year – a situation combined with Brexit that surely cannot continue.

Watching today’s statement in The Commons by Mrs May and the response from Mr Corbyn and labour MPs it is clear that the divide within the party is there in Westminster as well.

Mike Smithson


The betting edges a notch away from Trump completing his first term

April 16th, 2018

With Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen due to appear in court at 1900 BST in New York there’s been some movement on the “Will Trump complete a full first term” betting on Betfair.

The whole atmosphere has changed since the surprise raid on Cohen’s offices last week and there’s a lot of speculation about what might have been found.

It is reported that Stormy Daniels will be at the hearing. It is also being said that the President is much more concerned about these developments than with the Russia probe.

Although this is a popular betting market it is not one that I have been tempted to enter so far. Trump appears totally determined to remain in post and that stubbornness, surely, will mean that he’ll have to be forced out if he’s to go early.

Mike Smithson


TMay’s decision to back the Syria raid without Commons approval was in the face of public opinion

April 16th, 2018

Will there be a price to be paid?

Survation in the Mail on Sunday is the only polling that we’ve seen which took place after the British raid on chemical facilities in Syria and the key findings are above.

This happened, of course, without any parliamentary vote the decision being made by the prime minister using the powers in the Royal Prerogative.

On the face of it it was a very brave decision by Mrs May to join the action with the United States and France without recalling Parliament and securing the backing of MPs.

It will be recalled that four and a half years ago there was a vote in the Commons on a similar issue which went against any action. Unlike May over the weekend Cameron was not ready to act without a parliamentary vote.

Ever since the Iraq war in 2003 the British Public appears to be very nervous about foreign interventions and given that we know how that turned out this is probably understandable.

    What is intriguing about the current situation is that it highlights the leading characteristics of both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition.

The former is ready to do what she perceives to be right and is ready to face any consequences.

Mr Corbyn, on the other hand, is a long standing opponent of all foreign interventions and this puts the spotlight on his reaction. Is it tenable for the main alternative to the current prime minister to hold such views and doesn’t it expose him to attack?

Parliament returns today after the Easter break and we all get a greater sense of the political impact.

Mike Smithson