Archive for the 'Boris' Category


Why I’m not convinced that Boris will stand for parliament at GE2015

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

His term as Mayor ends in May 2016, then there might be a move

The timing of the London Mayoral terms was always going to be a problem for Boris assuming that he wants to get back to the Commons and, possibly, run for the leadership when a vacancy comes up.

The general election is in May 2015 – the Boris term ends in May 2016.

He could conceivably twin-track – being London Mayor and an MP for a year but that could get very messy and some of the previous statements he’s made on the issue might be difficult to square.

Standing down as mayor a year early is a possibility. This would trigger a by-election to be held amoungst 6 million Londoners. It would cost several million pounds to stage and he’d be accused of wasting public money to futher his own career ambitions.

There would also be the danger in a mayoral by-election of the Tories losing – not something that the blues would like.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Boris must be able to stand for the Tory leadership

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Do the parties need to review their eligibility criteria?


Two things stand out from a quick glance at the odds for the next PM.  The first is that Ed Miliband (8/11, Ladbrokes), is rated about ten times more likely to be next to get the job than anyone else.  That’s not too surprising: he’s secure in his own position, Labour has had a steady lead in the polls for most of the parliament now and a built-in advantage in seat/vote distribution and there’s only 17 months to the election.  In addition, every PM in the last seven decades has come to Number Ten from one of only three positions: Leader of the Opposition, Chancellor, or Foreign Secretary.

That, however, flags up the other point even more: in joint third place, just behind Theresa May (16/1, Ladbrokes), is Boris Johnson at 20/1 with Hills.  Arguably, there’s some sense to the logic: if David Cameron remains prime minister after the election, Boris may be well placed to succeed him in the middle of the next parliament, when Cameron would have been Tory leader for 12 or 13 years.  Even so, it’d be a tight squeeze on the timetable for someone who’s neither an MP nor even a parliamentary candidate now.

That’s even more so in the Next Conservative Leader market.  Here, Boris is joint-favourite with May, both being 5/1.  Yet of the three realistic timetables for a leadership election (before 2015, immediately after the next election, later than 2015), two seem at present closed off to Boris.

Why then is his price so high when other markets suggest that Labour will win; an event which conventional wisdom says would almost certainly lead to Cameron’s resignation, when Boris couldn’t then stand?  There are two related answers to that and both stem from the fact that he would by far be the most obvious next leader were logistics not an issue; a position his speech this week strengthened, if anything.

The first answer is that if he is such an obvious successor, there’d be pressure for an election to be delayed until Boris was in a position to stand.  That, however, would run not only contrary to various individuals’ interests but also that of the Conservative Party, as it would create a vacuum of uncertainty.  The second, is that there has to be a belief that whatever the rules say, a way would be found.

The rules themselves sound simple: “There shall be a Leader of the Party drawn from those elected to parliament.” Straightforward enough?  It’s MPs only.  Not necessarily.  Apart from the loophole that hereditary peers are also elected (after a fashion), if the will was there, it could be interpreted to mean “drawn from those ‘who have at any time’ been elected to parliament”, which Boris has been.

This matters from a betting point of view but it also matters from a political one; parties’ constitutions are behind the times in this new, devolved, UK.  In the past, their current or former front benchers in parliament were pretty much the only group a party would draw a leader from.  Now, it’s entirely plausible to think of a high profile Labour First Minister in Wales or Scotland being considered a future UK party leader, or – as in the current situation – the mayor of London.

The United States regularly promotes governors to the White House.  Similarly, German candidates for Chancellor often spring from regional parliaments.  There’s no reason the UK shouldn’t do likewise.  Indeed, the Conservatives have a precedent of sorts, when Douglas-Home became leader (and hence PM) in 1963, he was obliged to then find a seat in the Commons.

Not changing their rules could leave the Conservatives in an awkward position post-2015.  Labour, without any currently viable extra-parliamentary candidates, has longer to sort things out but would be foolish not to anticipate the possibility.

David Herdson


Is John Rentoul right – Was Boris’ speech a disaster and Theresa May has just come a little closer to being Theresa Will?

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

On Wednesday Boris Johnson delivered the Margaret Thatcher lecture at the Centre for Policy Studies.

You can read the full speech here.

I must declare an interest, speaking as a Tory, I loved the speech, in my opinion, this is the sort of speech more Tories need to make.

Unsurprisingly It has lead to pieces like Boris Johnson’s philosophy isn’t just elitist – it’s sinister and  Boris Johnon is Still a ‘Nasty Piece of Work’? even George Osborne distanced himself from parts of the speech this morning. 

John Rentoul ‘s take on the speech is that 

Boris has blown it (his chances as next Tory Leader)……Anyway, Boris Johnson was well fancied when he stood up on Wednesday to deliver the Margaret Thatcher lecture at the Centre for Policy Studies. Half an hour later, everything had changed. It was a brilliant speech, sharply observed, dealing with big themes; fluent, and very funny. And a complete disaster.

….Now, for the sake of shocking the puritans of the liberal-left, he has identified himself with the right wing of the Tory party and pointlessly abandoned the one thing that could get him the top job: his cross-party appeal.

That said, back in May 2008 Zoe Williams and others in the Guardian wrote about Boris

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Unbelievable as it may seem, Boris Johnson has a real chance of being elected London mayor today. Zoe Williams and other Londoners imagine what it would be like if this bigoted, lying, Old Etonian buffoon got his hands on our diverse and liberal capital.

A few hours later (and again a four years later), Londoners elected Boris

Perhaps Boris is at his best, electorally, when left leaning commentators are hyping him as the great ring wing menace?



As Boris speculation grows the latest bets on whether he’ll make an early return to the Commons

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

With Dave saying he would welcome the return of Boris to the House of Commons, Hills are offering odds of 4/1 that he will become an MP BEFORE the General Election, and 6/4 that he does so AT the General Election.

This is a tricky calculation for the twice-elected London Mayor. The general election is in May 2015 – his term at City Hall runs until May 2016.

Should he seek the nomination for a seat in the knowledge that he’d have to either resign as Mayor or could do two jobs in parallel for a year?

My guess is that he could only do the latter this if the seat he ran for was in London but it would still be a hard sell.

Clearly Boris wants to be there in the commons when Cameron steps down as leader

BORIS JOHNSON – 1/2 NOT to become an MP at next General Election;6/4 to become MP at next General Election;11/4 to stand as MP before or at General Election; 4/1 to become MP before General Election; 3/1 to win 2016 London Mayor Election; 5/1 To be next Tory Leader;6/1 to become Prime Minister in or before 2020.

TO BE THE NEXT PRIME MINISTER…8/13 Ed Miliband; 12 Yvette Cooper; 14/1 Theresa May; 16/1 Chuka Umunna; 20/1 Boris Johnson.

Mike Smithson

For the latest polling and political betting news


Lord Ashcroft’s mega poll suggests that Boris NOT the magic bullet that would win GE2015 for the Tories

Friday, June 28th, 2013

“In his London campaigns Boris undeniably attracted voters who usually support other parties. As our research shows, this would be less likely to work in a general election. Otherwise Labour and Lib Dem supporting voters backed Boris as Mayor on a personal mandate and a personal manifesto; for many, the fact that he was a Tory was incidental. Asking them to vote for a Conservative government, inhabited by the Conservative Party and implementing Conservative policies but with Boris at the helm, would be a rather different proposition. The uncommitted and uninterested, meanwhile, would give him a hearing, but Boris alone would not be a good enough reason for them to vote Tory.” – Lord Ashcroft

I’ve not had chance overnight to go through the 100+ pages of data in the full report but it does appear that the Ashcroft conclusion is correct.

The question is what this set of comprehensive research is going to do to the Mayor’s chances of becoming Cameron’s successor. Overall it is not the boost that many Boris supporters might have been hoping for. In any case I’ve always felt that the Tories are not going to replace one ex-Etonian ex-Bullingdon Club member with another one.

Mike Smithson

For the latest polling and political betting news


Are the voters ready to countenance the idea of PM Boris? We might know more this week

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Is the Mayor the man who polls better than he performs?

In the last year there have been several polls from different pollsters using different methodologies that have sought to test the impact on voting intentions if Boris rather than Dave was CON leader.

The outcomes have generally been the same that the blue team would get a boost with Boris at the helm.

    One thing that worries me about Boris surveys is that he’s such a well known figure that he polls better than he performs in real elections.

    In last year’s London mayoral race, for instance, every single final survey overstated the Boris position, some by huge margins, and understated Ken with the result being much much closer than anybody was predicting.

So I’m hoping that we might get a better sense of what the voters views of the Mayor are in an 8,000 sized sample Michael Ashcroft poll supplemented by focus groups that’s coming out this week. It is called ““Are you serious? Boris, the Tories and the voters”

Like other Ashcroft polling this looks like being comprehensive and influential.

We don’t know what’s in it but from the trails from Lord Ashcroft overnight and the title we can get a sense. I’m hoping we’ll see some good data that goes deeper beyond the “how would you vote if Boris was CON leader” questioning.

Would a CON party led by Boris really provide the voting boost for the blues?

What’s good about the Ashcroft polling approach is that he likes to do more than scratch the surface and he’s ready to fund huge samples and to share his findings whatever they are saying.

Michael Ashcroft sometimes uses his polling to try to impact on the agenda. My sense is that this one will.

Mike Smithson

For the latest polling and political betting news


Boris Johnson for PM polling? He was overstated by all 6 pollsters in final surveys ahead of May 2012 mayoral race

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Remember how Ken ran him so close?

Just before the Easter weekend we reported on a new YouGov poll that had a Boris-led Tory party level pegging with an EdM LAB one when the named leader voting intention question was put.

This caused something of a stir and was in line with similar polling at the time of the Olympics. There’s little doubt that substituting the Boris name for Dave does give a boost to Tory ratings.

What we should also ask is how serious such findings are and a wider one relating to polling about Boris when tested against real results.

    For six pollsters carried out voting surveys ahead of the May 2012 mayoral election and the final survey of every single one of them over-stated Boris’s eventual winning margin.

In the election Boris beat Ken by 3.06% when second preferences were allocated. This compared with (see UKPR here) Opinium +4%, YouGov +6%, TNS-BMRB +6%, ComRes +8%, Survation +10% and Populus +12%.

On the night, as no doubt many will recall, the big surprise was that Ken, with all the issues surrounding his campaign, had run Boris so close.

It appeared that the race had closed in the final days.

The lesson I take from this is to be more wary of named leader polling when it relates to Johnson.

Mike Smithson

For the latest polling and political betting news


YouGov poll has CON and LAB level pegging with Boris as leader

Thursday, March 28th, 2013