Archive for the 'Boris' Category


Lord Ashcroft poll on Boris and Uxbridge

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Lord Ashcroft has polled the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, about Boris, and it generally makes for great reading for the Mayor of London. The phone poll was conducted this week.

It should be noted, the standard VI poll not mentioning Boris, shows a Con to Lab swing of 5.5%, which would indicate an approximate 3% Labour lead nationwide, which is in line with the national polling.

The one downside for Boris is 50% of the voters don’t want him to be concurrently an MP and Mayor.

Lord Ashcroft notes

The results show Boris’s unique ability both to galvanise Tories and appeal to supporters of other parties. Under the standard voting intention question, 72 per cent of those who voted Conservative in 2010 said they would do so again; with Boris named as the candidate this rose to 79 per cent, with the proportion backing UKIP falling from 18 per cent to 13 per cent. The proportion of 2010 Labour voters switching to the Tories nearly trebled from 6 per cent to 16 per cent, and the numbers switching from the Lib Dems almost doubled from 18 per cent to 35 per cent.

If these figures are indicative of the wider public, then expect Boris to feature very heavily in  the Tory general election campaign, if Tory high command can work out to harness the power of the Mayor of London.



Detailed data from the YouGov/ST polls finds that fewer current CON voters would back party if Boris was leader

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

The mayor attracts votes as well as turning some off

Thanks to George Eaton at the New Statesman for picking this up. A Boris-led Tory party could lead to fewer current CON voters backing the party.

Looking at the detail in the table above we see that there’s a 5% drop amongst current CON supporters with the main beneficiary being the Lib Dems. The big figure, of course, is the 20% of UKIP voters who’d move to a Boris-led CON.

The Westminster Hour The Boris polling item that I was due to be part of has been dropped.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


An inconvenient fact for Boris backers is that more people tell pollsters they’ll support him than actually give him their vote

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Why we should be sceptical about all Boris polling

For those like me who love watching political battles the ongoing tussle for the Tory leadership between Boris Johnson and George Osborne will be a pleasure to behold.

Both have their strong points and both, it is said, have set their hearts on being Dave’s successor. If the Tories don’t hold on in government next May then that intriguing confrontation could be only nine months away.

One factor that apparently is a plus for the mayor is that he polls well – certainty he hammers the Chancellor by big margins whenever comparative questions are asked.

    But looking at what happened the last time that Boris polling was tested in a real election, the 2012 mayoral race, the striking fact is that all pollsters overstated him, some, as the chart shows, by considerable margins

I wonder whether there’s a strong celebrity factor here. Boris gets good poll numbers because of his high level of recognition which when last tested are not backed up by real votes being cast.

There’s likely to be a fair bit of “how would CON do with Boris as leader” polling in the run up to the conferences. Treat the results with a pinch of salt.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Boris playing a full part in the CON GE2015 campaign could help win back some of the kipper defectors

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

The big Tory news today has been the announcement by Boris that he’s to seek a constituency to fight at GE2015 so he can return to the commons.

Back in February YouGov carried out some polling on a Boris and found that 20% of the UKIP voters in that survey said they’d vote CON if Boris was leader.

Of course Boris would not be leader at the time of the general election but he would be much more associated with the blue campaign and, no doubt, would be deployed in seats where a heavy CON to UKIP switch could put the Tories in danger.

But YouGov also found a whole series of negatives in relation to the Mayor. 58% said he’s not be serious enough to be trusted with big national decisions while 44% thought that his prime motivation would be his own image and not the party.

Whatever Boris is now back as strong favourite for the leadership.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


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

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