Robert Peston suggesting that the battle between Hunt and Johnson much tighter than anybody thought

July 3rd, 2019

Johnson supporter: “Right now I would say it is only 60:40 Boris wins”

With voting now taking place amongst CON members ITV’s Politcal Editor, Robert Peston writes on the Coffee House blog

According to one of Johnson’s more senior and respected supporters, the questions raised about whether he treats women with proper respect and has the powers of concentration and grasp of important detail necessary for any PM have been gnawing at the consciences of more Tory members than is evident from the adoration of him they manifest at hustings.

‘Right now I would say it is only 60:40 Boris wins’ says one veteran.

So there is more of a game on than would have been anticipated when Johnson won the backing of more than half of Tory MPs and Hunt fewer than a quarter.”

Clearly this is just based on one person’s impression and we need to see new member polling to get a handle on whether this is on the right lines. Numbers from a CONHome survey put the split at 66% to 30% which is some way off what Peston’s source is telling him.

As well as Brexit the big issue on the minds of members surely is whether their choice would help the party to do best in a general election. At the end of last week YouGov found thst Hunt was rated ahead of Johnson as “Best PM” although CON supporters have the edge to Johnson. But in a general election the blue team need converts.

There’s little doubt that Hunt has far exceeded expectations in the campaign and he seems totally focused on getting the top job. He appears to believe he can snatch a victory.

In the betting Johnson remains the 87% chance favourite to win the leadership and an 84% chance of succeeding TMay as next PM.

Mike Smithson