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Reconsidering the case for George Osborne as next Tory leader

March 2nd, 2014

You can get a bet on him at 15/1

Until now I’ve always discounted George Osborne as Cameron’s successor. He generally polls badly and has nothing of the charisma or presence of a Boris or a Dave.

Yet the message from the reported flare-up between the Chancellor and the Mayor is that Osborne wants it badly and will use all the weapons at his disposal to achieve his goal.

The Mail on Sunday is making the Boris-George feud its main story this morning. This is how it is reporting it:

“Civil war erupted in the Tory Party last night after Boris Johnson accused George Osborne of lying about urging him to make a Commons comeback.

Supporters of the London Mayor claimed the Chancellor’s camp was engaging in a ‘dirty tricks plot’ to wreck his hopes of becoming Conservative leader – and boost Mr Osborne’s own ambitions for the job.

The simmering ‘Boris versus George’ leadership feud burst into the open over reports that Mr Osborne had ‘delivered personally’ a message to Mr Johnson that David Cameron wants him to stand as a parliamentary candidate at the next Election.”

If this report is correct then Boris himself sees Osborne as a major threat and for that reason alone we should take it seriously.

The Chancellor has built up a powerful team within the party and, as many have observed has made a point of ensuring that CON MPs loyal to him do well in re-shuffles.

He’ll get a lot of personal credit for the recovery and could be in a strong position to run for the job if the Tories lose power next year and Cameron steps aside.

One bookie has him at 15/1 for the leadership. Looks a good bet.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble