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Why I’ve backed Philip Hammond as next Prime Minister at 33/1 (and Sajid Javid at 50/1)

September 9th, 2014

What if the referendum outcome triggered Cameron’s departure?

A few months ago, there was speculation that if Scotland votes Yes, then David Cameron would resign as Prime Minister, that speculation has amped up in recent days.

The Sunday Times reported “several Conservative MPs are prepared to go public and demand David Cameron quit and two Tory ministers have warned colleagues that they would also feel compelled to resign if there was a “yes” vote.”

Whilst I still have my doubts that David Cameron would resign, for a variety of reasons, but this morning’s Telegraph chimed in, and that it may not be his decision whether he continues.

David Cameron is “in a right hole” and in “serious trouble” with his party for risking the future of the Union by agreeing to a referendum on Scottish independence, senior Tory MPs are saying.

The news came as it emerged that some MPs are canvassing support for Mr Cameron within the party to see whether they would call for the Prime Minister’s resignation in the wake of a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum on September 18….

….Mr Cameron may face an immediate vote of no confidence and a leadership challenge in the event of a Yes vote. 

This morning’s YouGov shows an increasing number of voters are saying Cameron should resign in the event of Scotland voting Yes.

So who would succeed Dave in this scenario? I’ve ruled out Boris, because he’s not an MP, William Hague as he soon won’t be an MP and George Osborne, because if Cameron goes, the whole Osborne/Cameron brand is damaged.

You could argue, that in past Tory leadership elections, the winner won, because they weren’t their opponent, in 1990 John Major won because he wasn’t Michael Heseltine, in 1997 and 2001 William Hague and IDS won because they weren’t Kenneth Clarke.

Something similar could happen, this time around, there are significant Tories (MPs and members) who have not, and will not forgive Theresa May for her nasty party speech, which will boost her opponents, so not being Theresa May could be an advantage.

I have previously backed Theresa May at longer odds than the 16/1 is available now.

Philip Hammond is the man to back, given the rise of UKIP, Tories will conclude the best man to appeal to the Kippers is Hammond, a few weeks ago he reaffirmed that he would vote to leave the EU, it could also enhance the chances of an electoral pact between the Tories and UKIP, which could have major ramifications for the next election on top of Scotland seceding.

The complicating factor is the length of Tory leadership elections, it can take up to three months from start to finish, to put it bluntly, the Tories can’t afford to conduct a drawn out leadership contest, especially this close to an election, and if the forecast economic problems of Scotland seceding take place.

So this will increase the chances of the next Tory leader receiving a coronation like Michael Howard did in 2003, again this would favour Philip Hammond over Theresa May for the reasons above, Michael Howard became Tory leader within a fortnight of a vote of no confidence being triggered in IDS.

I’ve also had a punt on Sajid Javid at 50/1, someone who also the Telegraph are tipping as a replacement for David Cameron. Not only has he impressed as a minister, I think the optics of him being Leader will persuade enough Tories to back him. The Tories, rightly or wrongly, are perceived as being posh, out of touch. What better way to get negate that perception by electing as leader, a working class boy from an ethnic minority.

The son of an immigrant bus driver would take on the Oxbridge educated Clegg and Miliband at the next election, as with John Major, the Tories aren’t afraid to play the class card when it suits them.

The prices on next Prime Minister are available here.

If you think Cameron will resign as Prime Minister this year, but aren’t sure who his replacement will be, you may wish to take the 8/1 to leave the post of the PM in 2014 (it was 16/1 as late as last night)

TSE