Is the main impact just to raise Cameron’s profile?
Following David Cameron’s appearance on Question Time last night and reports that the Mail Group is “seeking to dig up the dirt” on him the big question before the crucial first ballot is who all this is helping and who is being hurt?
Watching the Shadow Education Secretary’s response on Question Time last night and the reaction of the audience I could not help but think that the main impact of all of this is to raise his profile. Those clips with the loud applause will be shown time and time again this morning.
We are told that only weeks ago he had a “name recognition” factor below 10% – well that’s certainly changed and being hounded on the hard drugs issue is giving him a platform to show how he performs when the going gets tough.
Certainly there’s been no rush away from Cameron on the betting markets and he continues to trade at prices that rate his chances of success at nearly 60%.
His full acknowledgement that certainly he did stray in his youth covers him if some story does appear. He’s not going to be caught out telling lies or covering up.
If the issue does develop over the weekend into something that does hurt him which of his rivals will benefit? On the face of it that should be Ken Clarke – the only other candidate who the polls rate highly as a potential election winner. But Clarke has lost so much ground this weeks it’s hard to see even this helping his position.
David Davis remains almost untouched either way unless his camp become associated with spreading the allegations in some way. But what about Liam Fox who has started to see some traction into his campaign? He could be seen as the one candidate who had more chance of stopping Cameron in the membership ballot. That 8/1 price tag might just be worth a small punt.