George Osborne’s first PMQs is a reminder of how strong his leadership chances are

George Osborne’s first PMQs is a reminder of how strong his leadership chances are


Knowing the date of the PM’s departure could be the key

It’s a big day for George Osborne. Cameron is away so, as the First Secretary of State in the new Conservative Government, he will be taking PMQs for the very first time – a very clear statement of his position in the pecking order.

Looking back he has a lot in common with James Callaghan in 1976. It was widely agreed that in the LAB contest of that year he had a head start because he knew that Harold Wilson was going to resign and when that was likely to happen. Callaghan was prepared for Wilson’s shock announcement – the others weren’t.

Cameron going during this parliament will be less of a shock but the timing will absolutely crucial to the leadership election that will follow which maybe sooner rather than later.

Maybe a successful outcome to the EU referendum will be a key point. Wilson’s resignation came nine months after the 1975 European referendum.

All the focus in the current next CON leader betting has been on Boris with the Chancellor, George Osborne, some way down in the betting. This is crazy. In all of this Osborne has got one massive ace up his sleeve – his relationship with David Cameron who has given George a huge influence over the way the government operates and, crucially, which Tory MPs gets preferment.

Even more important in the view of insiders I’ve spoken to is that George is much more likely to have knowledge of and quite a lot of influence control over the timing of Dave’s exit.

    I was told last week that Cameron will go at a point which will most help Osborne’s chances.

Osborne is the political strategist behind the Cameron leadership and much of the credit for last month’s victory can go to him.

To my mind George should be favourite to succeed. I’ve been building up a position at odds of 5/1 and longer.

Mike Smithson

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