A referendum BREXIT vote would surely be the end of Cameron
There’s is a widespread view that if the EU referendum goes against Cameron then his position will no longer be tenable. If that happens then we could only be months away from the first Conservative leadership contest since 2005 in which the party would not just be choosing a new leader but the next prime minister.
With the plan apparently for the referendum this year and the tightness of the online referendum polls if not the phone ones then there must be a chance that the country will vote for BREXIT during 2016. On Betfair this is currently rated as a 32.7% chance.
Assuming that Cameron goes into the campaign with a package that he’s recommending then his position will look very precarious if the country votes for LEAVE. Alex Salmond, after all, stood down as SNP leader immediately after the IndyRef defeat in September 2014 and Cameron would surely do the same.
In this context it is perhaps worth reminding ourselves how CON leadership contests operate. Essentially the decision is made in a postal ballot of party members from a short list of two that is determined by the Parliamentary party. The latter holds a series of ballots a process that in the past has thrown up big surprises.
Back after the party’s 2001 general election defeat the hot favourite was Michael Portillo who by a whisker missed the final cut. The two that went to the membership were Iain Duncan Smith and Ken Clarke with the former securing an easy victory.
Given that this is how it works it is surprising how little polling interest there’s been. The only tests of the opinion of party members are the monthly surveys carried out by ConservativeHome the latest of which is featured above.
In the following post to be published this afternoon Tissue Price looks at the betting and gives his thoughts.