The Osborne Supremacy might be over but the Osborne Legacy could see the next Tory leader have an Osborne Identity

The Osborne Supremacy might be over but the Osborne Legacy could see the next Tory leader have an Osborne Identity

Whilst Osborne might not be the next Tory leader, he could still influence the result, so here’s an 80/1 tip on next Tory leader.

The Sunday Times story above doesn’t surprise me. Osborne seems more comfortable being the éminence grise to Tory leaders than being leader himself, and lest we forget in 2005, he declined to run for the leadership, backing the more electable candidate (and his friend) he could well do the same again in the next leadership contest.

There is a danger for those in the cabinet, regardless of which side of the EU referendum they are on, they are going to fundamentally damaged by the referendum campaign, because so far it hasn’t been a debate of Socratic wonder, more Project Fear meets Project Whinge with who can come up with the most hyperbolic scare story. So someone who isn’t high profile now, comes to the fore in the leadership election, something the Tories have a history of doing.

I might be very wrong in this assessment, but despite recent events the Tories still retain their blood lust for power, something they lost between September 1992 and 2005, as many Leavers, are still supporters of the Cameroon project. Being a Brexiter doesn’t mean you’re automatically opposed to the Cameroon project, Michael Gove being the perfect example of this. As the recent poll of Tory members shows, when choosing the next Leader, competence and having the best chance of winning the 2020 general election are the top two criteria, being a change of direction from Cameron garners only 3% support.

In the past I thought if Osborne didn’t run for Tory leader, he would support Sajid Javid, but Javid has underwhelmed as Business Secretary, so who would get Osborne and Cameron’s support now?

So I’ve decided to back Matt Hancock as next Tory leader at 80/1 with Corals. He’s Osborne’s former Chief of Staff, and has often been described as Osborne’s protégé. Whilst he did read PPE at Oxford like so many of today’s political class, he’s had a career outside of politics, working for the Bank of England, which might be useful for the Tories if they want to maintain their reputation for economic competence.

As Hancock is largely unknown to the public, he doesn’t have the negative ratings of say Michael Gove, whose ratings are on a par with Jeremy Corbyn, and Gove strikes me as a man aware of his own (electoral) limitations who won’t run for leader if his ratings remain as dire as they currently are. As noted in the past often winning the Tory leadership is about who you aren’t not about who you are which might be an advantage for Hancock.

The one criticism that Osborne detractors cannot level against him is his total loyalty and support to his party leader and his allies, especially when you consider history has shown the creative differences between the occupants of No 10 and No 11, from Thatcher & Lawson to Blair & Brown  can cause huge problems for the Government. This has been as much an Osborne government as it has been a Cameron government.

You can see Osborne being the éminence grise under a Hancock leadership. As David Maxwell Fyfe noted many years ago, loyalty is the Tory party’s secret weapon, and it might just well be Osborne’s secret weapon in winning the next Tory leadership contest for his protégé.


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