The ex-mayor drops to 2nd place in the next CON leader betting pic.twitter.com/lqlEughpw3
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) June 28, 2016
I must say that I am a fan of the Conservative party leadership selection process. It has been designed to give a proper role to Tory MPs while leaving the final choice to the postal ballot of party members. It is the system that saw IDS win in 2001 and, of course, Mr. Cameron in December 2005. It would not have allowed a hapless no-hoper like Labour’s Corbyn who only got into the members’ ballot because because some non-supporters decided to nominate him.
At the moment we are in the nomination stage. These open today and close on Thursday. The list will be announced on Thursday with the secret ballot of MPs taking place a week today. Bottom in that vote then drops out and we have further ballots every Tuesday and Thursday until the final two have been chosen. This short-list then goes to the membership.
So the latest YouGov polling which the Times is leading on this morning is really not that much of a guide. It was a standard poll with the preferred CON leader numbers showing the totals from all sampled and those who are Tory voters. The latter cannot be said to represent the membership.
The most striking feature was that Tory voters put May in the lead not the ex-mayor. Whether similar considerations will apply amongst MPs we don’t know. Johnson’s biggest weaknesses amongst them, I’d suggest, is that he only returned to Westminster two years and doesn’t know that many of them and that he’s not held a senior ministerial post. May has been Home Secretary since May 2010 and her colleagues will have a very good sense of her abilities.
The other potential contenders, Andrea Leadsom, Stephen Crabb and Liam Fox have only had very limited ministerial experience – the latter, of course, was forced to resign as Defence Secretary after a relatively short time in the job.