Latest next PM betting
The new Chancellor gets a good press this morning following his first set piece appearance since getting the job in July. He’s someone who has been up there within the party a long time but has never sought to hog the limelight. After GE2010 he should have become number 2 to Osborne at the Treasury but the demands of the coalition meant that had to go to a Lib Dem. Since then he’s held senior cabinet posts, most recently Foreign Secretary, that don’t get you much media exposure.
One of the great strengths of Hammond is that is something he does not seek. In many way he’s very much like John Major was in the final days of Mrs. Thatcher.
I was impressed by this from veteran political commentator, Bruce Anderson in an article headed “Watch out for Hammond, the potential PM no one saw coming“. Contrasting TMay’s PMQ performance and Hammond immediately afterwards Anderson wrote:
“..Assailed by Jeremy Corbyn’s slightly bumbling earnestness, Mrs May displayed no mastery. She seems incapable of big pictures or generosity of spirit. Reverting to that unfairly maligned-region, the Home Counties, she sounded like the crackling of autumn leaves heading for the wheelbarrow in an upper-middle class garden. There was none of the size – moral, mental, political – that we should expect from a Prime Minister. It was much the best performance Mr Corbyn has given. Afterwards, a number of the boys were wondering aloud: ‘Is the girl up to it?’
That was after Mr Hammond had sat down. He did display mastery. It was clear that he had an absolute intellectual command, which allowed him to indulge in a few donnish jokes. There is an obvious point and a satisfactory point. First, Philip Hammond would never make a living as a comedian. Second, he would never try to. If anything, he underestimates his powers of wit. That is a fault on the right side…”
I took a flyer long-shot bet on Hammond next PM at 20/1.
Negotiating BREXIT is going to be a massive challenge for Theresa May and the chances of an upset must be there. You can see Hammond as the “steady as you go” replacement.