Amber Rudd, Jacob Rees Mogg, and David Davis, now ahead of him
One of the little commented upon factors since GE2017 is that the former Tory golden boy appears to have lost the midas touch. Certainly there has been a big move away from him on the betting markets and he’s now in fourth place.
For several years, even before he returned to the Commons at the 2014 Uxbridge by-election, there’s been a widespread assumption that if ex-mayor Johnson could make it as far as the members’ ballot in a CON leadership battle the old Etonian with the distinctive hair cut would take the crown. The big question was whether he could gain the support of enough MPs to make the final two which go forward to the membership.
Until last weekend this was based on the perception of punters ready to risk their cash. Then we had polling of CON party members overseen by QMUL’s Prof Tim Bale where the fieldwork was carried out by YouGov. This had 21% backing David Davis with Foreign Secretary down at 17%. The poll had 26% saying they didn’t know or opted not to choose any candidate.
This was the first real polling there’s that there’s been in a long time and Johnson’s position did not come as a surprise.
Maybe it’s an appreciation of the massive challenge of getting Brexit right that doesn’t fit with Johnson’s seemingly flippant approach. The ex-mayor has never appeared to be a details man.
Of course TMay continues in the job but the polling and Johnson’s deterioration might just give an added impetus to Davis backers who want to seize the moment now.