Boris might need much more than Moggsy’s public backing if he’s to make it

Boris might need much more than Moggsy’s public backing if he’s to make it

The main development in the Conservative leadership “contest” this morning has been an article by Moggsy in the hardline Brexit supporting Spectator ruling himself out of the leadership and giving support for the former Mayor and fellow Etonian, Mr Johnson.

For a long period early in the year Rees-Mogg was favourite in the betting and this assertion in the magazine seems to rule him out completely. Certainly that’s how punters are seeing it and he’s now down to a 4% chance on Betfair.

Whether having Moggsy’s backing is going to help BoJo is hard to say. They both appealed to the same sort of audience within the party.

Of course there is no leadership contest. Moggsy’s move a week ago to put in a letter to the 1922 chairman requesting a confidence ballot on Theresa May did not attract sufficient support from other party MPs and for the time being Mrs May remains leader and PM.

The big question is when there will be a vacancy. TMay has shown no indication that she wants to go before Brexit and has hinted in the past that she might like to continue afterwards.

Johnson’s problems remains –  the first section of a contest which is amongst the party’s MPs. To get his name on the ballot that goes to members he needs to finish in the top 2 amongst his parliamentary colleagues. That is far from certain as a hot favourite after GE2001, Michael Portillo would no doubt tell you.

Mike Smithson


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