Given the precariousness of Theresa May’s position a new Tory leader contest could happen at just about any time.
In one sense she is immune from pressure within the party until December because of the failed confidence vote that the rebels triggered and which Theresa May won with a clear margin.
The rules state that a leader cannot be challenged again within 12 months but so much is happening at the moment you could see all sorts of pressure being put up on her at any time.
On Betfair it’s currently a 62% chance that she will step aside this year though what we should read into that I don’t know.
Ever since the June the 2017 General Election disaster for a party she has looked incredibly vulnerable and it is amazing that she’s had the resilience to carry on and stay in the post. She’s helped, of course, by there being no obvious successor and, of course, the Tory Party leadership election system which puts a lot of power in the hands of MPs.
To remind ourselves the process involves a series of exhausted ballots amongst MPs to work out a final shortlist of 2 which is then put to the Conservative membership at large. If Boris gets to the final two then he would make it but there is a big question mark over whether he would get the backing from his parliamentary colleagues.
His time as Foreign Secretary hardly reinforced his case to be next leader. He’s now lost a bit of weight and tidied his hair – moves that look like preparation for a contest.
Michael Gove has been doing himself a lot of good of late and his speech in the big debate last week has certainly attracted a lot of attention. Maybe that’s behind the betting move towards him. I’m still not convinced nor do I believe that Johnson is going to be the successor. Just about anything could happen.