After becoming Conservative leader in 1997 William Hague oversaw a review of the party’s leadership rules. As everyone interested in politics knows the main part of this was to give ordinary party members a vote – Conservative MPs would still get to whittle down the field of candidates to two, but ordinary party members would then pick the final winner (in theory at least, in 2016 that final choice was dodged by Andrea Leadsom standing down).

The other major change introduced by Hague seems to have seeped less well into the consciousness of the Westminster village. You still see the press talking about “stalking horse” candidates sometimes, or talk about such-and-such mounting a challenge against the leader, echoing back to the old rules when people like Thatcher in 1975 and Heseltine in 1990 could directly stand against the incumbent leader. Such a race is no longer possible. Grant Shapps this morning called for Theresa May to call a leadership election. Again, she can’t really do that, or at least, not in the way John Major did in 1995 when he called an election and stood himself. The current rules state that if a contest is caused by the resignation of the incumbent leader then that outgoing leader can’t stand as a candidate. In short, the only way Theresa May could call a leadership election is by resigning and going away.

Under the current rules a Conservative leader cannot face a leadership “challenge”. Instead the way of removing a leader is through a vote of confidence by Conservative MPs, triggered by 15% (currently 48) of Conservative MPs writing to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee saying they would like one. The incumbent leader does not face a challenger or challengers in such a vote, it is a straight Yes or No to whether they should continue in office. If the leader loses the vote, then they cease to be leader and an election for a replacement begins in which the ousted leader is not eligible to stand.

The 48 letters do not need to be organised together, or indeed sent at the same time. They can be a collection of dribs and drabs sent over weeks or months. Right now Grant Shapps appears to be organising (or is, at least, the public face of) those Tory MPs who wish May to go, but there is no requirement in the rules for a “challenger” as such.

Full rules are actually quite hard to find – while the party constitution has some details of the election procedure, the rules for ousting a leader are in a seperate document from the 1922 committee. A full set of the rules is, however, on Tom Quinn’s website here.


310 Responses to “How to oust a Tory leader”

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  1. “JOHN MURPHY
    I apologise for setting a Shakespeare stone rolling…..”

    As William himself might have written John, no problem.

    My apologies also for attributing that rolling stone to the wrong John.

    Being reminded of his wonderful writing also made me recall how brilliant he must have been to be able to sum up the effect of the Liverpool dustmen’s strike, nearly 400 years before the event.

  2. To twist Shakespeare a little:

    Vex not her ghost. O, let her pass. She hates him
    That would upon the rack of this tough world
    Stretch her out longer.

  3. @ reggieside

    “I think either May of Johnson will be gone at the weekend. If its the latter I still think she will be gone by christmas.”

    I’d hate to predict anything right now, but I’d go for nothing much happening for a while. The time to sack Boris has gone, would have been best done a couple of weeks ago. To do it now would be the proverbial stable door. But I think Boris is now just as damaged as May (if he wasn’t already).

    Although the big picture in the papers yesterday was the P45 (amongst other things), I think the intruder’s subsequent thumbs-up pose to Boris was just as telling – search for it if you haven’t seen it yet. Neither TM nor BJ are going to easily shake these images, though anything seems possible at the moment.

  4. “NICKP

    “tee hee”

    Since metaphors were all the rage after that coughing fit etc, etc., I wonder if Johnson’s weediness in not standing his ground, [by continuing to sit on his seat] when told off by Amber Rudd, could be contrued as a metaphor for his own lack of political courage?

    It certainly is by me anyway.

  5. Shakespeare wouldn’t have misspelt construed….

  6. My prediction is that May will hang in for quite a while and that Johnson will be offered a move, rather than the boot, in an Autumn re-shuffle.

    A move meaning a demotion.

    [pps to Govey would be a guddun.]

  7. paul croft: My prediction is that May will hang in for quite a while and that Johnson will be offered a move, rather than the boot, in an Autumn re-shuffle.

    Me, I am thinking everyone is looking for a way out. Some for the Tory party, some for themselves.

    I think Boris [who was never a true Brexiter, just someone who saw benefit to himself from appearing anti EU right from his straight banana journalist days] is desperate to be sacked. But not in order to become leader and PM.

    I think his real plan is just to go to the back benches and let this play out until Brexit becomes whatever sorry Brexit it will be.

    Then he can come back and say that there really was a prospect of £350 million/week for the NHS and the only reason that it did not happen was that he was kicked out of the Cabinet by the Brexit traitors. If you look at his Telegraph article re the £350 million/week, you can see he is putting down the markers to make such a claim

    Much though it pains me in the short term, I think that the long term demands that he is denied a sacking, because he wants a sacking over and above resigning to suit his future narrative.

  8. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the three political narratives that run through our country.
    1 The media narrative is everything is either a disaster, shambles or shear incompetence this narrative can be applied to any political party or individual politician it matters not just as long as it can be sensationalised and feed the 24 hour need to fill up the news.
    2. The narrative from political parties and there supporters as above plus only there view is correct and money really does grow on trees.
    3. The narrative of the public all politicians are liars in versions forms who promise much but deliver little and whatever is promised its them not the magic money tree that end up paying for it. Added to that most people only require politicians not to bankrupt them or the country ,run services properly, and not get them killed other than that they just wish they would shut up and get on with it.

  9. If the contest goes to the members, and Boris is on the ballot, he will win against anyone. Many members don’t like him, but leavers do, and most tory members are leavers.

    That in turn means that Boris probably will be on the ballot, since leave supporting MPs will see him as the best chance of ensuring Brexit proceeds.

    That in turn means that May is propped up by leavers that don’t really want Boris, and remainers that are afraid of Boris. It’s also worth mentioning that there are many junior ministers out there who face losing their positions if the political wheels turn, and who would not relish a change to the status quo.

    In short, there are good reasons why the cabinet should support May. That may not keep her there forever, but it may help explain why she’s still there. Strong forces are pushing against her, but from opposite directions, so she remains in place.

  10. TM
    The significant thing about the Shapps coup is the amount of abuse heaped upon him.
    I would have thought that it is a salutory lesson for any tory chancer that they will be subject to ridicule.
    In fact despite the obvious Media Agenda it is difficult to know whether she is weaker or stronger.I think at present she is mildly weaker from the fact that someone thinks that they can challenge her. But medium term i think she is stronger. A challenge has not just been defeated but it has been crushed,What has not ki**ed her will make her stronger and more determined and the public are fickle. Their perception of TM has changed from an unrealistic popularity to a overdone negativity. There is a case that the pendulum will swing back to a more balanced view.No one should write her off because the country may reward tenacity, integrity and may get used to her like an old pair of slippers. As a role model she need look no further than jezza.Mocked and despised in equal measure and yet in 6 short weeks he became a cult figure amongst the young and yet he would be thrown out if the decision lay with the parliamentary party. But he does not care and TM should not care. She can make history. Why would anybody want to give that up? It is worth anything and everything.

  11. Well you just have to watch gogglebox tonight to see how the public at large now view TM:

    “look, she just completely dodged the question”
    “she hasn’t answered it at all”
    “he never asked that”
    “its on loop isn’t it. You know why they call her mayb*t, because she’s just got like a pre-programmed set of answers”
    “do you think she’s going to malfunction”
    “you notice she doesn’t go anywhere near that water because it would just then be like sparks fly*ng”
    “ooo..she’s not answering the question”
    “answer the question!”
    “come on Theresa, tell him the truth”
    “she’s stuttering”
    “mayb*t is definitely malfunctioning”
    “I can see smoke coming”
    “do not compute, cannot answer with the truth”
    “Just say yes or no”
    “its very painful to watch this”
    “its so akward watching it though”
    “what a horrible birthday, poor cow, go an get pi**ed”

    I think Europe have expressed the same level of frustration for much the same reason. The TM government is incapable of articulating anything in a clear manner. The answer to any question is a soundbite. It is worrying.

    “We need UK papers that are clear in order to have constructive..”

    “But in his own speech in Italy on Thursday, to members of the national parliament in Rome, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier made clear that what he craves to hear is not inspirational oratory, but hard nuts and bolts related to settling terms of the U.K.’s divorce.”

    “German firms active in Britain should make provisions now for a “very hard Brexit”, Germany’s biggest industry group said on Thursday, because the government in London does not know what it wants.

    The Federation of German Industries (BDI) said British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government lacked a clear strategy on how to exit the European Union following last year’s referendum.

    “After four rounds of negotiations, German industry looks with concern at the progress of the Brexit negotiations,” BDI Managing Director Joachim Lang told reporters in Berlin. “The British government is lacking a clear concept despite talking a lot.”

  12. Paul Croft

    “Shakespeare wouldn’t have misspelt construed….”

    No, you’re right, he wouldn’t have misspelt it because there were no standard spellings at the time, so he couldn’t have misspelt it.

  13. norbold

    That’s wot I said. Just quicker……..

  14. trigguy,
    ” I think Boris is now just as damaged as May (if he wasn’t already).”

    Boris became damaged when his side won the referendum. That was not in the script. Both he and Cameron wanted him to be a respected loser.

    S Thomas,
    “She can make history. Why would anybody want to give that up? It is worth anything and everything.”
    Vlad the impaler? Some reputatons are rather negative.

    I dont think May is in it for fame, but for the reasons she always had. The woman who warned the conservatives they were the nasty party. Little progress so far, under her watch the image has been staging a comeback.

    She would appear to have always eschewed political infighting. What she wants is to rescue something from the mess which is Brexit. But her success so far at redirecting the party from its traditional course seems minimal, which doesn’t inspire confidence she can rescue it from Brexit.

  15. Did anyone else see this one, nabbed it off Mike Smithson’s twitter

    YouGov/QMUL London poll.
    TMay just one point ahead of Cable as best PM amongst London Remainers
    May 13%
    Corbyn 45%
    Cable 12%
    DK 29%

  16. Given all the Shakespeare
    Secret video of latest meeting where the cabinet gave full support to TM.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l_3-23zAWM

  17. STHOMAS
    “it is difficult to know whether she is weaker or stronger”
    It could be that thisis an irrelevant question. What we should be discussing is on what grounds the Tory Party and the Cabinet have decided that she should stay.
    A primary reason would, I think, be medical – that they have sought and received an assurance that in her own estimation and that of her doctors that what visibly afflicted her in her Conference speech was temporary and that she is receiving any necessary advice and treatment to ensure it isn;t recurrent.
    Secondly, that the evident weaknesses of policy statement in the GE and in her speech do not reflect inadequate policy advice and (I conjecture) that she will confer with and get advice from the Cabinet and from civil service policy advisers and particularly the Treasury.
    Thirdly that the most probable advice in the Conference speech (given the low level of financial commitment, e.g. to housing) is coming from and will continue to come from Hammond.
    Fourth that the movement in the back benches for her replacement and the involvement of old big beasts should be allowed to run, as blood letting.
    Fifth that she is regarded as leastworth option as leader in an interming period in which the priority in Brexit, so is expected to stay for two years, which the party selects and rallies round a new leader.

  18. sorry – while the party selects

  19. https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/06/tories-destroying-themselves-hard-brexit

    A lot to agree with in this article. The Tories are being torn apart, by two opposing forces, with Theresa May caught in the middle of it. There are probably 50 Tory MP’s who are totally against Brexit, who would try to stop it given the opportunity. On the other side there are probably at least 50 Tory MP’s who favour a hard Brexit on 30th March 2019, with no transitional arrangement.

    I would suggest that these two opposing forces cannot be brought together by any Tory leader, however they might try. The Tory MP’s who are neutral on Brexit, but just accept the referendum result, are going to be faced with difficult decisions. They will be under pressure to support different positions on the Brexit process.

    Labour might be enjoying the Tories troubles on Brexit at the moment, but at some point very soon, Corbyn is going to run into trouble with most Labour backbenchers. Kier Starmer has done a good job so far, as shadow Brexit minister, but trying to keep to policies that most Labour MP’s can support is going to become more difficult. There will be arguments about the Brexit negotiations and the EU withdrawal bill.

    I can see it get to the point, where the 50 anti Brexit Tories join up with opposition MP’s to defeat the Government, making it impossible for Government to continue. What happens then, is difficult to predict. But there could be another general election during 2018 or a second EU referendum.

  20. TM

    It is as if history began in 2010. Apparently the Media have discovered that Prime ministers sometimes cannot have the cabinet that they want and cannot follow policies that they want.This is ,appparently, a good reason to sack the PM because the PM is weak.

    Oddly enough i do not remember the inane journalists shouting at Blair as to whether Brown was sackable. He was not,of course. There was open warfare between the treasury and No 10 which twisted and perverted policy. He could not sack brown just as TM cannot sack Boris.That is only the most recent example.

    it makes perfect sense not to sack Boris. Anybody who is rational can see that. The only people who want Boris sacked are those that hate Boris.The hatred of Boris goes back to his role in the Brexit campaign. But in what world does it make political sense?.she sacks him and he is outside the tent. There would be a leadership challenge and she would be gone.Who with the interest of TM at heart can suggest this course? How can committing Political suicide be demonstrating strength?. The decision to not bow to the media and sack Boris is ,perversely, a rationale and sensible political act.

  21. R Huckle: https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/06/tories-destroying-themselves-hard-brexit

    A lot to agree with in this article.

    Yes. This caught my eye

    All week, MPs and delegates nodded sombrely as they conceded their electoral problem with the young – a term now redefined to include anyone under the age of 47. They know that younger voters are repelled by Brexit, but they persist all the same. ….

    Most know that, at a minimum, they need to offer remedies to student debt and the housing shortage. Both require big, bold moves right now if they are to bear fruit in time for the last possible date with the electorate in 2022.

    Brexit looks like a good smokescreen to get away with varying degrees of U turn of student debt and housing, but there seems to be no room for manoeuvre on Brexit, their choice is jump or dither.

  22. aargh formatting!!!

    R Huckle: https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/06/tories-destroying-themselves-hard-brexit

    A lot to agree with in this article.

    Yes. This caught my eye

    All week, MPs and delegates nodded sombrely as they conceded their electoral problem with the young – a term now redefined to include anyone under the age of 47. They know that younger voters are repelled by Brexit, but they persist all the same. ….

    Most know that, at a minimum, they need to offer remedies to student debt and the housing shortage. Both require big, bold moves right now if they are to bear fruit in time for the last possible date with the electorate in 2022.

    Brexit looks like a good smokescreen to get away with varying degrees of U turn of student debt and housing, but there seems to be no room for manoeuvre on Brexit, their choice is jump or dither.

  23. Stuck in moderation from last night and I am guessing at the problem

    paul croft: My prediction is that May will hang in for quite a while and that Johnson will be offered a move, rather than the boot, in an Autumn re-shuffle.

    Me, I am thinking everyone is looking for a way out. Some for the Tory party, some for themselves.

    I think Boris [who was never a true Brexiter, just someone who saw benefit to himself from appearing anti EU right from his straight banana journalist days] is desperate to be sacked. But not in order to become leader and PM.

    I think his real plan is just to go to the back benches and let this play out until Brexit becomes whatever sorry Brexit it will be.

    Then he can come back and say that there really was a prospect of £350 million/week for the NHS and the only reason that it did not happen was that he was kicked out of the Cabinet by the Brexit tra1tors. If you look at his Telegraph article re the £350 million/week, you can see he is putting down the markers to make such a claim

    Much though it pains me in the short term, I think that the long term demands that he is denied a sacking, because he wants a sacking over and above resigning to suit his future narrative.

  24. aaargh formatting again!!!

    paul croft: My prediction is that May will hang in for quite a while and that Johnson will be offered a move, rather than the boot, in an Autumn re-shuffle.

    Me, I am thinking everyone is looking for a way out. Some for the Tory party, some for themselves.

    I think Boris [who was never a true Brexiter, just someone who saw benefit to himself from appearing anti EU right from his straight banana journalist days] is desperate to be sacked. But not in order to become leader and PM.

    I think his real plan is just to go to the back benches and let this play out until Brexit becomes whatever sorry Brexit it will be.

    Then he can come back and say that there really was a prospect of £350 million/week for the NHS and the only reason that it did not happen was that he was kicked out of the Cabinet by the Brexit tra1tors. If you look at his Telegraph article re the £350 million/week, you can see he is putting down the markers to make such a claim

    Much though it pains me in the short term, I think that the long term demands that he is denied a sacking, because he wants a sacking over and above resigning to suit his future narrative.

  25. Art thou afeard
    To be the same in thine own act and valor
    As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
    Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
    And live a coward in thine own esteem,
    Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,”
    Like the poor cat i’ the adage?

    “Boris” Act 0

  26. @S Thomas – “it makes perfect sense not to sack Boris. Anybody who is rational can see that. The only people who want Boris sacked are those that hate Boris.The hatred of Boris goes back to his role in the Brexit campaign. But in what world does it make political sense?.she sacks him and he is outside the tent. There would be a leadership challenge and she would be gone.Who with the interest of TM at heart can suggest this course?”

    I would disagree.
    I believe you start from the assumption that May is severely time limited as a PM anyway, adding in the observation that Boris does not adhere to the discipline of being in the cabinet. In other words, May gains no benefit from having Boris in the cabinet.

    Yes, sacking him carries the risk that this will speed up plots against her, but what of the risk of keeping him in the cabinet? By failing to act, she has illustrated her weakness, while also opening up to every cabinet minister, on all sides of Brexit, the freedom to squabble in public about what the government should be doing.

    I believe that not sacking Boris straight after the Florence speech is a big mistake. Boris rewarded her loyalty by trying to sabotage her conference speech just days later, demonstrating the pointlessness of holding him close.

    May has also simply miscalculated. Boris is an ineffectual clown who has overeached himself, making many enemies on the Tory backbenches for his disloyalty.

    So in summary, I would argue that my original thinking and subsequent event would completely contradict your assertion. The only rational course of action for May was to summaraly dismiss Boris after his pre Florence speech.

    It would have been fascinating to witness how the Tory conference responded to her after that – it would have been a monumentally confident and strong move.

    Too late now though. She has told Boris that he is unsackable and Boris knows this.

    [BTW – I don’t think there is much ‘hatred’ of Borsi – certainly not on my part. It’s just that a lot of people saw what he failed to do after eight years as Mayor of London and wonder what on earth makes people think he has the skills to run a whelk stall, let alone the government. A string of undelivered promises and unalloyed failures – an extraordinarily unsuccessful record in office].

  27. Let me have men about me that are fat,
    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.
    He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.

    May’s Cabinet appointment goes wrong

  28. Paul Croft

    This might interest you, perhaps, Paul.

    “afeard” Shakespeare Macbeth

    Mry. 1830 Sir T. D. Lauder Moray Floods (1873) 198:
    “What’s the woman afeard o’?” cried John.

    Words » Hamely Tongue » afeared
    afeared – Hamely Tongue
    Source: The Hamely Tongue: A Personal Record of Ulster-Scots in County Antrim

    Author: James Fenton

    afeard, afeared, afeered predicate adj Afraid, frightened. Same as feard. [< Middle English afered < Old English afæred, past participle of afæran, attested since c1000; dare afear(e)d adj ‘afraid’ once widespread in the U.S., but now somewhat old-fashioned, chiefly South and Midland]

  29. John Pilgrim

    When Mrs May began her speech she was confident and without any signs of a cold or any ill health. She was, I think, overtaken by nerves.

    She will stay for some time I think. Boris, the most ambitious for her job, only has to wait.

    The Cabinet remains divided – a division that makes any kind of negotiation except on the terms of the Lancaster House speech impossible. In her Florence speech Mrs May seemed to accept that EU regulations would apply to any transition period. Later, in the same speech she suggested that it might not be necessary to have ECJ involvement as the EU and UK might have agreed a different arbitrator.

    Mrs May also uses “implementation” rather than “transition”. This suggests that she believes a deal can be worked out before 29 March 2019. Viewed from the EU side the transition period is there to allow further negotiations in order to prevent a “no deal” scenario. It seems the talks will drift on towards no conclusion

  30. Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul
    But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
    Chaos is come again.

  31. Some sensible posts from S Thomas, on what appears to have been Shakespeare night on UKPR. Some interesting quotes from the bard but little else of interest, IMO of course.

    Have a good day all

  32. “Apologies for this, but two rules of thumb that might assist you [some of us discussed this recently.]

    1/ “Whom” is almost always likely to be wrong, as its use is relatively rarely required.”
    @paul croft October 6th, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Rubbish! Whom is used when the person is the object of the sentence: ‘the bell tolls for whom?’ Who is used when it is the subject — the person doing the action: ‘who tolls the bell?’

  33. Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for May.

  34. Sacking Johnson straight after the Florence speech and/or just before conference was risky as Mrs May did not have a good feel for her support in the PCP.

    Shapps and his few fellow travellers have not only encouraged the genuine May loyalists out but brought out ambivalent ones to support her.

    So unless the move gathers pace, I don’t think it will but then how would I know, it strengthens her hand with Johnson and sends him a message.

    She could sack him but it may be better to put him on a final warning as it where?

  35. Watch this space – Amber Rudd the new Tory leader. Is there any betting on this? She stood in for May in the debate and was very good. She is the one that got up to save May re the coughing – good Tory.
    Well worth a bet

  36. al urqua

    I was talking statistically about the use of who and whom. I have not gone through a detailed analytical process but am fairly sure that who is many, many times more often needed in converstaions than whom.

    Ergo if you just stick with who [I don’t because I know when whom is correct] you are generally more likely to be right than wrong.

    Whereas, obviously, if whom is your default word the opposite applies. And my advice was aimed at someone “whom” uses it almost every time. I just find it jars [as above] though I do realise that’s a bit silly and most people probably couldn’t give a toss.

  37. If I was head of something and someone was going to mount a coup against me then Grant Shapps is the very boy I would turn to lead it.

  38. One of the key reasons that Boris needed to be sacked was for the sake of the Brexit negotiations. Brussels need to have faith that the government has a single view on the agreements being made, and it’s clear with Boris in place and free to spout off at will that this isn’t the case.

  39. Good afternoon all from a grey and mild Winchester.

    Really loving our new integrated kitchen…It’s so integrated the only visible thing is the tap.

    How to oust a Tory leader…. Great headline AW.

    I don’t think Grant Shapps mini rebellion will come to anything but it’s just more evidence of the internal bickering inside the Tory party.

    I give TM until February next year then she will either walk or get the boot. As for her replacement! Well Tory party supporters may have their favourites but party favourites are probably the least popular with the rest of the country, especially if they look like something out of a kids drawing book, have a daft name and sound so lardyda and boring they would make Robert Peston sound exciting in comparison.

    Anyway who mentioned Shakespeare?

    Ode to a goldfish oh wet pet….
    Maybe not!!

  40. There is a new Poll from Scotland by YouGov, out on Britain Elects.
    ScotParl voting intention (list):
    SNP: 35% (-7)
    LAB: 24% (+5)
    CON: 23% (-)
    GRN: 6% (-1)
    LDEM: 6% (+1)
    via @YouGov, 02-05 Oct
    ScotParl voting intention (const):
    SNP: 42% (-5)
    LAB: 25% (+2)
    CON: 25% (+3)
    LDEM: 5% (-3)
    via @YouGov, 02 – 05 Oct
    Scottish independence voting intention:
    Yes: 44% (+1)
    No: 56% (-1)
    via @YouGov Chgs. w Jun 2017
    May goes from a net approval rating (well/badly at job) of +13 to -49; Corbyn from -42 to +20.

    Not terribly good news for the SNP. It looks as though Labour are continuing to gain ground from the SNP. Not good news for May either but Tories will be pleased with the 3% increase in Scot Parl (const):. Comments IMO of course.

  41. @S THOMAS

    I think Blair versus Brown is very interesting but I am not sure it is about the same thing that May versus BoJo is about.

    Brown and Blair had agreed to share power basically and Blair was supposed to give up the being PM and decided he was not going to do so so Brown basically forced his hand

    May has no such agreements with BoJo, they did not generate policy together and indeed they are not generating policy together which is where the difference is.

    Could Blair sack Brown yes he could have done if he could find a good reason to sack him, but he could not and most of the reason they pointed out he should be sacked was that he had too much power. Not that he was undermining policy this was a personality fight

    The May BoJo dynamic is different and indeed how May has decided to deal with it is also different. BoJo is treated like some wild maverick that get indulged but not really listened to she need him in terms of symbolism in order to keep the party together. he know that and yet he briefing as to his power which pretty much shows that he has none. This is sold as a personality fight when really it is a policy fight.
    May is safe because no one want Boris near anything. No one want to take up the reigns of PM because it is a poisoned chalice.Moreover May is winning the policy fight on the Europe

    The Tories will stumble and stutter until brexit is done and then they may get a set of policies together that works but I fear that they will not because they will not be bold enough in the JRM direction or bold enough in the Miliband direction. it will be a policy of meh.

    They need to pick a side and go with it currently they are hedging their bets because they don’t believe. May understands that position and so she is doing her best to coral a heard of cats

    The Tories position is that they don’t believe in their policies any more and Labour DO believe in theirs and that means there is a difference in confidence. Now confidence may not count for much but a distinct lack of it make for bad optics

  42. Aside to old nationalist:

    More polling evidence of Lab gaining in Scotland. So yah boo sucks.

  43. “Ergo if you just stick with who [I don’t because I know when whom is correct] you are generally more likely to be right than wrong.”
    @paul croft October 7th, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I could not disagree more strongly. This sort of attitude is why we are seeing the plural of matrix to be matrixes, not matrices, indexes, not indicies, formulas not formulae.

    And while I am at it the plural of fish is fish and cannon is cannon.

    Who and whom are (vestigial) examples of the Indo-European case system (or perhaps more accurately the Germanic one). The -m indicates accusative in Latin parlance.

    If you throw away these rules because you can’t give a toss, you may as well throw away spelling, grammar, tense, and anything else you can’t handle or don’t understand. They exist to improve the message; and indirectly say something of the messenger.

  44. THE OTHER HOWARD

    At first glance most would assume that’s a bad poll for the SNP but the devil is in the detail. The SNP don’t have many seats via the list because they did so well on the constituency ballot last time around so the minus 7% would probably see them lose 1 seat from the list and -5% on the constituency could see them lose a couple of seats.

    If the Scottish parliament had the same electoral system as Westminster then even on these figures the SNP would be storming into landslide majority territory.

    It’s important to clarify that point for those who don’t understand the Tartan domestic electoral system.

  45. Are those Scottish numbers from a previous poll?

    How do the compare to the last GE and last Holyrood Election

  46. JIM JAM

    From the last Scottish election.

  47. So much Shakespeare!

    This is different – Lucifer is talking to TM (Tragedy of Man by Madach)

    “Having placed him in your cosmic kitchen
    You now indulge his bungling awkwardness,
    His godlike postures, his botched cookery.
    But when he comes to spoil your favourite dish
    You’ll flare up in a rage-too late by then.
    But what can You expect from such a dabbler?”

  48. Grammar and Al Urqua

    ‘If you throw away these rules because you can’t give a toss, you may as well throw away spelling, grammar, tense’.

    Linguistics people will disagree. Grammar rules are not rules that you SHOULD follow, they just describe the rules that most people DO follow. That’s why, over time, as language changes, the rules gradually change too….the rules lagging behind the actual language a bit.

  49. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    Allan, the point i was making was that in polling terms they appear to be losing support. I was not commenting on the effect on seats which would need detailed analysis because of the Scottish system.

  50. Slowly but surely Scottish politics is becoming a proper three horse race.
    Labour clawing back a bit, Tories looking solid and SNP still strong but unsurprisingly losing some ground which had to happen at some stage.

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