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”

1 4 5 6 7
  1. David Coby,
    So this was always a parable about multi ethnic fishing.

    Reggieside,
    “But May’s authority bleeds out by the day – and its undermining the governments ability to negotiate”

    no, its the other way about. Party leaders represent their party, they only lead in the sense of being a spokesman for the party. May cannot speak for the tories because the tories have no agreed policy. She has no authority because they are not giving her instructions what to do. I saw the newspaper headline yesterday about the EU talking to labour to try to find out what the UK might do. That shows how disastrously split the government is.

    Replacing May would make not the least bit of difference unless the party was united behind a successor. This does not seem likely.

    Sea Change,
    ” The other possibility that I’ve raised before is whether the Remainers decide to back DD in the hope that he will defeat Bojo with the members.”

    And how would that work out? The new leader would immediately be faced by members who didnt want him at all and will not support him. Just as now.

  2. JJ @ 8.52 am

    Yes.

    These Lab-leaning unionists might not have felt last June that putting in a Tory MP from Scotland might keep Theresa May in power in a hung parliament.

    Whereas having some Tory MPs from Scotland in a ruling Tory party would damp down their far-right policies, they reckoned.

    Voting for me and others involves trying to predict what effect those elected will have.

  3. @Danny

    “Replacing May would make not the least bit of difference unless the party was united behind a successor. This does not seem likely!”

    No – in fact it will probably make things worse. But its going to happen nonetheless – so they may as well get it over and done with. As i say – rocks and hard places.

  4. peterw,
    ” But the case the judgment was based on was built on that presumption of irreversibility. ”

    Which says something about why the law is such a licence to print money. Now a different presumption may be tested.

    I can see the whole matter going to an 11th hour withdrawal of notice to leave, and then utter chaos because with the deadline already gone by, no one knowing if the Uk did leave or if it did successfully withdraw its notice to leave.

  5. Reggieside,
    “in fact it will probably make things worse”

    So if you are in a hole, stop digging. Would BJ want the job? I would think it would be as bad a result for him personally as finding he had won the referendum.

  6. Danny,

    Forgive a partisan comment from me in reply to your.

    ”I saw the newspaper headline yesterday about the EU talking to labour to try to find out what the UK might do”

    best line I heard was that the PM went to Florence to say I agree with Kier.

  7. richard

    ““Theresa May’s crisis has deepened today with a new poll showing Labour surging ahead of the Conservatives,”

    “Surging” to a 5% lead, in the historic context of opinion polls and the current malaise of this government, is really just a trickle.

  8. danny: I can see the whole matter going to an 11th hour withdrawal of notice to leave, and then utter chaos because with the deadline already gone by, no one knowing if the Uk did leave or if it did successfully withdraw its notice to leave.

    Exactly. And then the UK having to argue with itself as to whether to plead its case to the CJEU.

  9. Good morning all from a sunny Winchester.

    Who mentioned Grant Shapps for PM? Well I suppose he would be a better option than for the likes of Jacob Rees Mong.

    The Tories have a number of candidates who are well capable of taking over from TM but the party is so divided and fractured, no single person could command the full party support.
    ———–
    CHRIS RILEY
    A monkey in a red rosette could have won the 2017 Election, you know.
    ——–

    Only a monkey in a blue rosette could have lost a majority in the 2017 election.

  10. PC

    (“Surging” to a 5% lead, in the historic context of opinion polls and the current malaise of this government, is really just a trickle.)

    But when you look at the polls back in April and the local election results they really do paint a picture – and if this is the direction of travel we could be looking at Lab flirting with 50% and Tories 30%. The reverse of those polls earlier this year.

    Of course now we know that manifestos and campaigning DO affect election outcomes and that the papers have less effect than we thought, the polls going into any General Election won’t mean much anyway!

    And then there is the small matter of the polls turning out plain wrong and the weighting being all over the place, non voters voting and accepted wisdom being, in fact, stupidity.

  11. @danny

    well yes – what the tories should do is unite behind the leader and stop tearing each other apart.

    But that not going to happen. Because they know May is toast they are all plotting and manoeuvring and briefing to advance their own particular agenda and/or candidate.

    Its like game theory – they are all trying to predict what the others are going to do so are forced to act in ways that counter that.
    So more and more mps will start signing up to oust may – not because they think its the right thing to do – but because others are doing it (see also panic buying of petrol when there a supply scare).

    Basically – the plotting and pressure to ditch may is only going to grow and the question becomes not “should we get rid of Theresa may?” but “when is the best time to have our mutually destructive bloodbath?”

  12. I watched Ruth Davidson on the Marr show and there is no doubt she is a very capable party leader in Scotland and is seen by many Tories down here as a possible replacement for calamity May but you know, bashing the SNP over independence is all very well but how would Davidson cope when having to defend Tory policies on Brexit, welfare reform and the NHS in England?

    There would be no SNP to hide behind. I mean she couldn’t really get away with saying hospital waiting times here in England are better than in Scotland and so on…Davidson has the luxury of being in opposition in Scotland but in England or rUK she would be found wanting.

  13. @allanchristie

    A strange editorial decision by the BBC to give Davidson air time on the day that the SNP conference begins. I don’t recall Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed last Sunday as the Tory conference began or May being interviewed when the Labour conference began but perhaps I missed them.

  14. HIRETON

    Yes I thought it was a strange decision but the BBC has form in this area. .During the UK election campaign they thought having 4 Scottish based leaders squabbling over devolved issues was best suited to who gets the keys for number 10.

    There flagship question time program can be just as equally bizarre. Largely non Scottish audiences and non Scottish based panel members discussing and giving opinions on matters that dont affect them.

    The BBC doesn’t know how to handle devolution and it’s best it becomes a subscription based network so people can choose or not to choose to subscribe to something that they feel doesn’t give value for money and doesn’t know the meaning of impartiality.

  15. # their

  16. @HIRETON
    @ALAN CHRISTIE

    The problem with most institutions is that at their core they are rather centralised. I remember Fox News having a panel debate race relations with an all white panel. it ended up with one of the panelist asking the other panelist how many black friend did they have which was hilarious because none of the other did. Sometime you need instances like this to show the problem.

  17. “The BBC doesn’t know how to handle devolution and it’s best it becomes a subscription based network so people can choose or not to choose to subscribe to something that they feel doesn’t give value for money and doesn’t know the meaning of impartiality.”

    Ah! So the BBC needs to be punished for being biased by, um, taking away the licence fee. Then we can get our impartial news from, um, whomever we choose to pay? Will there be any free-to-air channels?

  18. Good to see the report in the S Tel: that Hammond is making a large financial provision towards planning for no deal if no progress by January.

    Good news and very sensible but why wait until January? Should be doing it now IMO. Planning is one thing that Davis and co have been doing, but it needs cash spending to put in place. It seems at last it has dawned on the government that cash is needed to prepare for what many consider the inevitable.

    Paul Croft

    Your certainly correct that Rachel Podger has a real feel for baroque music. Her recording of Bach’s “The Art of Fugue” with Brecon baroque is excellent.

  19. @DANNY
    peterw,
    ” But the case the judgment was based on was built on that presumption of irreversibility. ”

    “Which says something about why the law is such a licence to print money. Now a different presumption may be tested.
    I can see the whole matter going to an 11th hour withdrawal of notice to leave, and then utter chaos because with the deadline already gone by, no one knowing if the Uk did leave or if it did successfully withdraw its notice to leave.
    October 8th, 2017 at 9:34 am”

    Without going through the whole transcript of the Supreme Court case, there were discussions between the two sides and the Judges about A.50 not being reversible. As i pointed out before, all the parties and the Judges did not want to get into the A.50 irrevocability argument, because it would probably end up being referred to the CJEU. To include it within an argument about powers of Ministers of the Crown to trigger A.50 was considered to be very unhelpful.

    I think you will find that the senior Judge who headed the panel said in the conclusions that the decision that Parliamentary approval was required to trigger A.50, did not consider whether A.50 was irrevocable or not, because that was not the question being asked.

    The more difficult question is what happens if Parliament decides it does not want to proceed with Brexit in the way Government has decided. Presumably on such a big issue, where there are financial implications, the Government would fall. It would effectively be a vote of no confidence in Government.

  20. So, five days into little Nell’s bedside vigil and all news outlets I’ve looked at have “nothing to see here, time to move on” as the main political headline.

    If this is true then why aren’t they actually doing so?

    Surely now that even Westminster’s answer to Private Walker has been packed off and his list of the brave 30 confiscated, NR, LK and the media’s Sunday morning gang ought to be out covering the SNPs bash rather than disturbing the now settled dust simply for the sake of it?

    Unless, of course, those unconfirmed reports of Bozzimodo shinning up the Elizabeth tower to check on big Ben and make a bit more unattributable noise might have some truth behind them?

  21. “Planning is one thing that Davis and co have been doing,….”

    Ah – I see. Discussing news items from independent sources in the Guardian is ‘gullible’, but regurgitating government briefings without question is OK?

    I think we can see where you’re coming from.

    FWIW, the news from independent sources (police forces, customs officials union, port authorities, companies of many different descriptions) is that the level of planning for ‘no deal’ is somewhere between woeful and non-existent.

    But no matter – Davis says they are planning, so that must be true. (Even as he asks for a 2 year transition, as presumably they haven’t, er, done enough planning for 2019).

  22. I don’t think I am speaking out of turn to reveal (as a civil servant) that the amount of planning done before the referendum to prepare for a possible “leave” vote was:

    .

  23. TOH: a large financial provision towards planning for no deal…. it needs cash spending to put in place. It seems at last it has dawned on the government that cash is needed to prepare for what many consider the inevitable.

    Hah! Tomorrow’s DM headline: Brexit to cost billions

  24. Fascinating news from Catalonia. Simply not an issue I am remotely famil!ar with, so struggling to get a handle on the various depictions of the issue.

    It seems like Catalonian support for independence is far from universal, and apparently around 17% of the population are immigrants that don’t have a vote, but are believed by some to favour staying in Spain/EU.

    Peter Preston in today’s Guardian highlights inconsistencies in the riot injury figures, with fact checking organisations pointing out that pictures of injured demonstrators have been lifted from previous demonstrations, and stating that some of the stories (a 6 year old having their fingers broken) did not happen.

    Leftists Catalonians against independence claim that the independence movement is predominantly cultural nationalism, rather than civic based, founded on an inherent belief that Catalan culture is superior and depict this as a selfish revolution.

    More balance seems to be appearing now in the coverage, but again, as with Scotland, the nationalists seeking separation seem to assume they can declare independence while keeping all the privileges of Spainish citizenship, particularly EU membership.

    I stand to be corrected on this, and I would of course accept that a population that genuinely wants independence can’t be prevented from doing so against their collective will, but I’m struggling to generate much support for the Catalan nationalists. Taking their beliefs to a logical conclusion would seemingly be highly divisive and damaging for Europe as a whole.

  25. Howard, Paul
    Our friends live close by Rachel Podger in Brecon and I’ve seen her live a few times. As well as a tremendous musician, she is a lovely person.
    (I refer to Brecon Baroque as ‘Rachel and the Podgerdistas! )

  26. jim jam,
    “best line I heard was that the PM went to Florence to say I agree with Kier”

    Who strategically might change his mind and now lead May on an embarassing dance as she follows his policy changes.

  27. If London and its Boroughs sought independence, could Surrey join London?

    Probably wouldn’t want to, sadly, because it votes Tory and Brexit. But I live there … might have to move back to LB of Croydon.

  28. Allan Christe,
    “Only a monkey in a blue rosette could have lost a majority in the 2017 election”

    Nice line, but unfortunately not true. I think it would have taken an incredibly charismatic leader with a huge personal following to have altered the result given the policy situation. And changing the policy was not possible.

    And the voters were right. The conservative party would have been just as divided with a big majority as it is now.It would just have been more clear that its opposition was internal.

    R Huckle,
    “Presumably on such a big issue… the Government would fall.”

    This awkward fixed term parliament act might redefine precedent, because it somwhat separates the government and parliamentart defeats. The parliament could perfectly well pass an act withdrawing the PMs power to give notice and instead informing the EU itself of its intention to stay. The government are merely civil servants.

    There is no need for parliament to defeat the government in a motion of confidence for it to do this.

  29. RJW

    That comes over [that she seems lovely] in her recorded interviews that I’ve watched.

    I’d love to take a class with her.

  30. Regionalism in Europe.

    We should not be surprised by Catalonia or indeed by Scotland. We should expect more of it as a sort of balkanization of Europe.The growth of a federal Europe is the antihisis of the nation state and encourages such regional thinking by its very existence.Almost the first step in any independence campaign is to reassure the population that they can remain in the EU and every thing will be alright.
    That is an appropriate tactic because of the fact that the eU has been successful in permeating the every day life of europeans.

    If you begin to view the EU as the most important institution in economic, political and finally military/ security terms what is the role or point of the nation state?
    If the macron. junckers vision of Europe comes to fruition the EU will control all the levers of the old nation state. The only resistance to the EU would, potentially, be from the old nation states and the solution to that is not to have a federated EU based on nation states but on identity or geography. They become areas of administrative convenience for the EU. Essentially local government areas. We assume that where a federated EU is being talked of then it must be of the existing nation states but that need not be so.In the long term the nation state becomes the enemy of the EU. A federal model not based on the US model but more on the USSR model of old and not based on old countries but on smaller less powerful areas is easier to control
    Under that model who cares whether Scotland or Catalonia wish to pretend they are independent. Real economic power, currency,political parliament, defence, security, legal are all under the control of the central EU government or extra national bodies.
    The more the EU grows the more i expect to see areas such as catalonia seeking independence under the EU umbrella
    Some may welcome that as a future with us all being citizens of Europe but i for my part i want out now while we still can.

  31. “If you begin to view the EU as the most important institution in economic, political and finally military/ security terms what is the role or point of the nation state?”

    There is none, unless you worship at the ancient altar of blind nationalist chauvinism.

  32. “Some may welcome that as a future with us all being citizens of Europe but i for my part i want out now while we still can.”

    See my previous post.

  33. I’ve been looking the local elections due in 2018.

    This will be a real hint at how the parties are doing as a whole nationally.

    Below are the results from comparable seats from 2014:

    Projected national share of votes

    Party – Vote Share(Change in %)

    Labour – 31% (+2%)
    Con – 29% (+4%)
    Lib Dem – 13% (-1%)
    UKIP – 17% (-5%)

    Councils Controlled

    Party – Councils Controlled (Change)

    Labour – 82 (+5)
    Con – 41 (-11)
    Lib Dem – 6 (-2)
    NOC – 32 (+8)

    Councils Controlled

    Party – Councillors (Change)

    Labour – 2121 (+324)
    Con – 1364 (-236)
    Lib Dem – 427 (-310)
    UKIP – 166 (+163)

    The national polls at the time looked like this:

    Con 33%
    Lab 36%
    Lib Dem 10%
    UKIP 15%

    ——————————————–

    The UKIP vote was really boosted with the EU Elections on the same day. However, in recent times their vote has collapsed and they struggle to even put candidates up. It will be probably mean many former UKIP seats going elsewhere, but to who?

    There are some councils in key areas to see how Labour are doing. For example, in Swindon the Conservatives have 30 out of 57 Councillors versus Labour’s 25 currently. Both Swindon constituencies are Conservative, but the sort of places Labour needs win at the next GE to break through. If that looks likely to happen, Labour should be winning Council seats from the Conservatives here.

  34. Paul
    I’m an appreciator of music only, I’m afraid I have no playing skills but I’m sure RP would be a brilliant teacher.

  35. AC

    Re Ruth D. I completely agree. As is often the case she has simply become the flavour of the month but it’s utterly unrealistic in my view.

  36. OLDNAT

    Thanks for the link to Reuters’ Brexit divorce plan to be sent to WTO next week. Well worth a read.

    POLITICO fleshes it out a little with their US rounds on Britain over food quotas as post-Brexit trade woes deepen

    The last few paras should be somewhat worrying to the Chevening 3 and possibly Barnier also:

    The exporters are likely to seek to redress the balance by pushing for bigger export quotas, something that will trigger concern among both British and EU farmers because it will mean potentially more exported goods competing on the market with their own production.

    New Zealand’s Deputy Trade Secretary Vangelis Vitalis took to Twitter to protest that Britain and the EU were effectively delivering a fait accompli to the WTO.

    “Sorry that key partners assume a deal they strike between them will suit the rest of the world,” he wrote.

    He also warned that bigger players than New Zealand, itself a massive dairy, fruit and lamb powerhouse, would exert pressure at the WTO: “Don’t imagine it is just little ole New Zealand with concerns.”

    As if to drive home that point, a spokesperson for the U.S. Trade Representative said: “Ensuring that U.S. exporters of food and agricultural products have the market access in Europe due to them even after Brexit is a high priority for the administration.”

  37. BJ or TM gone by next Friday, surely. I suspect Boris.

  38. S Thomas,
    “If you begin to view the EU as the most important institution in economic, political and finally military/ security terms what is the role or point of the nation state”
    I think it is more fundamental than this, and is a case which the leave campaign argued itself. The small region has a choice of belonging to one of two masters. Which will serve it best? The reason Catalonia or Scotland are in revolt is because they do not like the edicts of their current national government.

    leave told brits in general they had a choice of westminster government or EU government. Much the same case facing Catalonia. which foreign power do we citizens wish to be ruled by?

  39. Andrew Rawnsley on the money in the Observer today. The only reason May hasn’t gone yet is because no-one is confident that they will be the beneficiary.

  40. It’s all properly chaotic (as May predicted!). May stays only because the Tories can’t agree on anyone else. She may sack Boris, but does anyone really think it’ll make a difference to the squabbling? The EU don’t know who they’ll be negotiating with next week, let alone by 2019. If a new Tory takes over as PM they’ll have even less authority than May… Can a new PM just soldier on without an election? Can he/she still command the DUP’s ongoing support? I don’t have answers to those questions and see plenty of disagreement among posters here.

    But if there were to be an election it doesn’t look any better. Surely Labour won’t win an overall majority, may barely even be the largest party. Deals might be made with SNP and Lib dems, but labour are also divided over Brexit, if less than Con: if they have to make compromises with other parties, then bitter rows, I’d guess, loom on the horizon.

    The problem is not really that Tories are split or labour are split over Brexit, but that the country is split. Half the country were clear what they wanted and all wanted much the same (the status quo). But the other half, who voted Leave, voted that way for massively different and often contradictory reasons: they agree that they want to leave but they don’t agree about what they want from Leaving (let alone whether it’s achievable). Many are going to be disappointed whichever way it crumbles. But nobody’s changing their minds, and giving up on the whole sorry project does not appear to be an option

    It may be possible for one or other party to negotiate a deal with the EU that not only holds their own party together, but reunites the majority of the country, but I can’t see how. A period of political chaos seems inevitable.

  41. S Thomas: A federal model not based on the US model but more on the USSR model of old

    You do seem utterly determined to take a dystopian view of any further European integration.

    If the EU moves towards a federal states, it can only do so on a slow, consensual basis. And if that slowly evolving federal framework makes possible a different relationship within currently uneasily bound together nation states, is that such a terrible thing? Cataluña and Scotland are entities that might sit more comfortably in their own skins rather than bound to a dominant ‘other’. Both communities in Northern Ireland might be content with a relationship with Brussels instead of having the divisive, winner-takes-all choice between Dublin or London. A federal structure would allow them to do so without having to duplicate the whole machinery of state.

    Why should the EU, so carefully based on law and principle, turn into some Soviet-style monster? And would it be such a terrible thing to have the defence of Europe in the hands of a single defence force?

    I could project an equally dystopian vision of a future UK, disillusioned, impoverished and embittered by Brexit, alone and friendless on the fringes of its continent, rent apart by competing nationalisms and the revolting underclass. To the rescue comes a new Cromwell, casting aside the degenerates of Westminster, crushing the tartan revolution, beheading Charles III…

    Unlikely? Fanciful? of course. But no more (and probably muchless) so than a Union of Soviet European States.

  42. “MARKW
    BJ or TM gone by next Friday, surely. I suspect Boris.”

    Neither would be my bet.

    [We can check next Saturday…]

  43. Paul Croft, well i am not the greatest UKPR prognosticator for sure and I don’t understand the conservative party very well so I expect to be wrong.

    I got all the big voting events wrong for the last few years, except for the rise of JC and the election result, but i did say lab largest party. Close.

  44. patrickbrian,
    strictly only about 1/3 voted leave. Another 1/3 voted remain and 1/3 didnt vote at all. There are all sorts of srguments whether the 1/3 who didnt vote might have split the same as the rest, or whether they have any right to complain if they didnt bother. But that still means only 1/3 of the nation felt strongly enough about it to vote leave. Leave have to face 2/3 of the nation who were never committed to it, should we leave and it goes wrong.

    This is one of the problems with saying a simple majority decides in a situation like his. One of errors n early polling for the last election was the bug numberes of ‘dont knows’, who eventually made up their minds and shifted the headline result. There are still plenty of ‘dont knows’

  45. “If you begin to view the EU as the most important institution in economic, political and finally military/ security terms what is the role or point of the nation state?”
    @s thomas October 8th, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    If this is your genuinely held view you clearly don’t understand the EU. The EU is a trans-national organisation that that exists because its 28 members wish it to. They have agreed that certain areas are better managed across the whole of Europe, rather than piece-meal via individual parliaments.

    They have created a structure that does what the treaties each have signed say it does. They agree to abide by a central court (ECJ) to ensure that the treaties are obeyed. The EU is driven from the member states, and the European Council is its most powerful body.

    No one is saying it is perfect, but it is much better than many alternatives; and one of those alternatives is 28 independent states all pulling in different directions. Just on 28 currencies alone can you imagine how awful that would be?

    The EU goes as far as the 28 want it to. Each gets to put up their hand and put forth what they want from it. All agree or it doesn’t move forward.

    What I am expecting to happen is the 28 become 27, and we get some special associate status. That means nothing changes here in the UK, and the ECJ still applies. Free movement ends in name only, so we get back control, but only when the EU let us.

    The transition deal becomes the final outcome, rolled over every two years (until we can work out what we want). We get all the benefits of being in the EU, but lose the power to influence it.

    Alternatively, we have a hard Brexit. April 2019 will be awful. Many businesses will stop, and many lay off staff (‘temporarily until we can work out the new terms to trade again’). It is difficult to see exactly how this would then pan out, but sunny uplands are something I still can’t see. In this case can someone please add flesh to the bones of Brexit? How will it succeed?

  46. @Danny “But that still means only 1/3 of the nation felt strongly enough about it to vote leave. Leave have to face 2/3 of the nation who were never committed to it, should we leave and it goes wrong.”

    That can just as easily be re-worded:

    “But that still means only 1/3 of the nation felt strongly enough about it to vote remain. Remain have to face 2/3 of the nation who were never committed to it, should we remain and it goes wrong.”

    If you don’t vote you’re not counted – figuratively and literally.

  47. Mark: my own prognostications are excellent,

    It’s predictions I tend to get wrong…

  48. sea change,
    “That can just as easily be re-worded:

    “But that still means only 1/3 of the nation felt strongly enough about it to vote remain. Remain have to face 2/3 of the nation who were never committed to it, should we remain and it goes wrong.””

    yes of course, but the yardstick is the success we have benefitted from while a member. Everyone understood the terms for remain and the likely economic outcome. Remain would have meant –no change.

    If leave can deliver a successfull brexit, then everything is fine. If they fail to do so, as I said 2/3 will immediately get up and say they never voted for it, and of those who did vote leave, the majority will claim they were misled. (which they will have been, because leave promised a success)

  49. Danny,

    I prefer to think of Starmer developing policy not changing; and. let’s be clear he clears any developments with Corbyn and his team in advance. (McDonnell and maybe Gardner are the potential problems).

    Patrick, yes labour has 10 or so strong leaver MPs who would see a customs union with the EU as a betrayal of the referendum.
    There would be at least as many Tory MPs supporting that position though, along with virtually all other MPs except the DUP.

    Think Labours next manifesto will talk about seeking a CU with the EU and privileged SM access, subject to negotiations not ruling anything out etc. The trick is to maintain some ambiguity yet enough development to counter charges of not having a policy fit for what would be a post GE situation.

    Seems to me a GE before the transitional period has expired, which may require an extension, is necessary to allow voters to have a say or more accurately give a victor a mandate. Notwithstanding domestic policies will have a big influence on the result as well of course.

  50. We’rrrrrrrrrre dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooomed.

    [and that’s looking on the bright side.]

1 4 5 6 7