Rishi Sunak has reinforced his lead in the eyes of the bookies. This quote is from 8.30am Sunday 23rd.
This would normally look a done deal, but I think the bookies are pricing on the outcome of the parliamentary vote and not on “who will be the UK – next prime minister”.
The flow-chart below is key
The diagram above shows just what a problem Rishi Sunak faces if he is to become prime minister.
Despite Johnson’s camp calling his 100 MP support ridiculously prematurely, it looks likely that he will get 100 member and if he does , then the only thing that can stop the candidates having to face a vote from members is that Johnson voluntarily withdraws (or simply never declares his candidature).
Put another way, assuming the Conservative party parliamentary party splits as it is splitting, this is a “public” vote and once again the nation will have to suffer the consequences of a populist decision. That decision looks like being for Johnson. Johnson is considered the wild card who could turn round party fortunes and win them another term.
In conclusion, we are once again hostage to the vested interests of less than 200,000 members of the Conservative policy. We are conflating their interests with those of the country and their interest is likely to be best served by another Prime Minister recklessly rolling the dice in a “heads we win, tails we would have lost anyway” gamble with out money, our mortgages , our pensions and our economic reputation.
On our economic reputation
This is how the FT wants the Conservative Party to behave
The alternative is for the Conservatives to stop bleating about the party and focus on the national interest. The aim should be to steady the ship until 2024 — if an election takes that long. Hunt has said, honourably, that he will continue at the Treasury. This means that the only plausible candidate for the top job is Rishi Sunak, whose warnings during the summer about Truss’s fantasy economics were spot on, and who MPs preferred only four months ago.
Isn’t it extraordinary that the voice of business and financial rectitude is considering the Conservative Party a threat to financial stability?
Johnson holds all the aces
This is what people mean by Rishi Sunak leading
Or – as the Telegraph frames it
Last night, Sunak and Johnson had talks , nothing as yet has come of those talks and they must have been “difficult”. Johnson has no reason to withdraw , other than it clearly being in the country’s interest, he has shown that he considers that a low priority. His relentless pursuit of power is based on his sense of his “being right” – something that he shares with Liz Truss.
Sunak must wonder what he came into politics for , if he is to play second fiddle to two such people. I have said before that Sunak was loved and Truss was loathed as a Treasury Minister. That was because Sunak was low-ego, listened and paid attention to detail, Truss and did not. It is well know that Johnson will listen, placate and ignore.
That I suspect is what happened last night and that is why I expect three things to happen unless there is some intervention
- Sunak will win the parliamentary vote and find himself in a play off
- The Conservative party will vote for Johnson on a “shit or bust” call to win the next election
- The country will continue to go downhill and we may not make it till the end of this parliamentary term, to be having these conversations again.
Meanwhile things are not getting done, the markets are rightfully restless and I expect them to take a dim view of all this. Interest rates will rise with bond yields, pension schemes could start hitting their collateral buffers and the cost of living crisis will worsen as our remaining wriggle room is cramped by the huge increase in the cost of our Government’s borrowing.