The Boris Paradox: Hated by the Elite, Loved by Voters

Boris has again topped the ConservativeHome reader survey, taking 1 in 4 votes (24.25%). Sajid Javid (11.6%), Dominic Raab (11%) and David Davis (10.5%) trail far behind. All the other hopefuls are also rans, not even making it into double figures. The ConservativeHome survey is of course not a representative weighted survey of members, it has however in the past been reasonably accurate and there is little doubt that with more than double the support of anyone else Boris is the clear front runner. Except with Tory MPs, who if May should fall next week would in all likelihood prefer a boring, steady-as-she-goes leader. That didn’t work out so well last time…

Boris is detested by his former colleagues in the political media. The overwhelmingly remain-backing political class will never forgive him for leading the Leave campaign to success. The broadsheets traduce him every day. The political editors of the tabloids look for any excuse to give him a kicking. Yet only last month he was once again found to be the most popular leading politician in England

So that is the paradox of Boris; loved by the Tory membership, detested by Tory MPs, popular in the country despite the daily drubbing in the national media. Proven to be able to win votes against the odds in London (twice) and during the referendum. His appeal to voters is strong, and rational Tory MPs who want to beat off the threat from Corbyn will need to focus on who can win votes. Keeping Corbyn out of Downing Street is in the national interest, Boris is the most likely person to do that…

Boris Johnson’s Speech to the DUP

Boris: Backstop “Makes A Complete Nonsense of Brexit”

Brexit big beats are hitting out against the Northern Irish backstop. Boris’ intervention comes as the number of Tory MPs committed to voting against the withdrawal agreement reaches 88. That’s more than half of backbench Tory MPs…

With or Without Water Cannon, Boris Brought Down Crime, Unlike Sadiq

Much has been made of Sadiq’s sale of Boris’ water cannon today. It’s easy to forget that the three cannon were purchased at a time when there were great fears of civil unrest in the wake of the London riots. Guido understands that Cameron had privately agreed he’d licence them if there was another riot. However, Theresa May blocked it politically, asking for copious safety assurances, which were met by the Mayor’s Office and the Met but then ignored by the Home Secretary.

A source close to Boris told Guido “Boris made tackling crime his top priority when he came into office… he reduced the murder rate by 50% and brought overall crime down by 20%. This is a legacy the new mayor has sadly been unable to match.”

It looks to Guido as if Boris’ overall approach worked…

Boris is Still UK’s Most Popular Politician

Boris Johnson tops out YouGov’s list of politicians by popularity, with a positive rating of 32%, when you look at the net approval ratings Boris is 3 points ahead of Theresa. The other Tory frontrunners to replace May, David Davis and Sajid Javid come in at 18th and 33rd respectively. Despite the unforgiving treatment in the remainstream media Boris still has better net approval ratings than both May and Corbyn…

More people have heard of Jacob Rees-Mogg (72%) than Ruth Davidson (62%), however the people who have the highest recognition ratings are Boris, May and Corbyn coming in at 97%, 100%, and 98% respectively. This helps explain Sajid’s dismally low numbers…

Finally, the public don’t appear to be too enthusiastic about a David Cameron comeback. Despite his name recognition, Dave comes in at 23rd, with just 18% approval and a worse negative rating than Nigel Farage…

ConHome Leader Survey: Boris Still Leading… Just

Sajid Javid continues to inch his way up in the estimations of Tory members, meanwhile Boris’ support has slipped by ten percentage points. Last Month Boris was on 30%, and David Davis on 6%. This month Boris falls to 19%, with DD soaring to third place on 13%. Michael Gove, who once topped the survey is now firmly in the also rans. The wider top ten includes the fresh faces of Penny Morduant, Liz Truss and James Cleverly. It’s a very wide field and there’s all to play for…

May Swerves Boris on Backstop

Brexiteers are not coming away particularly reassured on the backstop by May’s Commons statement. A number of times May was asked directly to confirm that the backstop would be time-limited. May insisted the backstop would be temporary but refused to give a firm answer on when it would end or how the UK could escape from it. Her answer to Boris is best described as aspirational…

“As I said when we published the temporary customs arrangement proposal back in June, we set that point of the expectation that that would be completed by December 2021. One of the issues as I indicated in my statement that we are discussing with the EU is how we can ensure that we do reflect the temporary nature of the backstop… I continue to believe that what we should all be doing is working to ensure that the backstop never comes into place…”

May’s response to a question on no deal being agreed has also raised a few eyebrows:

“If it were the case that at the end of the negotiation process actually it was a no deal… then actually that would come back to this House and then we would see what position this House would take in the circumstances.”

Is she going to shift her position on no deal too?

Boris “Chuck Chequers”

 

This is what the crowd wanted to hear…

Watch/Read in Full: Boris’ Speech

Eager punters have been queuing round the block for hours ahead of Boris’ big speech at Tory Conference, with an extra tier being opened up to take the hall to its full capacity of 1,500. Here’s what they heard Boris say:

“Good afternoon my friends and fellow ConHomers.

It is great to be here in Birmingham where so many thoroughfares in the city are already named after our superb Conservative Mayor. I know this conference is going to be a staggering success because just in the last couple of days about a dozen far left momentum activists have kindly pledged their loyalty by ringing my private mobile phone. I put them straight on to Brandon. Continue reading

Naughty Boris Runs Through Field of Wheat

As Tory delegates gather in Birmingham, Boris was out and about enjoying some fresh countryside air near his Oxfordshire home this morning, with one eagle-eyed snapper even managing to capture him running through what appears to look suspiciously like a field of wheat. The farmers can’t be the only ones who aren’t too pleased about that…

Tory Members Overwhelmingly Back Boris

Tory members still overwhelmingly back Boris for leader, the latest ConHome members survey has found, with the former Foreign Secretary and Brexit winner more than ten points ahead of his nearest rival, Sajid Javid.

After a muted Telegraph column from Boris today, all eyes will be on his big ‘Chuck Chequers’ speech to Tory conference, 1pm tomorrow…

Two-Timing Boris

Boris has managed to give his exclusive “first interview since resigning” to both the BBC’s Laura K and Sky’s Beth Rigby at the same time. Watch his BBC interview here

UPDATE: It turns out Boris gave not two but three interviews in the same room which have all gone out at the same time today – ITV’s Robert Peston has got in on the act too.

Boris Backs IEA’s Alternative Brexit Plan

Boris has given his backing to the IEA’s alternative Brexit plan launched this morning, telling Channel 4 News that it is a “very good piece of work” which “shows the flaws with Chequers” and deals with some of the “difficult questions” around the Irish border.

Brexiteers have been on the back foot since Chequers because of the accusation that they did not have a credible alternative. Now they believe they do…

UPDATE: Boris tweets…

Politicians With Specs Appeal Seem More Competent

No US president since Harry Truman has regularly worn glasses in public because spin doctors believe and say it makes them look old and feeble. According to research published in the Swiss Journal of Social Psychology that is bad advice because glasses are associated with ‘success, dependability, industry and intelligence’. Psychologists have discovered voters prefer politicians in glasses because they seem intelligent and competent. The research by the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Vienna found spectacles enhance a politician’s air of competence easily and effectively, increasing their probability of electoral success. Just saying…

Boris Triggered by “Glutinous Hypocrisy” of “Bourgeois” Left-Wing Students

Boris Johnson has revealed that he wasn’t always conservative-leaning. At an awards ceremony in Washington DC last night, Boris admitted that he was actually “pretty middle of the road” until he was “triggered” at university by “bourgeois, affluent, hypocritical left-wing students”. If he thinks it was bad 30 years ago, he should try visiting one today

Boris: UK Must Not be Sucked Back by “Tractor Beam” of Brussels

Boris Johnson escaped from the British media storm last night by travelling to Washington DC to receive the Irving Kristol Award from the pro-free market American Enterprise Institute, joining a list of previous recipients including John Howard and Benjamin Netanyahu. However, being on a different continent did not stop him from diving back into the Brexit debate as he launched a thinly-veiled attack on the PM’s Brexit plans:

“We have a choice, and I would just say to all you scholars and supporters of the American Enterprise Institute, this is a critical moment for everybody who cares about free markets, about competition, about global free trade, about all the things… that have lifted billions of people out of poverty…”

“It is difficult but the last thing we want now is for us – the Brits – having made this momentous decision to go for Brexit, to be sucked back by the tractor beam of Brussels… into the orbit, the regulatory lunar pull…

“We’ve done the right thing, but having done that, we’ve got to make sense of it and there is no point at all coming out of the EU, only to remain effectively in large measure, run by the EU. If you’re going to take back control, use it for a purpose.”

Downing Street will probably be hoping he stays over there a bit longer…

Current No. 10 Aide Co-Authored Boris “Dodgy Dossier”

The revelation on the front page of yesterday’s Sunday Times that a “dodgy dossier” recounting some of the more colourful aspects of Boris Johnson’s private life was doing the rounds has sparked yet more bitter recriminations within the Tory Party, with Boris supporters accusing Downing Street and CCHQ of circulating it in an attempt to take down their biggest threat. Downing Street and CCHQ have strenuously denied being behind it.

The Sunday Times named Nick Hargrave, the former deputy head of May’s policy unit, as the author of the dossier in 2016. Hargrave quit Number 10 for Portland Communications last Autumn and is not implicated in the recent distribution of the dossier.

However, Guido understands that Hargrave in fact prepared the dossier under the guidance of Alex Dawson, May’s Political Director, who is still in place in Number 10 today. Dawson and Hargrave are believed to have also prepared dossiers on several other potential candidates in the 2016 leadership election. This was at the same time that May was calling on other candidates to sign “clean campaigning” pledges…

Downing Street have insisted that no-one updated or circulated the dossier, despite widespread speculation amongst the lobby that the dossier had recently been updated. Why did it suddenly resurface, last week of all weeks?

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Sajid: Boris “Absolutely Not” Islamophobic

Marr: Do you think [Boris] is Islamophobic?

Javid: No, absolutely not. Not in the slightest.

Sajid pours lukewarm to cold water on any talk of leadership…

Boris Storms Ahead of Rivals

Number 10 will be spluttering into their cornflakes this morning after seeing the latest ConHome survey. Boris has stormed ahead of all the other contenders with 35% of Tory Party members now backing him to be next PM, ahead of Sajid Javid on 15%.[…] Read the rest

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