Boris Leading Hunt by Over 2:1 in Final ConHome Poll

Not much to celebrate for Hunt in what was meant to be the final ConHome members’ survey before ballots go out – except many ballots have gone out already. He trails Boris by more than 2:1 on just 29% compared to 67%. There’s 3.6% of Tories who still back “other”, looks like they haven’t given up hope that Rory walks again…

Rory Stewart Jumps to Second Place With Tory Members

Looks like Rory Stewart’s ‘unique’ style of campaigning hasn’t done him too much harm, he’s managed an improbable jump into second place in the latest ConHome leadership survey. He’s still going to need at least another eight votes if the fun is going to continue. He tells The Sun he is still “one or two votes short”…

Raab and Gove have both been pushed down a place and fall under 10% for the first time in months, Hunt has closed the gap slightly while the Saj has managed to put a bit of distance between himself and the remaining candidates. Hancock looks to have cleared the 16-vote bar with George Freeman’s switch from Gove yesterday, the other three all have work to do. The membership won’t be too distraught either way, it’s just 2% for McVey and Leadsom while Hancock and Harper don’t even muster 1%…

It’s all a bit academic anyway, these are all molehills compared to Boris Johnson’s towering peak – breaking the 50% mark for the first time. His smooth launch yesterday failed to offer any kind of gamechanging gaffe his rivals need to dent his imposing lead. It’s increasingly starting to look like a race for second place…

Leavers in the Lead With Tory Members

The latest ConservativeHome leadership survey is out and it’s largely as you were from last month. Brexiteers are still the clear favourites among the Tory membership, occupying all the first four slots. Gove has partially closed the gap to Raab while there’s been a #SurgeForSteve in fourth place. Rory Stewart’s selfie antics have helped him take the top Remain spot off Jeremy Hunt who slips back from fourth to sixth. A reinvigorated Esther McVey has also received a small boost, she’s the last candidate to beat ‘other’…

It’s bad luck for the rest of the pack – Cleverly, Javid, Leadsom, Mordaunt and Hancock all score sub-3%, outside bets Malthouse, Brady and Harper don’t even clock 1%. It’s not a million miles away from the current state of public MP declarations. Predictably Remainers are doing better with the Parliamentary party with than the grassroots…

Get in touch with any updates… full spreadsheet order-order.com/backers.

Boris Fends Off All Challengers in Latest Tory Run-Off Poll

ConservativeHome have done a fresh round of Tory leadership run-offs to see how different combinations of the final two candidates fare with the members in their survey. It’s bad news for Jeremy Hunt whose Brexiteer drag act has not fooled the membership – Hunt loses all four matchups. Sajid Javid doesn’t fare much better, only notching up one narrow 36%-35% win against Hunt…

Out of a maximum of 400 percentage points up for grabs the scorecard for and against was as above. Michael Gove gets a mixed reception among the members, he sees off Remainers Javid (44%-31%) and Hunt (43%-29%) but comfortably loses out to outspoken Brexiteers Dominic Raab (52%-36%) and Boris Johnson (57%-34%). Boris rules the roost, in the final run-off he holds off Raab by 7% (46%-39%). It’s a big change from the last set of run-offs when Boris was nowhere and it was a knife-edge result between Gove and Javid…

84% of Tory Members Opposed to Customs Union

Part-time Prime Minister Oliver Letwin is having another go at his ‘indicative votes’, with MPs set to vote on the same set of options they rejected last week. Funny how Remainers complaining about May bringing her deal back again haven’t been making the same fuss about Letwin’s antics…

ConHome have done their own set of indicative votes among the Tory membership, finding massive grassroots opposition to any of the options apart from No Deal. Nearly 90% are opposed to Customs Union membership, revoking Article 50 or a second referendum, while 79% oppose ‘Common Market 2.0’, with barely double figures in favour of them. It’s daft that otherwise sensible ministers and MPs are even thinking of adopting the worst possible Brexit outcome…

Tory Members Now Back May’s Deal

For the first time, ConservativeHome’s authoritative survey of Tory members has shown that over 60% now reluctantly back the Withdrawal Agreement for the first time. Just 36% remain opposed. Members can see that No Deal simply isn’t the alternative any more…

More key Brexit influencers have also reached the same conclusion today – “Brexiteers’ Brain” Shanker Singham declares that MPs’ best chance of still getting to a Canada plus-style Brexit is voting for the deal, while BrexitCentral’s Jonathan Isaby has reluctantly concluded the same. There are still routes to a proper Brexit if the deal goes through, if the UK doesn’t leave now the chance may be gone for decades or more…

Grayling’s Approval Rating With Tories Hits All Time Low

Chris Grayling has sunk to one of the lowest approval ratings the ConservativeHome members survey has ever seen, plummeting to more than ten points behind even Philip Hammond, who he had been neck and neck with at the bottom of the table since July. Grayling is the only Brexiteer in the bottom dozen Cabinet ministers, in a league table that overwhelmingly rewards Brexit credentials. Tory members think he’s useless, that is apart from one Tory, Theresa May. Her debt of gratitude to him for managing her leadership campaign must surely be reaching the limit.

Tory Grassroots Now Negative Towards Cabinet

This is from the ever useful ConservativeHome reader survey is interesting. Mark Wallace has aggregated the Cabinet’s net approval ratings into one figure. He uses it to chart “the stark decline of Tory morale”, it is he says “the first time the whole Cabinet has had an overall negative approval rating in the ConservativeHome survey… That is a pretty devastating verdict from grassroots members on the Government’s direction of travel.” Collective Cabinet responsibility means that leadership contenders are now contaminating their own brands…

Next week, when May’s government loses the meaningful vote, it will be a repudiation of the policy and the Prime Minister who drove it. More letters will go in to Graham Brady as more Tory backbenchers come to the conclusion that her premiership is unsalvageable. A no confidence vote will, if Tory MPs have any sense of self-preservation, lead at the very least to a complete change of government direction. This is the last chance to achieve a Brexit that really means Brexit.

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…

Mogg: You Wonder Whether the Government Really Wants to Leave

“Inevitably it is disconcerting when the Government says one thing and then agrees to do another. In terms of these negotiations, particularly as they’re led by someone who backed Remain, trust is very important. And it’s very important that the Government maintains faith with those who voted leave.

I think for the Government to be preparing for failure two and half years before the point at which they ought to be ready is just weak.

To go into the negotiations to say to Mr Barnier, ‘we will kowtow before you in every way you possibly want if we cannot get everything ready by the due date’ encourages him to say, ‘just kowtow, I’m quite happy’. And make no effort to come to a sensible agreement, I think it is a sign of abject weakness.”

If we say to the EU our backstop position is that will be the vassal state, why should the EU make any effort to make any arrangement other than for us to be anything other than for us to be a vassal state? This was always a problem with what was agreed in December and the problem with having creative ambiguity. Which is simply a way of trying to gull voters. Actually Governments should not have creative ambiguity, they should be straight with electorates about what they mean. And they should say what they mean, and then do it. I’m afraid this backstop is becoming very attractive to the EU not to offer us anything further. And therefore it is essentially a trap.

The Government should make preparations faster than it is for leaving without a deal. It should be ready to do that because it’s an essential part of the negotiations. It’s not to say that they want to leave without a deal, or even that I want to leave without a deal, but that it would be something a wise government would have spent much more time preparing. It’s been weak about that.”

The other thing that it should do is make it absolutely clear that the money is in return for a trade deal. And if we don’t get a trade deal, if we don’t have it ready to sign immediately after the 29th March, then the EU will not get any money from us. And that no payments will be made until that deal is made. The money is our strongest card, and it seems at the moment to have been given away without anything in return. So I think we need some backbone in these negotiations.

I fear we’re getting to the point where you wonder whether the Government really wants to leave at all.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg echoes the glumness of Brexiters in his ConHome Moggcast…

H/T Sam Coates

ConHome Leadership Survey: Only Brexiters in Double Figures

Interesting numbers from the new ConservativeHome survey of Tory members. Last month just 7% said May should go immediately, that has nearly quadrupled to 26%. A month ago 40% said she should stay for the long haul, that has plummeted to 26%.

In the next leader stakes the Mogg remains the grassroots favourite (even though it’s not going to happen), with Gove and Boris the only others in double figures. The highest scoring Remainer is Amber Rudd on a lowly 6%.

More Tory members want a change at the top now than at any point since the election…

Mogg Tops ConHome Leadership Survey

Jacob Rees-Mogg is top of ConservativeHome’s leadership survey on 23%, well ahead of the the next contender David Davis on 15%. Like Guido and the Mogg himself, ConHome reckon Jacob isn’t a serious contender and this is a protest vote in the absence of a decent candidate. Editor Paul Goodman says “In our view, Jacob Rees-Mogg is the beneficiary of party member disillusion with the present senior options for replacing her”. Quite.

In any case it is Tory MPs who select two candidates for the membership to choose from, Rees-Mogg will not be one of them. Note that “other” is in second place. Would be interesting to see a survey with the full raft of younger potential runners and riders…

Davis Leads Boris in ConHome Leadership Survey

David Davis leads Boris Johnson by 24% to 18% in ConHome’s new Tory leadership survey of 1,191 readers, though the clear winner is the ‘none of the above’ option on 30%. DD’s grown-up handling of Brexit is serving him well with the Tory grassroots, as was always his plan. Boris’ recent outbreak of Torbynism won’t help him with members. Not real appetite for Hammond or Rudd at all. In terms of the “others” suggested by readers, Raab was most popular on 2%, Gove behind him. No Ruth Davidson surge…

2 in 3 Tory Members Say May Should Go

ConservativeHome’s poll of Tory members shows the anger across the party – 2 in 3 members surveyed said May should resign. Wiser heads are appealing for calm. If May were to go immediately, replaced by a new leader and a likely second election this year, there is a chance Corbyn could become PM. As things stand, however bad the result, Labour still lost and the Tories are still the government. There is a lot of anger around but it is a case of ‘careful what you wish for’…

Tory MPs and ministers want blood and May’s chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill are in the firing line. Expect some sort of behind the scenes Downing Street adviser reshuffle but also remember just how much May depends on Nick and Fi. Also expect a return to Cabinet government. Last night’s hurried announcement of Boris, Hammond, Rudd, Fallon and Davis staying in place shows where the power now lies. Angry Tories should not forget what the Corbynista hipsters don’t seem to understand: Labour still lost, May is still PM, the Tories are still in charge and things could be a lot, lot worse…

Mark Wallace on Only Connect

ConservativeHome’s Mark Wallace, a secret quiz buff, and his team are through to the next round on the BBC show Only Connect after a comfortable victory last night. Plaudits must also go to FT brainbox Josh Spero.

Gove Leads With ConHome Readers

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Another boost for those who want to see Gove as Deputy PM – once again he is the firm leadership frontrunner among ConHome readers, eight points ahead of Boris. Gove has led the field for three consecutive months. That said BoJo has had a good month, rising 8 points. May is the highest scoring Remainer, Osborne and Saj are languishing again…

Media Minister Monitor: Leave Winning Air War

MMM April the ministers

Ambitious ministers with an eye on the leadership provided seven new entries for our Media Minister Monitor this month. Top of the charts is Dominic Raab, a sound-as-a-pound Eurosceptic who has been attracting admirers in recent weeks. Mooted candidates Andrea Leadsom, Stephen Crabb and Penny Mordaunt have all received their first leaderboard position since MMM started in February. Gove was in the top 10 for the first time. In total, six of the top ten are Outers. Leave are winning the ministerial air war…

Here is the spreadsheet with all the ministerial broadcast appearances for March. The rules: we monitor which ministers appeared answering questions in interviews. Note this will not include doorsteps, only scheduled appearances.

Gove Tops ConHome Poll Again

Gove extends his lead as ConHome readers’ favourite for next Tory leader, rising another five points this month. May also had a good month, though Boris slipped a couple of points and Osborne dropped another percentage point to just 8%. Will certainly add fuel to those Gove for deputy PM rumours…

ConHome Poll: Buy Boris, Sell Osborne

Boris is well out in front in the latest ConHome Tory leadership survey, taking a 13 point lead on his closest rival. Second and third place go to Gove and Fox, two of the most vocal Eurosceptics, while Osborne slumps to fourth place on a dire 11%. According to this snapshot May and Saj are out of it. The Leavers are on the up, the Remainers are on the slide. Boris’ gamble looks to be paying off…

Feldman’s Record Breaking Disapproval Swing

Beleagured Lord Feldman’s Tory bullying troubles have not gone unnoticed among party members. The Tory chairman has suffered a record-breaking 53 point drop in his net satisfaction rating among ConHome readers, the largest one month fall ever recorded. He is also the first to have a negative approval rating this parliament.[…] Read the rest

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