LIVE at 20:10
    • Latest Tweets:

Friday 12 July 2019

A series of polls over the last twenty-four hours have sharpened our understanding of the current state of the Conservative Party and members’ appetite for Brexit.

A YouGov survey of almost 400 party members who joined since the last general votes found that 59% chose to sign up for the opportunity to elect the next leader and prime minister.

According to YouGov’s findings, a whopping third (34%) of all members voting in the current leadership election, joined in the past two years.

Leave.EU’s Blue Wave campaign to recruit new members with conservative values in order to help select a pro-Brexit leader has been a success, that much is evident from polls from the leadership race itself.

A Conservative Home poll of party members has yet again put Boris Johnson way out in the lead on 72%. ConHome also point out that recent polls all give Johnson a healthy margin, with Jeremy Hunt never getting above 30%.

Trying to prise a glimmer of hope for the liberal elites are the BBC and Sky’s political editors, Laura Kuenssberg and Beth Rigby who both claim that, contrary to expectations, less than half of ballots have been returned. Rigby says that two other sources have verified her finding. While Tory members are not the kind to hang about with this type of thing, it stands to reason that many would want to hold out until tonight’s grilling at the hands of Andrew Neill (7.00 pm, BBC 1) before finally committing.

That doesn’t mean to say there’s any danger of Boris losing. Brexit defines and directs everything. He is the only Leaver on the ballot, which is why he’ll soon be moving to Downing Street. Another poll, this one by ORB, finds that a staggering 44% of Conservative members will not vote for their own party at the next election if Britain is not out of the European Union by October 31st. The deadline is Johnson’s cri de guerre, while Hunt has fudged, refusing to rule out an extension.

Will Boris be held to the sword in the event he fails though? Another YouGov Poll found an overwhelming majority (48%-24%) of voters think he should resign if he doesn’t take Britain out of the EU by the end of October, however when the sample is limited to Conservative voters only, the result is even, 38%-39%. One wonders whether Boris’s popularity with Conservatvie voters will enable him to get away with yet another Article 50 add-on.

The Tories under Boris will be a “blood and guts” pro-Leave party, or at least that’s how his team are portraying the incoming administration, the Brexit Party are a far more credible force for independence. Leading Tory figures therefore don’t have much of a future unless they sing to the same Leave tune. This explains why Amber Rudd – she who helped to mastermind the government’s motion to rule out No Deal – has turned full circle in praise of threatening Brussels with No Deal as a tactic, describing it as “part of the armoury”.

“Both candidates have said that no deal is part of the armory and the negotiations going forward. And I have accepted that,” Rudd, who’s brother, PR king Roland Rudd was a pivotal backer of the Remain campaign, told TalkRadio.

“The situation is that we are leaving by the end of October, but it would be so much better to get a deal.”

The work and pensions secretary went onto emphasise how important it is to get a deal with Brussels.

Rudd is still backing Jeremy Hunt for the top job, but she knows he’s going to lose and is duly preparing the ground for Boris’s arrival, doing everything to hold onto her job. Typical.