Who's up and who's down after an eventful party conference?by Rebecca Coulson / October 7, 2015 / Leave a comment
What a difference a Shredded Wheat makes. Thanks to his eschewal of a third (“terms are like Shredded Wheat—two are wonderful but three might just be too many,” the PM told the BBC before the election), we all know that David Cameron’s days as leader of the Conservative Party are limited.
The party conference must have—for him—been an odd mixture of triumph and fledgling valediction. For others, however, it’s been a breeding ground of possibility. Unsurprisingly, all eyes have been on his conceivable successors, and all ears on their potentially game-changing speeches. Here’s a look at how each is faring after this conference:
We know how popular Boris is. We also know, however, that he hasn’t had a great year, politically. Aside from having become an MP again, and remaining incomparably revered as Mayor of London, that is… But Boris likes to zoom for the sky (except at Heathrow), and leadership and cabinet-seat-wise, things haven’t being going so well. So, the question is—has that just changed?
Well, there’s been almost unanimous praise for his conference speech. I heard one person claiming that they “hadn’t seen a reaction like that since Thatcher.” There was no shortage of comedy lines—he described Corbynites as people who “ferment anti-capitalism as if it were some fruity alcopop.” But he was also serious, and convincingly compassionate, highlighting issues such as FGM, the pay gap, and (most significantly) the cutting of tax credits. He emanated—without the need for an auto-cue or a hairbrush—the thought: “Look how great I’ve made London, let me do the same for everywhere else!”
Verdict: It’s undoubted that he’d have been a superb corraller of spirits if Labour had won, but whether people see Boris as a future Prime Minister is less certain.
Betfair odds: 23/5
If it weren’t for the Boris speech, there would have been a more obvious starting place for this run-down of Conservative leadership contenders. Manchester is not only the home of the Northern Powerhouse; it also houses the constituency of the Powerhouse’s father—the most beloved man in the party. ConservativeHome’s polling on…