UK Conservative leadership: Johnson 66.4%, Hunt 33.6%

Boris Johnson to become British PM after a crushing victory in a Conservative members’ vote, but suffers a parliamentary defeat even before becoming PM. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at The University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The result of the Conservative members’ ballot for leader was declared on July 23. Boris Johnson defeated Jeremy Hunt by 66.4% to 33.6%, out of the almost 139,000 valid votes cast. Johnson will become British PM on July 24, after Theresa May formally resigns. He has repudiated the Northern Ireland backstop arrangement in Theresa May’s deal. It is very unlikely that an agreement with the European Union can be reached without such a backstop, making a no-deal Brexit more likely.

On July 18, the Commons voted by 315 to 274 to accept an amendment that would make it more difficult for Johnson to prorogue (suspend) Parliament to force a no-deal Brexit. Just one Labour MP voted with the Conservatives while 17 Conservative MPs voted with Labour, and there were notable Conservative abstentions, including current Chancellor Philip Hammond.

While this was a decisive defeat for Johnson’s position, commentator Stephen Bush says that Johnson’s big gamble is not that the Commons will oppose no-deal, it is that the Commons will be unable to agree on something (revoking Brexit, a second referendum, a general election or making Jeremy Corbyn PM) that will actually prevent no-deal occurring. The Commons will rise on July 25 for its summer recess, and is not scheduled to return until September 3. There is a three-week recess for party conferences from mid-September until early October, so there will be less time for Parliament to deal with Brexit. It is unlikely there will be a no-confidence vote before the summer recess.

In five of the seven most recent national polls, Labour had two to six point leads over the Conservatives, but trailed the Conservatives by four points in two YouGov polls. YouGov is the most Conservative-leaning pollster, and it is no coincidence that Labour’s 18%, which I mentioned in my last UK politics article, was from a YouGov poll. There has been some drop in the Brexit party and Liberal Democrat vote, so it has become more of a standard two-party contest.

The most recent ComRes poll had a clear warning for Johnson.  Current voting intentions in that poll were 28% Labour, 25% Conservative, 19% Brexit party and 17% Lib Dem. When asked how they would vote if a new election were held before October 31 with Brexit undelivered, vote shares became 28% Labour, 22% Brexit, just 18% Conservative and 18% Lib Dem. If Brexit is delivered before the next election, vote shares are 32% Conservative, 29% Labour, 18% Lib Dem and 10% Brexit.

Hypothetical polling should be taken with a grain of salt, as people are not good at predicting how they will react to an event.  If Parliament is seen as obstructing Brexit, the Conservatives could do better in the first scenario, although the number of Conservative rebels in such a scenario could itself be damaging. In the second scenario, serious negative economic consequences of a no-deal Brexit would be likely to hurt the Conservatives.

The Brecon & Radnorshire by-election, which I covered in more detail last time, will be held on August 1. A poll has the Lib Dems easily winning with 43%, followed by the Conservatives on 28%, Brexit party 20% and Labour 8%. This result would be a Lib Dem gain from the Conservatives. I will be writing about this by-election result and post-Johnson polls on August 2.

US Democratic presidential primaries and Trump’s re-election prospects

I wrote for The Conversation on July 18 that Joe Biden is leading the Democratic presidential primaries, and is followed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. Donald Trump’s ratings are well below where they should be given the strong US economy. Even with the current economy, he will probably lose in November 2020. If the economy tanks, e.g., due to a no-deal Brexit, he is far more likely to lose.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

104 comments on “UK Conservative leadership: Johnson 66.4%, Hunt 33.6%”

  1. swamprat
    “I heard on the ABC Wireless the other day a proposition from a speaker that he thought the optimum population for a country was between 3 to 7 million. This was based on evidence but i missed noting down who was the speaker. Certainly nordic countries, NZ , Scotland, Ireland fall into that range.”

    So do Bosnia-Herzegovina, Palestine, Lebanon, and Liberia. Hmmm….

  2. swamprat says:
    Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Boerwar

    The first 105 countries in your list are too big!! ‘

    haha

    China and India look a bit stretched…

  3. Swamprat

    I daresay the queen is not partial to interfering by demanding Johnson testing confidence of his leadership in the parliament. But with the whole no deal Brexit being a possibility, who knows what could happen.

  4. Kakuru

    I don’t think he was saying a particular population was determinant of happiness.

    It was based on having sufficient population for creativity and individual diversity while maintaining cohesion, ease of communication and sense of community and keeping government closer to the governed.

  5. Victoria

    How can the Queen be assured she was appointing as PM someone with majority support of the Commons? Isn’t that her constitutional duty? I don’t know am not a lawyer but i thought that was fundamental to a Westminster system that was sorely breached by Kerr the cur in 1975.

  6. Northern Ireland won`t be split up, there is a process for a triggering referendum in Northern Ireland on switching from the UK to Ireland and if it passes and Ireland also agrees in a referendum, then it switches as one and is in the EU (and would switch to the Euro as part of the transition).

    If Scotland leaves a Brexited UK/Great Britain, it has to apply for EU membership from scratch and would thus be required to eventually join the Eurozone, as all post-2000 accession members of the EU are.

  7. Boris is seeing the Monarch at 4 pm.

    There is no Constitutional Crisis that requires the Monarch to act. To suggest that the Monarch would do anything other than accept Boris as PM is absurdity and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the system. I recommend you watch The Crown.

  8. It would be really cool if the Queen abdicated on the explicit basis she would not rule a Kingdom with such a moron as PM, but she isn’t that smart or that cool herself, so they’ll just kiss each others inbreed entitled and mostly useless asses.

  9. Your ugliness is showing.

    Forgive me if I will not respect either a man who has been a useless lazy public disgrace for more than a decade, nor a woman who got everything she got because of whose womb she was pushed out. There is a reason wiser, stronger, more intelligent countries got rid of the stupid institution.

  10. The Welsh are marching.

    “And with Boris Johnson’s ascension to the role of UK prime minister this week – the ultimate personification of the entitlement and arrogance of the south-east of England and its presumption that it can rule and dominate the whole of these isles – this only intensifies the sense that if ever there was a time for nationalists in Wales to come together, beyond the sterile and futile Remainers v Leavers culture war – well this is it.”

    https://nation.cymru/opinion/saturdays-march-is-an-opportunity-to-set-a-political-route-map-for-independence/

  11. TomThe First and Last

    Your statement about joining the Euro is a bit misleading. In short, member countries can join the Euro when they want to.

    EU rules say members will be required to join the Euro eventually, unless they negotiate an opt-out.
    In reality, no member has been forced to adopt the Euro.
    The EU does not have a formal timetable for countries joining the currency, and says “it is up to individual countries to calibrate their path towards the euro”.

    Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, said in 2017: “I have no intention of forcing countries to join the euro if they are not willing or not able to do so”.

    Sweden joined the EU in 1995, and has not yet adopted the euro. Euro membership was defeated in a referendum in 2003, and the country has no formal timetable for signing up. The EU has not exerted significant pressure on Sweden to adopt the euro.

  12. WeWantPaul – the UK system is one of the most successful democracies in history. I don’t particularly have any attachment to the Royals as a people. The current Queen has carried out her Constitutional duties to the highest standards.

    The fact that the UK Royals generate hundreds of millions worth of tourism activities is a nice bonus.

  13. WeWantPaul – the UK system is one of the most successful democracies in history. I don’t particularly have any attachment to the Royals as a people. The current Queen has carried out her Constitutional duties to the highest standards.

    The fact that the UK Royals generate hundreds of millions worth of tourism activities is a nice bonus.

    Mate there is little less based in human merit than the ‘who gave birth to you test’ it is the worst and most stupid test possible. And yeah if you give someone every possible advantage and hold them to no standard ever then people like Trump, Boris and the Queen get very high office, but it is a disgrace and an insult to humanity. How anyone borne after the dark ages fails to comprehend just how f*cked up it is, says a lot about the current state of humanity and the dystopia we are driving towards at a million miles an hour.

  14. Bucephalus

    “the UK system is one of the most successful democracies in history. ”
    ————-

    On what basis can you make that absurd statement.

    It often elects Governments with a majority in Parliament but a minority of electors votes. The previous Tory Government had a comfortable majority on 37% of the vote!! That is 63% of electors did not vote for them!!

    After China, it has the largest non-elected legislative chamber of any country in the world.

  15. In this day and age with integrated economies and modern communications, the single member electoral system results in unrepresentative government.

    It’s an undemocratic system that is partially responsible, i believe, for the growing decline of the quality of government in the anglophone world.

    Items: USA, Australia, UK.

  16. In this day and age with integrated economies and modern communications, the single member electoral system results in unrepresentative government.

    It’s an undemocratic system that is partially responsible, i believe, for the growing decline of the quality of government in the anglophone world.

    Items: USA, Australia, UK.

    I think perhaps, to an extent, you are right, two parties, funnels the money into two places, maximizes the potential for corrupt and dumb, results in really stupid sporting analysis.

    I am beginning to doubt compulsory voting. I also have concerns about ‘get out the vote’ voluntary voting. Between Australia and the US, neither delivers a rational result.

    Is it just humanity is doomed to cycles of stupidity and darkness. Because as it stands climate change is going to f*ck us back to the stone age and before our children die of natural causes, this is no longer a great great great grandchild’s problem, this is people we live with and love now problem.

  17. In other UK news, England are playing Ireland in a test at Lords…

    … and have just been rolled for 85 before lunch on the first day. Brexit metaphors are aflying.

  18. We Want Paul,

    I think compulsory voting is better than the alternative despite its drawbacks.

    The two Party state provides career politicians with more job security. It largely excludes a wide range of voices in Parliament. It leads to stultification as well as corruption. The USA, UK, Australian political systems are, moribund, uninspiring and on the whole full of ignorant, self-serving and quite stupid people.

  19. “I am beginning to doubt compulsory voting. I also have concerns about ‘get out the vote’ voluntary voting. Between Australia and the US, neither delivers a rational result.”

    That actually made me laugh. Your arrogance is astounding.

  20. “Typical rookie mistake – just because Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU doesn’t mean that they wish to leave the United Kingdom.”

    ***

    Well then the UK will have to decide which is more important to them won’t they. They can either keep the UK intact and stay in the EU, or they can leave the EU and face the very real prospect of the UK being reduced to just England and Wales.

  21. “Hang on there who are “the Brits”?

    Scotland voted (65%), i.e. more emphatically than NI, to remain in the EU. It’s the English who want Independence from the EU. Brexit is really Engxit.”

    Totally agree. Scotland shouldn’t be dragged down against their will either. My point about “the Brits” was more highlighting that it’s BRexit (Britain-exit). I probably should have also reminded everyone here that I am a dual citizen of the Republic of Ireland, thus my use of the wording “our country” when referring to Ireland. That’s obviously why I’m more focused on what happens to Northern Ireland.

  22. “That’s quite funny – they want to be independent but be part of the EU – just explain to me how that independence bit works in the EU?”

    Northern Ireland will never be “independent” while they’re still part of the UK, that’s for sure. You’ve actually highlighted the staggering hypocrisy of “Unionist-Leavers” (those who both support the continued union of the UK as well as leaving the EU at the same time). On one hand they claim that the EU is taking away their sovereignty and right to self-determination, yet meanwhile they are quite happy to continue to occupy the north of another country and dictate how they should live. To the Irish, the UK is far more oppressive and tyrannical than the EU is.

    And of course, it’s not just Northern Ireland which is impacted by whatever happens with Brexit. Our Irish brothers and sisters in the North voted to remain in the EU. Why should Ireland as a whole have to sort out England’s Brexit mess for them? We don’t want a bloody hard border running through our country! We don’t want to return to The Troubles of the past. It’s long past time that Ireland be allowed to decide it’s own fate without interference from England.

  23. “Firefox, the DUP’s core aim is to ensure that Northern Ireland stays part of the UK. They will never accept N Ireland joining Ireland.”

    ***

    Yeah I know. The DUP are in huuuuge trouble though and probably won’t have much power at all after the next election. Even their own unionist supporters apparently disagree with the stance the DUP has taken…

    ***

    Shock poll shows DUP hardline on Brexit opposed by their own supporters

    A startling new poll shows the Democratic Unionist Party and their leader, Arlene Foster, are badly out of step with their own voters on the Brexit issue.

    The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is in deep trouble even among their own unionist voters. Sixty-seven percent of voters think they have made a mess out of their Brexit negotiations.

    There was bad news too for DUP party leader Arlene Foster whose job performance on Brexit was disapproved of by 67 percent of the population in the Irish Times poll.

    Irish Times reporter Pat Leahy summarized the poll saying:

    “Translate this into politics: it’s clear from today’s numbers that the Brexit line being pursued by the DUP is significantly at odds not just with the Northern Irish electorate as a whole, but it is also at odds with the views of the Protestant and unionist communities from which the party draws its support.”

    It is clear from the poll that Northern voters want at least a soft Brexit or another vote. In that respect, with Sinn Fein not taking their seats and the DUP pursuing a much harder line than their own supporters want, there is no major party reflecting the views of the moderate voters.

    Meanwhile, if a united Ireland referendum were carried out in the North there would be no majority for unionism.

    Forty-five percent said they would vote to stay in the UK with 32 percent opting for a united Ireland and a massive 23 percent undecided.

    In the Irish Republic, a similar poll showed 62 percent in favor of unification with just 19 percent against.

    https://www.irishcentral.com/news/politics/shock-poll-dup-brexit-opposed-own-supporters

  24. “Northern Ireland will never join the Republic of Ireland. Not ever.”

    Thanks to Brexit, Irish reunification is now far closer to reality than it has ever been. It’s not a question of if it will happen but when.

  25. First YouGov poll since Tory and LibDem leadership changes.

    No Boris bounce, probably already factored in.

    In Scotland the 4 way fracturing in the unionist vote is a wonder to behold. Under the primitive single electorate, FPTP, voluntary voting system, an election result on in accord with this poll should wipeout most Tory and Labour seats in Scotland. 🙂

    Britain-wide voting intentions (YouGov):

    Conservatives 25% (n/c)
    Liberal Democrats 23% (+3)
    Labour 19% (-2)
    Brexit Party 17% (-2)
    Greens 9% (+1)
    SNP 4% (n/c)
    Plaid Cymru 1% (n/c)
    UKIP 1% (+1)

    Scottish subsample:
    SNP 42%,
    Liberal Democrats 18%,
    Brexit Party 13%,
    Labour 11%,
    Conservatives 10%,
    Greens 5%

  26. Re that Yougov poll, note, as per Adrian’s article that Yougov are conservative leaning (just eyeballing off wikipedia, they have the Labour vote on average 7 points (!) below other pollsters).

  27. “Are Scotland and Wales going to have hard borders with England? How would that benefit them?”

    If they leave the UK then they’d have to work that out themselves. Quite possible though. See, it’s about choice here. Scotland and NI voted to remain in the EU. That will to stay in the EU needs to be respected if England and Wales intended on going down the Brexit path, as they are, excruciatingly slowly I might add.

    The real question you should be asking yourself is how does Brexit benefit any of the countries in the UK? All it’s succeeded in achieving so far is creating a massive mess of problems that didn’t exist before or were far easier to manage.

    In lighting a fire under the movements for independence in Scotland and Northern Ireland, Brexit has also backfired spectacularly on conservatives/monarchists/unionists.

  28. Boris’ claims about the ability to do a hard brexit quickly and cheaply are lies. It will require land acquisition to build new freight and customs inspection infrastructure. It would cost billions (and many jobs).

  29. In relation to my comment ‘Not the tiniest sliver of a chance that Trump will lose. Not the tiniest sliver of a chance that a no-deal Brexit will be a net negative for either the UK or the USA.’
    The article and the comments here remind me of this:
    Scott Adams at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrIOkPFr0bI, beginning at 26.00 minutes.
    I am also thinking of polling in general, the comments here at the last federal election, in this post in relation to Trump, pretty much anything on the ABC or SBS, SMH, AFR, and so many other places and in relation to so many issues. It becomes painful to watch.

  30. ‘Bucephalus says:
    Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Are Scotland and Wales going to have hard borders with England? How would that benefit them?’

    If they become members of the EU, yes, regardless of what Wales, NI or Scotland might think.

    England would require the hard borders to protect itself from millions of asylum seekers toddling across the borders.

    After all, it was xenophobic racism that got Brexit kickstarted.

    As for who benefits, apart from racist populists like Farage and BoofJo, hard to say. Perhaps nobody.

  31. “Scotland and NI voted to remain in the EU. That will to stay in the EU needs to be respected if England and Wales intended on going down the Brexit path”

    Complete rubbish – it was a vote of the United Kingdom – not of the separate countries.

  32. ‘Bucephalus says:
    Friday, July 26, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    “Scotland and NI voted to remain in the EU. That will to stay in the EU needs to be respected if England and Wales intended on going down the Brexit path”

    Complete rubbish – it was a vote of the United Kingdom – not of the separate countries.’

    There is no need to ignore the national dimensions of the vote, particularly if you have an interest in democracy and sovereignty, as per the Lamentations of Farage. Irony alert!

    The English, as polled, are ready to ditch the Scots, the Irish and the Welsh to their various fates. Classic english GAGF. So there is no particular reason for any of the three to have much sympathy for the plight of the Sassenachs.

    Having unleased the demons of bastard nationalism, xenophobia, and racism the Little Englanders have only themselves to blame it the UK splits asunder.

    BTW, it may have escaped their attention but if the economies of NI, Wales and Scotland are deducted from the economy of England then the very first achievement of Farage, Bannon, Cameron, May and BoofJo will be a giant leap backwards of the English economy.

  33. While the basis the Cameron Government held the referendum on was a single UK and Gibraltar wide vote, the availability of figures for the constituent parts shows that Gibraltar, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain, with England and Wales voting Leave.

    The referendum was conducted for English Tory Eurosceptics, by rules which they had a disproportionate influence over. Non-Commonwealth EU Citizens resident in the UK, no vote. British citizens resident elsewhere in the EU and not resident in the UK in the previous 15 years, no vote. No veto for constituent countries/provinces.


  34. Bucephalus says:
    Friday, July 26, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    If Scotland and Northern Ireland are stupid enough to split from the UK then good luck to them.

    Scotland and Ireland would end up as states of the European union. The second largest economy in the world. England will be come a small state remembering glories past.

    As the English speaking European financial center is likely to move to Edinburgh I suspect it might be England that needs the good luck.

  35. Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 30% (+7)
    LAB: 28% (+3)
    LDEM: 16% (+1)
    BREX: 15% (-7)
    GRN: 5% (-3)

    via @OpiniumResearch, 24 – 26 Jul
    Chgs. w/ 05 Jul

    Huzzah!

  36. Four UK Polls.

    There has been a Boris Bounce of sorts at the expense of the Brexit Party. The LibDem under their new Tory light leader has not set the world on fire.

    Deltapoll (Britain-wide):

    Conservatives 30% (+10)
    Labour 25% (-1)
    Liberal Democrats 18% (+2)
    Brexit Party 14% (-10)

    Opinium (Britain-wide):

    Conservatives 30% (+7)
    Labour 28% (+3)
    Liberal Democrats 16% (+1)
    Brexit Party 15% (-7)

    YouGov (Britain-wide):

    Conservatives 31% (+6)
    Labour 21% (+2)
    Liberal Democrats 20% (-3)
    Brexit Party 13% (-4)

    ComRes (Britain-wide):

    Conservatives 28% (+3)
    Labour 27% (-1)
    Liberal Democrats 19% (+2)
    Brexit Party 16% (-3)

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