From near its start in 2005 to Boris Johnson’s election in 2019, this site ran a monthly poll on who the next Party leader should be. We halted it because the question seemed otiose – especially after the Prime Minister’s substantial general election win that year.
The Conservatives have led in Politico’s poll of polls, with one brief period where the main parties were level, since shortly before Johnson won the leadership.
The big picture still is that Labour is in the doldrums and the Tories riding higher. The odds are that the Prime Minister will gain a second term when the next election comes.
We don’t believe that there should be a leadership change before then, and doubt whether there will be a challenge in any event. However, we aren’t sure, for two main reasons.
First, because either lockdown will return in the autumn, or else politics is resuming as normal. In either case, Conservative MPs will be more restive than they were during the suspension of ordinary politics caused by the pandemic.
Second, because, since the departure of Dominic Cummings, Johnson has been acting as his own political strategist. This makes him unique in recent years: even Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, strong leaders both, worked closely with a few senior colleagues.
This combination is fissile, and one is never quite sure, in any event, whether the Prime Minister will end up having pubs named after him or, like his great-grandather, end up being lynched by his colleagues. Possibly both.
For better or worse, we think that, while it would be excessive to bring back the Next Tory Leader question monthly, ConHome should no longer just let it be.
So our plan is to ask it say four times a year: as Parliament breaks up for the summer; in the wake of the annual Conservative Party Conference; in our end of year survey, and at Easter or thereabouts.
It will therefore be bunged in to our July survey, which will go out towards the end of next week. Feel free to suggest below which Tory MPs should be listed in it.