Responding to this tweet from Adam Bienkov:
Gary Gibbon: Discontented Tory backbenchers want Philip Hammond or Liam Fox to replace Cameron. Boris doesn’t even register #channel4news
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) September 10, 2012
It struck me that I actually had some political gossip that was relevant. A while ago I saw an old university pal who is now a professional Tory (not the one who’s an MP, good god, or the one who works for Donal Blaney for his sins, the other one). His take on Tory internal politics was that there were three important facts.
- Everybody is furious with George Osborne, and they feel he let them down after promising the earth
- All the party’s micro-currents are united by their deep mistrust, bordering on hatred, of Boris Johnson
- The only Tories who actually think Boris is a good thing are personal followers of David Cameron
Now, the condition of Boris or anyone else becoming Tory leader is that he has to get rid of Cameron, so 3 makes it very unlikely that Boris can do it, unless something dramatic happened to Cameron and his personal following glommed onto Boris. But there is a further problem, which is that Cameron’s personal followers aren’t really a winning hand in a game of Which Politician Would Win A Knife Fight.
Adam’s sources apparently suggest that either Philip (“Spreadsheet” or “Greasy” Phil) Hammond or Liam “The Man Who Knew Too Little” Fox is in the frame. As far as Fox goes, they must be crazier than we think, but Hammond? Nobody’s going to love him, but his term at MOD has been significantly less bad than Fox’s was, or really anyone’s since George Robertson. At least neither of them is Michael Gove.