NZ political parties in 2016

Brief reviews of the mid term political year for New Zealand parties.

The main issues have been:

  • Continued shortages of new house building and an escalation of housing prices, especially in Auckland, and an increased focus on homelessness
  • Growing attention given to ‘poverty’ as it is in New Zealand, and the income gap  despite the first increase in benefits in forty years.
  • The Trans Pacific Partnership got a lot of attention early in the year but that fizzled as it became evident that the US was unlikely to ratify it.

National

The National Party would probably have thought they had survived the year quite well, chugging away without doing anything radical, and staying  extraordinarily high in the polls most of the time for  a third term government.

An improving economy along with improving dairy prices have helped.

But Key resigned in December. National selected the Key anointed Bill English to take over, but how a new look National will be seen by the public won’t be known until next year.

Labour

Andrew Little consolidated his leadership, kept the Labour caucus under control and appears he is safe until next year’s election, but he failed to lift his appeal to the public, and Labour must be worried to be stuck in the twenties in the polls.

Labour entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Green Party and they tried to rebrand as a two-party alternative government but that didn’t change the polls much and may have created as many problems as it solved.

Labour finished the year buoyant after successful local body and Mt Roskill by-election campaigns, and noticeably raised in confidence when John Key resigned, but they have failed to impress as a potential lead party in government.

They survived the year and hope to benefit from a Key-less National but haven’t done enough to make a positive impression.

Greens

New co-leader James Shaw settled in without standing out, but Greens have lost one of their most respected MPS, Kevin Hague.

Their big play was the Memorandum of Understanding with Labour but that doesn’t seem to have  been the game changer they hoped for.

Metiria Turei seems to be dominant, and that probably limits the Greens’ electability, but they have at least stayed in a 10-15% support band in the polls so have a base to work from next year.

NZ First

Following Winston Peters’ big win in Northland NZ First have benefited from unusually good poll support for most of the year (it tailed off towards the end).

But it looks like Winston is catching his breath before election year. The party has done little of note apart from Peters occasionally trying to appear as the anti-politician, even though he’s one of the longest serving members of Parliament. He tried to capitalise on the Trump success in the US but that doesn’t seem to have done much.

Maori Party

The Maori Party has been working towards more complementary campaigning with the Mana Party in an attempt to create a stronger Maori bloc in Parliament. They are targeting the Maori seats held by Labour.

Maori tend to do politics quite differently to the rest. The Maori party has been the best of the rest in the polls but will want to pick that up more next year as well as pick up some electorates.

ACT Party

David Seymour has done fairly well at getting attention for a one person party and has had some small successes but his party has struggled to get anywhere. It has been Seymour rather than ACT.

United Future

Peter Dunne has had a quiet year apart from bearing the brunt of medical cannabis and recreational drug criticism, even though he is severely limited by National who don’t want to change anything on drug laws. Dunne’s party remains pretty much anonymous.

Conservative Party

An awful year for Colin Craig in the courts and an awful year for his party. Neither are credible and neither look likely to make a comeback.

Mana Party

Hone Harawira and the Mana movement are trying to make a comeback by working together with the Maori Party, so have established some possibilities this year without proving they can get back into Parliament.

Internet Party

Kim Dotcom seems to see his political influence in other ways than expensive and ineffective parties, and ex leader Laila Harre has joined Labour and wants to stand for them, so the Internet party looks a short blip in political history.

Cannabis Party

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has simplified it’s name and has tried to benefit from increasing changes on cannabis laws overseas but haven’t found the formula required to become a significant political force yet.

The Opportunities Party

Gareth Morgan launched his own party this year and gets media attention – money speaks – and has announced a couple of policies but so far it looks like him and no one else.

NZ Peoples Party

The Peoples’ Party launched as a representative of immigrants and stood a candidate in the Mt Roskill by-election but will have been disappointed by their result, despite a weak National campaign.

Theresa May’s speech to Conservative conference

Missy reports from the UK:


Theresa May.

Theresa May gave her first speech to the party faithful as leader today, and by all accounts it was a success. It has generally been acknowledged that the speech was about making a play for the centre, and to try and win voters from both UKIP and from Labour, she has proclaimed the Conservatives as the party of the working class.

Theresa May referred to the vote in June as a quiet revolution in which millions of citizens said they would no longer be ignored. She hailed the vote as a once in a generation opportunity to change the direction of Britain for good, and she reiterated they will make a success of it.

Theresa May also managed to get some subtle attacks against those that oppose Brexit, starting with Nicola Sturgeon where she said that Britain’s success is because they are one United Kingdom, and she will not let divisive nationalists drive them apart. Next target was the wealthy elite, she said it was easy to dismiss the concerns of ordinary people if you are wealthy. She went on to criticise the way that some politicians and commentators talk about people, that they find their patriotism distasteful, their concerns about immigration parochial, their views about crime illiberal, their attachment to their job security inconvenient. She said they find the fact that more than seventeen million people voted to leave the European Union simply bewildering. She said a change has to come, and it is time to remember the good that Government can do. Theresa May said that it is time for a change to come, and to reject the ideological templates of the socialist left and libertarian right and to embrace the centre ground in which Government steps up – not back – to help people.

Theresa May defended British soldiers and said she will never again allow left wing lawyers harass and harangue British soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan through spurious trials.

Theresa May addressed some domestic issues in her speech as well, and said they were a party for all of Britain.

This speech shows that Theresa May does seem to have an understanding of the majority people in the country, their concerns and the issues that they think are important, this was a speech that will provide comfort to the man on the street, and make some worried.


The Telegraph: Theresa May’s conference speech in full

BBC: I’ll use power of state to build fairer Britain

The Conservatives will use the power of government to “restore fairness” in Britain and spread prosperity more widely, Theresa May has said.

The prime minister told the party’s conference the UK must change after the “quiet revolution” of the Brexit vote, urging people to “seize the day”.

The state should be a “force for good” to help working people, she argued.

“It was not the wealthy who made the biggest sacrifices after the financial crisis, it was ordinary working class families,” she said.

“If you’re one of those people who lost their job, who stayed in work but on reduced hours, took a pay cut as household bills rocketed, or – and I know a lot of people don’t like to admit this – someone who finds themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration, life simply doesn’t seem fair.

“It feels like your dreams have been sacrificed in the service of others.”

Promising to build a “united Britain rooted in a centre ground”, she said her government would protect jobs and “repair” free markets when they did not work properly.

Al Jazeera describes it as Theresa May turns left in Conservative Party speech

Panel views from the Guardian: Will Theresa May’s speech appeal beyond Tory conference?

  • Jonathan Freedland: She brazenly sought to colonise territory that once belonged to Labour

What did John Key tell her when they met in New York recently?

  • Polly Toynbee: The Tories are brilliant at cognitive dissonance
  • Anne McElvoy: May understands the limits of the free-market worldview
  • Giles Fraser: Genuine Conservatives are so much better for the poor than slick liberals such as Cameron
  • Joseph Harker: Calling Labour the ‘nasty party’ ignores decades of history

Highlights from UK Conservative conference

A UK report from Missy:


Well, today was the last day of the Conservative Conference and Theresa May gave her keynote speech – which I will get to in a separate post. First a few highlights from yesterday which saw the Home Secretary and the Defence Secretary both give their speeches.

Home Secretary:

The Home Secretary announced that they will not be looking to making any kind of free movement deal with Canada, Australia, and NZ, thought to be fair this has only ever been pushed as an idea here from lobby groups, but for the Home Secretary to announce it won’t happen shows that those lobbying are obviously being heard.

The Conservatives will bring in new laws to make it easier to deport EU citizens that commit crimes in the UK. This was one of the main issues of the referendum, and one of the issues that the Remain campaign did not address fully for the electorate. I think it is approximately 10% of serious sex offenders in prison in the UK are from the EU, and at present under EU laws it is very difficult for the UK to deport them, the laws that the Government are looking to introduce will apparently make it easier for this to happen.

On Immigration, the Government have outlined their post-Brexit immigration policy of being a work permit based scheme, as opposed to a points based scheme. Theresa May has previously indicated she does not agree with points based immigration systems as they tend to still allow immigrants in who have no jobs, under the proposals from the Government, immigrants will only be able to come if they have a job prior to applying to emigrate – this is similar to what all non EU citizens currently have to do now, so will mean no change to NZers, but will be a big change for the EU citizens.

The Home Secretary also announced that Companies in Britain would have to register how many foreign worker they have working for them, and show why they had to employ a foreign worker rather than a British worker. This has gained a backlash, and already today the Conservatives were back pedalling on it a bit, so I won’t be surprised if this dies a quiet death.

Defence:

The biggest – and some will argue most important – announcement on defence relates to the vexatious cases being brought against serving, and former, members of the defence force. The Government will pass a law allowing them to suspend the European Convention of Human Rights for the military in all future conflicts. Unfortunately they are unable to make this a retrospective law, so all current claims will continue to be investigated. But it signals an intent to not leave the military open to being pursued in civilian courts, against civilian situations, for battlefield actions. This move has been welcomed by many in the defence area – both former and serving. Just to note the ECHR is nothing to do with the EU, it is a separate treaty that was set up prior to the EU.

What I have gained from the summaries on the speeches at the conference is that the Conservatives appear to be listening to, and acting on, the concerns of many of the population, and that regardless of what is happening behind closed doors they are publicly showing a united front – quite a contrast to Labour where many of their front benches included veiled and pointed comments about their leader.

Craig comeback as likely as second coming

Colin Craig is talking about being open to political comeback. Is he that out of touch with reality?

Barry Soper at NZH: Colin Craig open to a political comeback

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has taken a hammering over the past week but if he is feeling the heat, he is not letting on – and is even considering a possible comeback.

“My concern has always been about conservative causes and serving conservative people. That’s something that matters to me … nothing has changed in that respect.

“If I got a chance to serve people, I’d be very happy to do that.”

Craig said the legal issues surrounding the defamation appeal will be considered before next year’s election and a comeback is possible.

Sounding chipper, he said if he can work with the party he founded, but spectacularly fell out with, he would be very happy to.

“My wife and I poured years of savings and time and energy into it and our love for the party and love for the members and supporters hasn’t changed.”

Earth to Colin: It. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Craig’s political career is in non-resurrectable  tatters. This is in large part due to his own actions, but willingly aided and abetted by Jordan Williams and Whale Oil, who have made sure there is no chance of any comeback.

Leighton Baker, acting spokesman for the Conservatives, was last night cold on the idea Craig might get back into politics with the party.

“The Conservative Party aren’t offering Colin any positions. He’s never made any request to us for a position … and he does not hold a position with us, so no.”

When asked if Craig had damaged the Conservative Party brand, Baker said there was no doubt he had.

“It’s a struggle. The focus is on personalities and Colin Craig rather than the policies we stand for. So that’s a bit sad,” he said.

“Am I feeling positive? I’m not terribly encouraged today to tell you the truth, it’s been a rough day. But we’re Kiwis, we never say die, we’ll hang on for the next breath so we’ll keep on going.”

The Conservative Party can’t take back Craig, nor can they take any more of Craig’s money, without looking even worse than they are now.

Craig is finished in politics.

The Conservative Party currently appear to have no chance of coming back from this debacle, unless they inherit another rich ambitious person who doesn’t have the baggage or risks that Craig has.

A proper Conservative Party could establish a sizeable niche in New Zealand’s political mix.

An improper Colin Craig conservative party has crashed, burned and all that’s possible now is residual smouldering.

UPDATE: Newshub – Conservative Party doesn’t want Colin Craig back

“It’s not happening.”

With those words, the Conservative Party has perhaps dealt a blow to what remains of Colin Craig’s political ambitions.

The party’s founder and former leader hasn’t ruled out returning to politics once the dust from his legal battles settles. But it probably won’t be with the party he spent millions of dollars bringing to life.

“Colin Craig is not a member of the party, he has no position in the party, he hasn’t been offered a position in the party and he hasn’t asked for one, so it’s not happening,” board chairman Leighton Baker told Paul Henry on Tuesday.

“Colin resigned as a member of the party, so he’s got nothing to do with the party anymore.”

The party is struggling and may need to rebrand.

There’s a chance when the next election rolls around, they won’t even be calling themselves the Conservative Party anymore, the brand is so damaged.

“A lot of people have put that to us in the last couple of days, and as a board we’ll sit down and definitely have a look at that,” says Mr Baker.

“But at the end of the day New Zealand still needs a conservative voice, and at this stage we’re going to be it.”

With the election only about a year away, Mr Baker admits there’s even a chance they may not contest it.

“We haven’t sat down as a team yet and discussed it.”

Potential candidates are also a bit thin on the ground, with Mr Baker saying only a “few” of the 50 who stood in 2014 have expressed an interest in having another go.

Not surprising there is a lack of interest.

 

UK Conservative conference and EU exit

A UK report from Missy:


Highlights from the opening day of the Conservative Party Conference.

As indicated this morning Theresa May has confirmed that she will be repealing the 1972 European Communities law, and that Article 50 will be invoked no later than the end of March next year.

Theresa May also used her speech to the Conservative Party Conference today to attack those MP’s that want to stop Brexit through delays, a second referendum, and trying to stop it in Parliament. She said that the country has voted and Brexit means Brexit. She went on to say that the UK can now truly be a global country.

Theresa May made it clear there will be no opt out of Brexit for any of the four nations in the UK, it was the UK that had the referendum and it will be UK that exits. This will be yet another blow to Nicola Sturgeon who has continually put forward the option that Scotland can remain in the EU.

The Brexit Minister, David Davis, has hinted at a hard Brexit by insisting that Britain must be able to control its own borders and curb immigration. He also confirmed that the rights of EU citizens will be protected in Britain only if the rights of Britons living in the EU get the same rights, this has been consistent line that May has taken since she threw her hat in the ring for the leadership. No guarantees are being given on EU citizens outright until they have secured the rights of Britons in the EU, this is contrary to many MP’s who think that the rights of EU citizens in the UK should be guaranteed regardless of what happens to Britons overseas – an interesting view for them to take considering EU citizens cannot vote for the UK Parliament, but Britons in the EU can.

Boris made a joke at the expense of the European Council President, by saying that Britain will now be able to speak up more powerfully, leading the world, as they are now currently on imposing a ban on ivory – which the EU are trying to veto despite having a President called Tusk. A bit of a lame joke, but there none the less.

Priti Patel has stated in her speech that British international aid money will be closely scrutinised in order to control waste and corruption, she also said that aid projects the UK invests in will be monitored and those that are not deemed not delivering will be scrapped. She also flagged increased aid funding to be spent on Afghanistan, in a move that is expected to make Britain safer.

A full round up from the Telegraph below:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/02/theresa-may-brexit-boris-johnson-david-davis-liam-fox-live/

MacGregor granted restraining order

The cross examination of Colin Craig resumed and completed today, with more embarrassing and disputed details getting raked over – Colin Craig on kiss with press secretary: ‘I did not take my pants off’.

Craig’s wife Helen began giving her evidence – Helen Craig on husband’s ’emotional affair’: I have forgiven him.

Something else emerged from court today that looks like a side issue, but raises some concerns.

NZH: Colin Craig trial: Former press secretary granted restraining order against counsellor:

Details have emerged in court about a restraining order granted to Colin Craig’s former press secretary against a counsellor she alleges posted confidential information about her in a blog post.

The Herald can reveal that Rachel MacGregor was granted a restraining order in the Waitakere District Court against Steve Taylor in May this year.

Taylor is an associate of Craig and a former Conservative Party candidate.

He was the moderator for his allegedly defamatory pamphlet “Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas”.

He is also a counsellor and the director of 24-7 Limited which, according to the company’s website, offers counselling and mediation to individuals, couples and families.

Sometime after MacGregor quit and following the speculation that followed about her shock departure a blog post appeared on the internet containing extremely personal information about her, including information she alleges she disclosed to Taylor.

Williams’ lawyer Peter McKnight asked Craig about Taylor and the blog, which has been removed from the internet. Craig indicated that he knew about it and Taylor’s alleged connection to it.

Craig claimed MacGregor and Taylor were “close friends” but had a “falling out”, which he believed was about money.

Craig said he knew about the restraining order but did not know the details.

McKnight asked Craig if Taylor had posted the blog and if he had disclosed information MacGregor had divulged during a counselling session.

“I think that is what she says, I’m not sure if that is what he says. He is a counsellor,” Craig said. “They were close friends.”

Craig said he had seen the blog post and it contained “quite a bit of factual information” but “it was a terrible thing to do”.

He said there was a lot of personal information about MacGregor that he could have made public himself but had always chosen not to, including in court.

“This sort of stuff could be hugely damaging and I didn’t think it was appropriate to talk about this sort of thing,” Craig explained.

McKnight asked Craig who had written the post and if he thought it was Taylor.

“I asked him whether he did it or not and he didn’t give me a particularly straight answer, which is why I say it was possibly him,” Craig responded.

An ex-friend getting a restraining order against someone who is also a counsellor sounds serious.

If today’s information is anything near accurate I think that Taylor’s actions are in no way justified. I’m critical in general terms, and I also feel  very strongly about anonymous blogs being used to attack or harass people. It’s a stinking misuse of the Internet.

Steve Taylor was placed at 8 on the Conservative Party list last election.  They would have had to have got around 7% for him to have got a seat. He would presumably have been very disappointed when MacGregor resigned two days before the election, effectively destroying any chance of him or the party getting into Parliament.

But being disappointed by an election result is no excuse for anything like this.

Taylor has commented here in the past, at times on issues related to the current defamation case. In light of today’s information from the Court it is not appropriate for him to comment on anything to do with the case or with MacGregor here. If he has any dispute with any of this it should be dealt with through the Court.

UPDATE: Steve Taylor has contacted me and strongly disputes some of the statements made in court in relation to him. He cannot defend himself publicly due to matters still before the Court.

UPDATE2: Taylor has issued a press statement today.

Press Release: Counsellor seeking legal advice regarding defamation claim

The director of Counselling service 24-7 Ltd is currently seeking legal advice regarding what he says are “outrageous and malicious” defamatory claims made against him by the NZ Herald during the Defamation trial of Jordan Williams and Colin Craig being held in Auckland.

“I have today advised a NZ Herald Editorial representative and reporter  of my intention to seek legal advice on the grounds of defamation regarding the claims made in an article published by the NZ Herald” said Mr Taylor.

“A number of false and inaccurate statements were made about me in the article, statements that I believe meet the threshold for defamation, and I am currently seeking legal advice on this matter”.

“No reporter from any media organisation has contacted me to fact-check this article, or any subsequent articles”.

“I am informed today by a representative of the NZ Herald editorial team that media publications are permitted to publish anything they choose to, whether or not what they are publishing is true or not – my legal advice on this matter is markedly different, and this position by the NZ Herald needs to be tested in this matter” said Mr Taylor.

– Two sentences have been edited out.

Theresa May: PM by Wednesday

The Conservative leadership contest has ended with Angela Leadsom pulling out, leaving Theresa May as the only contender. And (since Missy’s recent heads up) it has been announced that May will be Conservative party leader and UK Prime Minister by Wednesday.

BBC: May to become UK leader by Wednesday

PM-in-waiting Theresa May promises ‘a better Britain’

Theresa May promised to build a “better Britain” and to make the UK’s EU exit a “success” after she was announced as the new Tory leader and soon-to-be PM.

Speaking outside Parliament, Mrs May said she was “honoured and humbled” to succeed David Cameron, after her only rival in the race withdrew on Monday.

Mr Cameron will tender his resignation to the Queen after PMQs on Wednesday.

It follows another day of dramatic developments in the political world, when Andrea Leadsom unexpectedly quit the two-way Conservative leadership contest, saying she did not have the support to build “a strong and stable government”.

Her decision left Mrs May – the front runner – as the only candidate to take over leading the party and to therefore become prime minister.

“I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen by the Conservative Party to become its leader,” Mrs May told the gathered media.

She said her leadership bid had been based on the need for “strong, proven leadership”, the ability to unite both party and country and a “positive vision” for Britain’s future.

“A vision of a country that works not for the privileged few but that works for every one of us because we’re going to give people more control over their lives and that’s how, together, we will build a better Britain.”

And in a message perhaps designed to reassure Brexit-supporting colleagues, Mrs May – who campaigned to stay in the EU, said: “Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a success of it.”

This is good for David Cameron, who was a lame duck Prime Minister. It means he can hand over power sooner and more seamlessly.

It is good for the Conservative Party. Any leadership contest reveals splits and differences in a party but with all the other contenders pulling out it has minimised internal acrimony.

It is good for the UK. The Government can get on with governing through a very challenging time for the country.

And it’s good for democracy with May making it clear that the referendum result will be respected.

And Missy has provided some details:


Quick update from the UK – and it was all happening today, though only two things did happen.
Conservative Leadership:

Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the race at approximately 12noon, as such it left it open for Theresa May to become the next PM. David Cameron has confirmed that he will lead his last cabinet meeting tomorrow, and have his final PMQs on Wednesday before going to Buckingham Palace to formally resign. Theresa May will be PM by Wednesday Night. The Queen will return to London from her holiday in Scotland tomorrow to accept David Cameron’s resignation, and formally appoint Theresa May as PM.

More from Missy in the next post.

Brexit, EU, party disarray and Chilcott

An update on Brexit, parties in disarray and the Chilcott report from Missy:


Brexit:

The fallout continues. There are reports that Merkel is moving to oust Jean-Claude Juncker in the next 12 months. Juncture is the European Commission president, and one of 5 presidents in the EU. Some EU leaders – notably Poland and Czech Republic – have blamed Juncker for the Brexit vote and the UK planning to leave.

On Juncker, he has been decidedly unstatesman like, and ungracious, since the vote, and he has been trying to bully the UK into invoking Article 50 on his time line, he has also threatened other members about talking to the UK informally.

A little background on him (that I know), he is a former leader of Luxembourg, and was apparently instrumental in setting Luxembourg up as a tax haven within the EU – possibly one of the reasons that tax reform in the EU has not been a high priority under his tenure.

He is also well known as a drunk, who gets a little over friendly when he has been drinking – there are a number of incidences that have been reported of bizarre behaviour from him after lunch (and a number of drinks).

Conservative Party:

This is pretty much as expected. Now the leadership candidates have declared, the mudslinging has started – mostly aimed at Gove and his betrayal of Johnson. Theresa May is still the favourite, but Andrea Leadsom is certainly a strong contender. Leadsom has said that Nigel Farage should be included in the negotiating team for Brexit – not something that I imagine will go down well.

Both May and Leadsom appear to be positioning themselves as the next Maggie.

Labour Party:

To be honest this is where the more interesting stuff is happening at the moment. Corbyn continues to hang on, despite a video coming out at the weekend of him joking with the activist who allegedly made an anti-semitic attack on a Labour MP.

The video also shows Corbyn saying he had texted the activist – possibly in relation to the attack on the MP. There is a theory that Corbyn is hanging on so that he can savage Tony Blair this week after the release of the Chilcott report.

It is interesting that many in the Labour party have criticised the MP’s who voted against Corbyn, as having no respect for democracy, yet these same people want the referendum result overturned. It shows their hypocrisy so well – they only like democracy when it suits them.

Chilcott Report:

The report into the Iraq War and claims by the Government around the weapons of mass destruction is to be released this Wednesday morning London time. The report is expected (by opponents) to villify Tony Blair and say he took the UK into the war illegally.

As stated above, this is rumoured to be one of the reasons that Corbyn refuses to resign at the moment, he sees this as his big moment – being able to criticise Blair, and take the moral high ground in apologising for Labour’s role in the war.

A more controversial aspect of this report is the fact that the ICC have stated they will be going over it to see if there is any evidence they can use to prosecute British soldiers, but they have stated they will not be investigating, or prosecuting, Tony Blair – or (so I understand) anyone from Government. So once again the soldiers take the rap for the decisions of the politicians.

Source: Missy in the UK

Conservative contenders

There are five confirmed contenders for the leadership of the UK Conservative Party and the country.

Particularly now Boris Johnson is out the contest Theresa May is the favourite. Of course the British bookies are onto it. Current odds:

 

  • Theresa May -4/6 William Hill, 10/11 Ladbrokes
  • Michael Gove – 10/3 William Hill, 4/1 Ladbrokes
  • Andrea Leadsom – 6/1 William Hill, 12/1 Ladbrokes
  • Stephen Crabb 16/1 William Hill, 16/1 Ladbrokes
  • Liam Fox – 28/1 William Hill, 25/1 Ladbrokes

 

Two will be chosen from this list and that will go to a vote of all Conservative Party members, with the new leader being decided and announced by September 2.

That’s another two months with Cameron as caretaker Prime Minister.

Details on these contenders at the Mirror in Odds and profiles for Conservative Party contenders after the EU referendum

No general election if Boris becomes leader

While the UK Labour Party self implodes in fear of an early election many believe Jeremy Corbyn cannot win the Guardian reports that if Boris Johnson takes over the leadership of the Conservative Party he would not call for an immediate general election.

That puts David Cameron in an interesting position.

No Brexit general election if Boris Johnson wins Tory leadership

Source in former London mayor’s team says he does not believe he needs a new mandate to start negotiating EU exit

Boris Johnson will not call an immediate general election if he wins the Conservative party leadership election and takes over as prime minister, it is understood.

A source in Johnson’s team said the former London mayor, who has been busy seeking the support of high-profile women in the cabinet, believed the result of last week’s referendum was sufficient for him to start negotiating an exit from the EU without seeking a new mandate.

But Johnson has to win the leadership first. He is gathering support.

MPs say Elizabeth Truss, the environment secretary, could throw her weight behind Johnson in the coming days, and that he has reached out to Amber Rudd, the energy secretary.

Rudd is also thought to be open to the idea of backing Johnson, despite clashing with him during the referendum campaign. In a televised debate, she described him as the “life and soul of the party, but he’s not the man you want driving you home at the end of the night”.

Johnson wants to demonstrate he can attract the support of remain campaigners and the liberal wing of the party, with early support from the skills minister, Nick Boles.

However there are other contenders and there could be a strong ‘not Boris’ resistance.

But a number of female MPs, including those passionate about the party’s modernising agenda, have revealed they plan to back Theresa May’s campaign.

One politician described May, the home secretary and remain supporter, as someone with the “work ethic of Thatcher” and said she was one of the few people with enough authority to carry the country into Brexit negotiations. Another said they never thought they would be taking her side, but were desperate to block a “Johnson coronation”.

There hasn’t been long for contenders to consider their chances and round up support – less than a week.

The leadership contest, which closes for nominations on Thursday, has triggered a frantic atmosphere, with MPs rushing around trying to secure the support of colleagues for their preferred candidate. May supporters are each trying to speak to a number of designated MPs in a satellite operation.

Several cabinet ministers are insisting they have still to make up their mind, with some saying they will seek meetings with candidates before deciding.

Rumours swirling around Westminster suggest Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister who campaigned to leave the EU, could be a key figure who might herself run, but is also being courted by various candidates including May.

One list appeared to suggest the home secretary had the edge with numbers, followed by Johnson, but also revealed support for both Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, who is considering her position, and Crabb.

Former defence secretary Liam Fox has already confirmed himself as a candidate, while Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is also canvassing support.

The chancellor, George Osborne, ruled himself out, saying it was clear he could not provide the unity the party needed.

The Conservative aim is to have a new Prime Minister by 2 September. That’s quite a while to have the leadership of the country in limbo in one of the most difficult times for the UK in the last half century.

Whoever ends up in No 10 will be faced with the task of extracting the UK from the EU, after Cameron said he would not initiate the process before handing over the reins, despite pressure from Brussels for a swift departure.

Extracting the UK from the EU will be the easy part. What happens after that will be a huge challenge for whoever becomes the new Prime Minister and whichever party wins an election that may or may not be held.

Someone on Twitter yesterday said that the UK was like a dog that had been barking at passing cars for a years and had finally caught hold of a bumper bar – and has no idea what to do with it.