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.

Party prospects

What are party prospects leading up to next year’s election? It’s a long time in politics until we vote again so there’s many things that could affect the overall outcome and the outcome for individual parties.

Has Been and Never Been

The 5% threshold is making it pretty much impossible for a small or new party to get into Parliament on party vote. This is by design by the large parties, successfully keeping small parties shut out.

Mana Party

Mana took a punt on Kim Dotcom’s big money last election and crashed badly, losing their only electorate and failing to attract combined party vote. Hone Harawira seems to have disappeared from public view, and the Mana Party website seems to have also disappeared. Their chances of revival look unlikely, and their chances of success again are also unlikely.

Internet Party

The Internet Party had large funds and little credibility last election. Dotcom acknowledged afterwards that he was politically toxic. Without his money and presence and media pulling power the party continues – their website remains – but is ignored and will find it difficult to get anywhere, which is a shame because they had some interesting ideas on inclusive democracy.

Conservative Party

With heaps of money and media attention last election Colin Craig and his Conservatives could only manage about 4%. After last year’s major upheaval it’s unlikely they will get half that next time. Craig is severely damaged politically and socially and would struggle to lead the Conservatives to 2% next time. There is no obvious alternative leader.

The Strugglers

UnitedFuture

As a party UnitedFuture has faded just about completely. It is still operating but without a major input of money and new personal I don’t see any change. The only option for UF is for outsiders to see an opportunity to use an existing party to get a foothold in Parliament rather than start from scratch, but even then success would be dependent on Peter Dunne  retaining his Ohariu electorate. I think Dunne must be close to considering retiring, and if he does UF will retire or expire.

ACT Party

ACT have defied critics and survived the Don Brash and John Banks disasters due to the success of one person, David Seymour. I think Seymour is odds on to retain Epsom next year (deservedly) so ACT is likely to survive. National and possibly Conservative vote must be up for grabs, but it will depend on ACT coming up with additional electable candidates to make an increased party vote attractive. Jamie Whyte didn’t work out, but with Seymour anchoring the party they may attract strong candidates who would then stand a good chance of success through an improved party vote.

Maori Party

The Maori Party continue to be quiet achievers. They should be able to retain at Te Ururoa Flavell’s electorate seats and their first list MP Marama Fox has made a quick impact. They stand a chance of picking up ex Mana Maori votes so have some chance of getting more seats via their list. Further electorate prospects will depend on candidate quality. The Maori Party could also be impacted negatively by a Labour resurgence if that ever happens.

The Over Threshold Parties

New Zealand First

It’s difficult to predict NZ First’s future. It is very dependant on Winston Peters. He had a major success early last year by winning the Northland buy election but hasn’t dome much since then. He could just be pacing himself, rebuilding energy and drive for next year’s election campaign. Or he could be running out of puff – that’s been predicted before but so far he has managed to keep coming back.

Installing Ron Mark as deputy could be a problem for NZ First. The rest of the party has been generally out if sight, but Mark is an ambitious attention seeker, and the attention he gets is often uncomplimentary. He could deter voters.

But if Winston remains NZ First should remain after next year’s election. Peters may or may not retain Northland, but the party should be good for 5-10% party vote if he is still in the race.

Green Party

The Green Party have successfully weathered another leadership change. They had built their vote and presence but were disappointed to not gain ground last election despite Labour’s vote shrinking. Greens are assured of retaining a place in Parliament but may find it challenging to increase or even retain their current numbers if Labour recovers and increases their vote. And Greens need Labour to improve substantially to give them a chance of having their first stint in Government.

Greens should be able to stay above 10% but may be cemented as a good sized small party rather than becoming the growing force they have ambitions of being.

Labour Party

Labour have to improve their support significantly or it will either be difficult for them to get back into Government or it will be difficult for them to govern with Greens and NZ First pulling them in different directions, possible apart.

It would be unlikely for Labour to switch leaders yet again, that would be damaging, so they need Andrew Little to step up. That hasn’t happened yet. They are playing a risky strategy of keeping a low profile while they consult constituencies and rebuild policies. They really have to be looking like a possible alternate Government by the middle of this year. They need to somehow get back 5-10% support.

They are banking on Little growing into his leadership role. He can only be a contrast to John Key, but so far he looks more out of his depth rather than swimming competitively on the surface.

Labour are also banking on their ‘Future of Work’ policy development. It’s a good focus for a labour allied party, but a lot will depend on whether it results in something seen to be visionary or if it is perceived as a Union policy disguised by Grant Robertson.

Labour could get anywhere between 25% and 40% next election. It’s hard to tell what direction they will go at this stage.

National Party

National have been very successful since they won in 2008. They have increased their support since then, most parties in power bleed support. This partly to do with John Key’s continued popularity, and increasingly by Bill English’s capable management of finances in sometimes very difficult circumstances (GFC and Christchurch earthquake).

National’s support must fall at some stage but it’s difficult to judge when that might start happening. Left wing activists have been predicting it in vain for seven years. Much will  depend on whether Labour can step up as a viable alternative alongside Greens and probably NZ First.

Next election could see them get anywhere between 40% and 50%. Their political fate is in their own hands to an extent but also reliant on possible alternatives.

Craig won’t seek leadership – yet

The newly elected Conservative Party board (some members were in the previous board) is looking for a new party leader. Colin Craig has said he won’t seek re-election – for now.

NZ Herald reports Colin Craig won’t seek re-election:

The Conservative Party’s newly elected board confirmed today it was looking to get back on track after a disastrous year by electing a new leader.

Colin Craig says he will not be seeking re-election as leader of the Conservative Party because it would be wrong to take on the role while he is being investigated by police.

He is facing a police complaint over his party’s spending during the 2014 election, though no charges have been laid.

“My feeling is that it is not right for me to put my name forward until the most serious allegations are cleared,” he said.

But:

If he was cleared before the 2017 election, he would consider returning to the party as a candidate, “if they will have me”.

So he won’t stand for leadership now – which means he won’t be on the board – but “would consider returning to the party as a candidate”.

Who would want to be leader with him hovering in the background considering returning by the next election?

Some one will volunteer to be a placeholder for him.

Conservative Party AGM?

There’s been at least two notifications of Conservative Party AGMs and announcement of a new Board of Management, but no sign of anything happening.

On September 13 Whale Oil (staff) posted 2015 CONSERVATIVE PARTY ANNUAL CONFERENCE AGM ATTENDANCE A BIT OF A FIZZER.

Colin Craig’s Conservative Party scheduled its Annual Conference this weekend.  It started on Friday evening, yesterday was the AGM, followed by a public meeting in the evening, and Colin and his closest friends are having a good conflab at the Centurion castle in Albany this morning.

2222

As I arrived, the Concierge of the Novotel Ellerslie was very helpful and keen to assist me find the conference.   He wondered if I was there for the 50th birthday party?

“No”, I said, “I’m looking for the Conservative Party Annual Conference”.   Not missing a beat, the Concierge suggested I might be at the wrong hotel.

A political party that advertises its Annual Conference, including the all important AGM, and then doesn’t actually have it – is it still a political party?   Party insiders tell me that some members have been nominated for board positions, and (incongruously) ex-member and ex board chair Brian Dodds has agreed to vet them.   The constitution requires an appointment committee.

And a month later (mid-October) on Facebook:

ConservativeAGMFacebook

I’ve searched for news and have found nothing.

The Conservative Party website says nothing about the September non-conference nor the October mystery conference.

The ‘Latest Update’ on the website is Colin Craig Statement of 19 June. Nothing since then, although the website has been updated and no longer shows Colin Craig as Party Leader (my last record of him stated as leader there was on July 28 – see Craig still acting as Conservative leader.

But Craig continues to show as leader on his Twitter account…

ColinnCraigTwitter

…but there hasn’t been any activity there since early August.

Back to Twitter this is his current home page which has also been inactive for three months.

ColinCraigFacebookThe Vote Colin Craig website that links to has also been inactive.

Is there still a Conservative Party?

Stringer versus Craig continues

It’s now over a month since Colin Craig announced via a media conference that he would be taking defamation action against Cameron Slater, Jordan Williams and John Stringer. Since then Williams has countered by filing legal action against Craig, but Craig’s legal threats are yet to eventuate.

Stringer has posted at coNZervative on this: 67. Colin Craig’s Panties in a Knot Filed. Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (03 Sept 2015)

It is more than 5 weeks on and Colin Craig has still not filed his melodramatic press conference threats to sue me and set the world right. The falsehoods continue. It appalls me, that, knowing what he’s covering up, he continues to allow people to support him, offer him donations, and comment on his various websites when he knows he’s a sinking wreck. What is he going to say to these people when the facts come out in court? As Dylan so rightly opines, “Be nice to the people on the way up, cos you’re gonna meet ’em all comin’ down.”

Stringer complains that Craig has been the one who has defamed through the New Zealand wide distribution of his Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas booklet.

Defamation is the publication of a statement about someone that lowers him or her in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally, where no defence (usually truth, opinion, or qualified privilege) is available. Legal minds confirm to me, that Colin has definitely done this to me in spades. His defamation of me exceeds to the power of 100, the very weak case (still not filed in court) he claims against me, where – the worst example being – I possibly hurt his feelings. Probably why he still hasn’t filed and likely won’t.

He also complains that Craig has actively prevented any response from Stringer within the Conservative Party.

I have been blocked from replying to untrue comments on Party and Colin Craig websites and FB pages (does Colin not like balance and free debate?). Critics of Colin are also banned and blocked. Party officials allow he and his wife special rights to formal communication but actively deny my wife and I, the same rights (“One Law For All” and all that?).

Duplicity and hypocrisy.  So, if anything, that aggravates his defamation because it has actively denied me any balancing defence, “no defence is available.”

To that end, after repeated formal requests to three ‘party officials slash Centurion employees’ (now all being sued) for the same rights accorded Colin and Helen more than twice (to communicate their narrative to members) but denied that same right myself, I eventually built my own personal contacts email list, with support from other party members who see through Colin Craig. I began emailing them with a factual summary update on all the issues. Just to set the record straight; get some balance; seek George Washington’s Truth; and obey the Ninth Commandment (Colin).  Maybe I’ll post that Personal Update to Members here some time so readers can be appraised.

Stringer goes on to strongly hint at the nature of some of the ‘inappropriate behaviour’ that Craig has admitted to in general.

Bingo. That Update has generated some interesting correspondence. I am in possession of original documents and copies of documents, perhaps Magically Handed me by concerned people.

He then as good as details actions that, if accurate and unwelcome, don’t reflect well on Craig at all, and in any case would be inappriopriate in a politician/employee relationship. I haven’t seen evidence so I won’t repeat the details here.

If Craig doesn’t follow through with his defamatiion threats then his reputation and the Conservative Party look to be in tatters.

Stringer fighting back – press conference today

Ex Conservative Party board member John Stringer has announced a press conference today. He claims there are “documented new accusations against Colin Craig that now involve a Police investigation” and “serious offences”.

Now launching into investigation by media?

UPDATE: It seems to boil down to this:

New allegations from John Stringer against Colin Craig – lots of them, but basically boils down to filing false info for electoral return.

.@ColinCraigNZ falsified info in at least five electorates and falsified his own return, John Stringer alleges Electoral Act breaches

Craig on underarm politics

Colin Craig has a guest post at (curiously) The Daily Blog – Colin Craig – Dirty Politics, why should we care?

He likens the alleged attacks on him to the infamous underarm cricket incident that New Zealanders have kept reminding Australians about since 1981.

I don’t think the two are similar at all. Australia played within the rules of cricket but their underarm bowl was deemed by many to be outside the spirit if cricket.

Both Craig and his current opponents claim breaches of the rules/laws of defamation.

And I don’t think the New Zealand public will be reminiscing about ‘the underCraig incident’ in 2049.

It is my view that politics matters, just as much, if not more than, sport.

I think more people care about sport than about politics. But the quality of our politics does matter.

Those in politics have a much greater ability to influence, for better or worse, the lives of others. We won’t always agree on the right mix of policies and sometimes when the debate gets heated it might well feel like a finals contest in the World Series. Despite all this, however, we should never stoop to the underarm ball.  We should be better people than that.

Underarm politics is common. It’s always been an integral part of the political game. But Craig’s problem is not about Government or about Parliament. It’s about an internal spat in a party that isn’t in Parliament.

Craig is claiming that the involvement of political blogger Cameron Slater and political activist Jordan Williams with an aim to keep the Conservative Party out of Parliament is dirty.

If he’s correct in his claims, if it was a political hit job to destroy a party then yes, it looks dirty, but that’s yet to be determined.

Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas

My wife and I have just published a booklet “Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas” in which we exposed the actions of 3 individuals in a recent defamatory attack against me. I am not the first to be attacked in this way but if possible I would hope to be the last.

There doesn’t seem to have been much hidden in the Slater/Stringer versus Craig conflict, apart from actual evidence from both sides.

Whether it was defamatory or not is yet to be determined. So far both sides have claimed defamation and legal threats have been made but nothing seems to have happened yet apart from public posturing.

What Happens Next?

I am fortunate enough to be in a financial position to take legal action against the parties that have defamed me. What they have done is not legal and so I will be looking to the courts to rule on the matter as a way to restore my public reputation.

Or not.

One aspect of this is power – in this case Craig’s financial power. Most people couldn’t fund defamation action so don’t attempt to legally threaten them.

Craig is fortunate to be able to finance a court ruling on what is not legal if anything.

It could be argued (and is being argued) that Craig’s actions in trying to deal with this are not helping his public reputation.

What I do know is that I am committed to playing a part in fighting for a better kind of political debate in New Zealand.

Laudable. I’ve been fighting for better political debate for years.

I remain hopeful that our nation can resist the slide into self-serving and cynical manipulation of mainstream media.  I hope instead that we might retain our values of honesty and a fair go.

I agree with those ideals – but it’s fair to point out that Craig has been working the mainstream media since this story broke, including having two controlled media conferences and numerous mainstream media interviews.

And Craig’s nationwide delivery of booklets is an unprecedented media move.

p.s. I wish to acknowledge the importance of Nicky Hagar’s book on Dirty Politics last year. His work in shining light on the practice of attack politics has been an important contribution to improving democracy in New Zealand.

I don’t recall Craig being a big supporter of Hager’s book when it was launched last year.

‘Dirty Politics’ may or may not have made “an important contribution to improving democracy’ – using illegally obtained data to inject a politically targeted book into an election campaign is not an ideal way to do democracy.

Craig appears to be trying to attach his cause to whatever populist thing he can think of. This post works on trying to liken his predicament to cricket and Hager.

But so far Craig doesn’t seem to have got the sporting and political public on his side.

He may be forced into using the courts and taking his chances there.

Oh, and Cameron Slater doesn’t usually resort to tame stuff like dribbling underarmers.

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