Final Two: Boris Johnson vs Jeremy Hunt With Charges of Rigging


Boris Johnson will face Jeremy Hunt in a Tory party vote that will determine the UK's next Prime Minister.

Johnson vs Hunt Showdown

As expected all along, it's a Johnson vs. Hunt final showdown.

This will not be close. Expect Johnson to win in a blowout of major proportion.

Boris Johnson only picked up three MPs in the final vote. This led to charges of "Vote Rigging" and "Dark Arts".

Dark Arts

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Vote Rigging Charge

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No Vote Rigging

Rigging is fraud.

There may have been tactical voting but that is questionable.

Perfect Result

Had the spoiled ballot gone to Gove, he still would have lost by one. But give him that vote plus one more, and that would have been a 77-76 win for Gove.

Keep the spoiled ballot and assume one tactical vote switch, the result would gave been 76-76.

Fight of His Life

Joke of the Day

This is all moot. Neither will beat Johnson.

However, it is likely that Johnson preferred to square off against Hunt.

The Tory party likes Hunt less than Gove.

Delusional Remainers

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I posted that chart on June 6, in Stop Boris Madness In Five Pictures

My comment at the time still stands: "Winning is where the rubber meets the road. Tory party members do not believe either Gove or Hunt would win a national election."

This will not be close.

Three Questions Remain

  1. The election question "How big will this blowout be?" has an unknown moot answer.
  2. Will Johnson follow his stated convictions on leaving by October 31?
  3. How?

Question one is interesting, but irrelevant.

Question two is yes.

Question three is the important one.

More Delusions

The Guardian and others made a mountain out of molehill regarding Johnson's comments in the debate.

At the beginning, Johnson did indeed say the UK “must come out on the 31st October”. But when asked later by the host, Emily Maitlis, for an absolute guarantee the UK would leave on 31 October under his stewardship, he said: “Michael [Gove] was guaranteeing to get out by the end of December [2019]. I think that October 31st is eminently feasible.” (Johnson had been responding to a question from Gove about “getting [a] deal over the line” on or around that date or “ripping it up” just to keep to the timetable.)

He also spoke later about the importance of leaving with a deal, saying no one wanted a “disorderly Brexit”.

So, it’s – at best – debatable whether Johnson was failing to guarantee Brexit in any form on 31 October, or just failing to guarantee having a negotiated settlement done and dusted by that date.

Political Silliness

Johnson purposely made politically wishy-washy statements to win votes in the runoff and also to prevent an immediate leadership challenge when he becomes Prime Minister.

There's more than a bit of irony here.

Attributing meaning to political silliness is politically silly.

Johnson did and said what he had to say. It's meaningless.

This leads us back to the key question:

What Does Johnson Want?

That is the question I asked twice previously and there still is no guaranteed answer.

Four Possibilities

  1. If Johnson's intent is to deliver a hard-Brexit while avoiding a motion of no-confidence, he succeeded.
  2. If Johnson's intent is to deliver a repackaged Theresa May deal, he succeeded.
  3. If Johnson's intent is genuinely to get the EU to negotiate something beyond May's deal, willing to walk away if he doesn't, he succeeded
  4. If Johnson genuinely doesn't know, he successfully bought himself time.

My Vote - Door Three

Previously my answer was 3, 4, and tossup.

My vote now is 3, 4, 1, and 2.

The more Johnson is convinced he will win an election against Corbyn, the more likely option one is in play. Thus number 4 is more likely to resolve to 1 than 2.

This is of course dependent on Johnson all along not wanting a deal no matter what, no matter how bad it is.

Customs Union Is Not Brexit

I believe Johnson wants Brexit. And a permanent customs union or threat of one does not "deliver Brexit" in my book.

However, I also took Theresa May at her word when she said "no deal is better than a bad deal" while negotiating the worst deal in history.

So, if Johnson is a weak as May and wants to deliver custom union nonsense, or is willing to (if the EU holds firm), then that will be the result.

Negotiated WTO Brexit

It is highly unlikely the EU will renegotiate the backstop until there is a WTO Brexit.

However, the EU will likely be willing to work with the UK if Johnson takes care of EU citizens living in the UK and agrees to the Brexit breakup fee that May negotiated.

That would deliver Brexit. Moreover, a WTO Brexit is the single most likely outcome if one believes Johnson.

Regardless, a referendum or outright revocation has no chance at this point.

Johnson played his cards very well, whatever he wants.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (14)
No. 1-6

Time to get Chris Steele working on the Boris Johnson Dossier.


Johnson wants to be PM. And he wants to keep being PM. Everything else is very negotiable. Brexit was his hobby horse to becoming PM. The Brexiteers seem to think Johnson is a believer like them. The only thing Johnson believes in is him being the second Winston Churchill (wilderness months, instead of years, but the same story line).

He looks like he has the Dambusters theme running 24/7 in his head. He is another joke like Trump.


The real winner from this is likely to be Rory Stewart. He got a name for himself, and far more national visibility than he had before. I read his two books when they first came out and was quite impressed with him as a young man, whether he can develop into a serious politician is still to be seen, but he looks like the adult at the children's table at the moment. When the Brexit fiasco is over and the country regains some sanity, he is likely to be a serious contender for a top position, especially if Corbyn is still running the Labour Party.

One of my very close friends who I've known for decades and whose grandfather always voted Labour, his mother and father always voted Labour, and he has always voted Labour, told me he would vote for any candidate likely to lower Corbyn's chances of becoming PM, even (and I know this would really hurt him) a Tory if that is what it took in his constituency (a Surrey suburb of London).


It makes no difference now. Hard Brexit, soft Brexit or no Brexit, the damage is done. At least half the population will be seething whatever the outcome. Brexit is one more event in a long line of events that have completely undermined peoples' faith in the government. You can probably go back to the miners' strikes of the 1980 for many people. Following on are the poll tax riots, Thatcherism, the deeply unpopular 2003 war on Iraq, divisive and unfair austerity measured, the MP expenses scandal, and finally Brexit. Whatever happens, this will dominate UK politics for a generation and may yet make the UK ungovernable at best, or disintegrate at worst.


Has a great commentary on the May/Merkel negotiations a year ago and really why we're here today in regards to Brexit. Enjoy Mish.


Johnson is god's gift to every anti Tory and quite a few Tories. Imagine the first PMQs. Corbyn " The Guardian, Spectator, The New Statesman, the BBC, ITV, several Conservative politicians and members of this house have stated that you are a liar, thug, cheat, idle, incompetent and a nasty piece of work. Do you intend to issue writs of libel or slander against any of these organisations?" Johnson " Piffle waffle waffle Lex gloria mundi wiffle waffle." There is no need for Mr Steele to delve. Ask a Johnson supporter how many children hs MrJohnson got and with how many women and watch them dissolve. His nickname in the Guardian is Priapic. He cannot sue because he will lose. The respondents will claim they told the truth and Johnson is a liar. Mish, you should not put your faith in the devil's spawn

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