FORGET the proclamations of loyalty. Theresa May is on borrowed time and will not lead the Conservative Party into the next election. The only thing keeping her in place is Tory MPs’ fear of another election and the thought of Jeremy Corbyn in No.10.
But make no mistake — an invisible leadership contest is taking place and the jostling for position has begun.
There are two front runners in the contest — foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit secretary David Davis — and two reasons dictating who is backing who.
One school of thought says the most important thing facing the country is securing the best deal as the UK leaves the EU. Voters will judge politicians at the next election on Brexit above all else.
The people in this camp feel David Davis is the best bet for the next Conservative leader. The second camp believes beating Jeremy Corbyn is the biggest challenge the Tories face. Forget leaving the EU, the left-wing Labour leader would transform the fabric of the UK and potentially challenge capitalism itself.
After Mrs May was mauled over her safety-first campaign, the thought process is that the Conservatives need a political street fighter with a big personality — and Boris is your man.
However, there are stumbling blocks for both candidates.
Mr Davis is so entwined in the Brexit talks that, if they go wrong, he will be held culpable. A perfect deal pleasing everybody is impossible, so it may be equally impossible for him to escape unscathed.
Mr Johnson is a big risk, just look at his car-crash interview on Radio 4 this week, where he managed to forget what was in the Queen’s Speech despite it being the most anaemic in recent memory.
As a result, the inevitable election may be slightly far away — and the winner may not be who you expect.
I’m baffled by homes under the Hammond
Arguing in favour of a longer transitional deal as the UK leaves the EU, chancellor Philip Hammond said: ‘When you buy a house you don’t necessarily move your furniture in on the first day of buying it.’
Er, pardon my confusion, but isn’t that exactly what you do? Unless you have a handy second property to stash your stuff in…
Voters are oceans apart at the seaside
ANALYSIS of the election result shows that age — rather than class — is the big divider.
Labour did better among middle class voters than it has historically, while the Conservatives did pick up more working class support than in previous elections.
I’ve been filming this week in Hastings and Rye where home secretary Amber Rudd nearly lost her seat at the election — clinging on by only 346 votes.
The divide between the Corbyn-supporting younger generation — many of them university students — and Brexit-backing fishermen is palpable.
The country feels deeply split and it is the responsibility of politicians from all sides to try and close the divisions rather than widen them further.