by Peter Franklin
Tuesday, 19
July 2022
Analysis
17:15

Did tactical votes defeat Kemi?

A significant number of Tom Tugendhat's voters ended up backing Truss
by Peter Franklin
Queen Kemi. Credit: Getty

Just what do the supporters of Tom Tugendhat think they’re playing at? He was eliminated yesterday, thus the natural assumption is that his former voters are mostly responsible for the shifting totals in today’s ballot. In particular, there’s the mysterious matter of Liz Truss’s tally, which went up by fifteen today — where did they come from if not from the Tom brigade?

Except this explanation doesn’t make sense. Tugendhat is a one nation Tory, so why would half his troops flock to Liz Truss’s neo-Thatcherite banner? Are the Remainers who backed the pro-European MP for Tonbridge and Malling having a little joke by transferring to Truss, who also voted Remain in the referendum? One or two of them might, but fifteen? It seems unlikely. 

But whatever the explanation, the numbers are what they are. Rishi Sunak still came first with 118 votes (up just three on yesterday) and Penny Mordaunt still came second with 92 (up ten). However, Truss — with 86 votes — is now just seven votes away from a spot in the final.

And that brings us to Kemi Badenoch, who bowed out today with a creditable 59 votes. As keen students of mathematics may have noticed, 59 is much bigger number than 7. In fact, it’s so big that if it were divided equally between Mordaunt and Truss, Sunak could be knocked out of the race. 

That’s unlikely to happen. I don’t expect many supporters of the un-wokest candidate (Badenoch) to swing behind the wokest (Mordaunt). That said, there will be a contingent who care more about electability than ideology — and thus may choose to transfer from one likeable woman to another. 

But, if in most cases, ideology trumps other considerations, then Truss should get enough Badenoch votes to finally overtake Mordaunt. Unless, that is, there’s some tactical voting going on. This is pure speculation, of course, but there would be a rationale for it.

Sunak is all but assured of a place in the final two, but if Badenoch had made it through today, Kemimania would have ensued — perhaps propelling her to victory. Polling from both ConHome and YouGov shows Badenoch beating everyone among the party membership. Theoretically, a group of Sunak supporters could have loaned enough votes to Truss to ensure that the deadlier threat was eliminated before the members could have their say. 

A lot of what happens now depends on what Kemi does next. If I were Rishi Sunak I’d offer her a deal. Whether he faces Truss in the final or Mordaunt, having Badenoch on side could make the difference between victory and defeat. Against Truss — a Rishi-Kemi ticket would have more in the way of Tory soundness than Rishi alone. And against Mordaunt, Sunak could do with an extra helping of star quality.  

On the other hand, Badenoch could just bide her time. Responsibility for what happens over the next two years belongs to someone else now. Perhaps she should let them take it. 

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
12 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
4 months ago

Regardless of what happens next, I have been enormously impressed by Kemi. For me, courage is the highest of virtues – and she has it in SPADES. Her time will come.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
4 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Her time will come, indeed, but in the meantime?

Matt M
Matt M
4 months ago

I’m actually pretty satisfied tonight. Not as happy as if she had got through to Round 5 (and I bet Team Sunak did stitch it up) but pleased nonetheless. We have a champion now! And she is soundness personified.

When the Tories come unstuck again and have another leadership race, she wins. If they lose the next election, she becomes leader and wins the election after that.

She will get a big job whoever wins, I guess Home Sec. She doesn’t need to back anyone – the eventual winner can’t ignore her.

And she will make the case over and over -measured, intelligent and good natured – on culture, sex, race, patriotism, independent self-government, controlling immigration and not bankrupting us in the unplanned pursuit of decarbonisation.

Well done Kemi!

Last edited 4 months ago by Matt M
Rangerista
Rangerista
4 months ago

Kemi Badenoch has been the most refreshing of the candidates. This year was maybe too soon for her, but she was a very impressive individual.

Get her two years cabinet experience and she’ll be set up to reclaim the Premiership for the Conservatives in 2029.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
4 months ago

“Polling from both ConHome and YouGov shows Badenoch beating everyone among the party membership.”

The membership should choose and eliminate candidates for MPs to vote on at the end. The process should be reversed.

Name me one contender that got to have another go and succeeded. If MPs don’t want Kemi in now, then when? I don’t think there’ll be another chance for her. Governments don’t last for ever. Opposition lasts a long time.

Last edited 4 months ago by Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
4 months ago

I’m left thinking that this leadership election process has flaws. It seems to me that important selections are made with zero input from non-MPs, while I’m also suspicious as to what’s happening with the arithmetic, and the influence created by individual MP’s ambitions for climbing aboard a band-wagon, rather than the longer-term electoral chances for the party.
While I take the debating between contenders as part of the rough and tumble of democracy, and useful in exposing participants to stress, it also provides ammunition for those wishing to damage the Conservative Party politics, easily done by inaccurate statements or implications, supported by extracts without context.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
4 months ago

Unfortunately I don’t think Kemi’s time will come as if democracy didn’t die yesterday it will when the WEF candidate (that’s all 3 of the remaining charlatans) starts following orders.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
4 months ago

I think she should do nothing and let them stew in the juices of the mess the next 2 years is likely to be. I also think that the kind of tactical voting illustrates what an undemocratic and corrupt selection system the Party now has. The anonymity granted means that absolutely anything goes.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 months ago

Peter might be right to suggest that Kemi should have nothing to do with the next government, which will surely be a disaster.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
4 months ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And my advice to Kemi from a well-wisher, nay, a fan, is to resist the offer of Home Secretary!

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
4 months ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Yes – Home Secretary is the poison chalice amongst the high offices of state. No-one – regardless of talent – can ever do the job well enough to please anyone, let alone everyone.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
4 months ago

Let’s not forget that Corbyn was chosen by the membership twice…