James Forsyth

The restless Tory family

The restless Tory family
Text settings

Today’s YouGov poll is the latest Boris talking point. For what it is worth, it shows that the idea of Boris as leader reduces the Labour lead from six points to one. It is the first polling evidence we’ve seen that suggests the Tories would do better nationally under Boris.

The Boris speculation has now reached such a level that nervous Liberal Democrats are calling up asking whether they should start taking it seriously and sotto voce inquiring as to how the Tories replace their leaders. All of this is, in many ways, hugely premature. Boris isn’t even an MP and there’s a massive difference between Tory backbenchers wondering after a drink or two about whether Boris might be a bet than Cameron and actually deciding to back him.

It does, though, reveal how restless the Tory family is right now. The Cameroons might be justified in thinking that this panic isn’t helping anyone and they might well be right that the public’s patience for Boris’s japes wouldn’t survive him moving into Downing Street. But it is a reminder that the leadership needs to use the autumn conference to reconnect with the party.