Don’t bet your savings on Boris

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Who on earth would want to lead the Conservative Party at this critical moment in its history? Yet amazingly, the runners and riders who want to succeed Theresa May are approaching Grand National levels - 17 so far and probably still counting.

The new incumbent needs to be a knight in shining armour galloping to the rescue of a stricken maiden, while running the country at the same time.

Boris Johnson appears to be the hot favourite. But favourites do not always win races, and certainly not political contests. Relatively obscure names like John Major and Michael Foot find themselves blinking in the limelight, leaving Michael Heseltine and Denis Healey regarding themselves ruefully as the best political leaders Britain never had. Don’t risk your life savings on Boris.

- Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable presents a suave spectacle as he glides across the ballroom - he is a polished hoofer - but perhaps he is not quite so proficient as a political fixer. It was reported some months ago that he was trying to unite all the Remain factions in Parliament as an umbrella party of which, presumably, he would have been leader.

Well, nothing at all, emerged. By contrast, Nigel Farage founded the new Brexit Party within a matter of days. Indeed, the Brexit Party is already running rings round the Tories in the opinion polls. In short, the Tories are running scared as they wait in dread for the outcome of Thursday’s European elections. Will they complete their grisly meltdown?

- It is just 18 years since John Prescott, then Deputy Prime Minister, thumped a protester who threw an egg at him during an election campaign near Rhyl. I am reminded that a senior Labour figure telephoned Sky News, telling them they had made a grave mistake because the incident had never occurred. What the caller seemed unaware of was that Sky actually had an eye-witness. Prescott said: “I was told to connect with the voters. So that is what I did.”

There is a question regularly asked about political officials: “How do you know when they are lying?”

Answer: “When you see their lips move.”

Enough said.