The law of diminishing returns now applies to Tory leaders – each one clings on for less time than the last – so it’s as well to start preparing for Liz Truss’s successor. Matt Hancock, the former health secretary who represents Newmarket, tells me to have a flutter on Kemi Badenoch.
Ladbrokes currently have Badenoch and Kwasi Kwarteng as joint favourites at 8/1, with Boris Johnson just behind at 12/1, a price he shares with Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak.
At a dinner following an ESG summit at the Shearman & Sterling building in the City of London, also attended by Sir Vince Cable, Gina Miller and Vicky Pryce, Hancock was blisteringly honest about how he saw things playing out during a Truss premiership.
“You can see from her cabinet that the PM has decided to only have people who are absolute loyalists and she’s put that above talent,” he says. “It’s a different order to anything we’ve seen before in modern times.
“She must have made the calculation that she is safe until the next election. By the rules, she is safe now for 12 months, and then it will only be nine months to an election. So she’s obviously decided to have people around her who are going to support her so she can be as radical as she likes. And I expect her to be pretty radical.”