SPIN WARS: Boris and Davis ‘Trying to Stitch Each Other Up’

Boris and David Davis are both trying amusingly hard to convey that they are not manoeuvres. Boris has enthusiastically thrown his support behind Theresa May on TV and in The Sun. Those WhatsApp messages expressing loyalty yesterday were self-evidently written to be leaked. Davis did a broadcast round this morning where he offered “100% support” for May, telling ITV he would not challenge her. And yet…

Allies of both Boris and Davis believe the other is trying to stitch up their respective leadership chances. Boris’ supporters accuse Davis, a prolific texter, of hyping up Johnson’s alleged behind-the-scenes manoeuvring to journalists, with the aim of making him look like a dastardly plotter. They see Davis’ hand in Sunday newspaper stories claiming Boris is set to launch a bid. Team BoJo quickly and strongly denied the stories when the papers came out on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, those backing Davis accuse Boris of going too early in an attempt to steal a march on DD. Davis himself took a barely-veiled dig at Johnson on the Today programme, accusing unnamed “colleagues” of “self-indulgence”. Boris met with a number of high-profile old allies and former advisers in the days before the election, and anti-Boris MPs say he was touting support in the early hours of June 9. Wherein lies the truth?

It was already obvious that if May goes Boris and Davis will be the front-runners to replace her. Ignore the wish fulfilment fantasy forecasts of the pro-Remain broadsheet pundits who tip Amber Rudd, she has little chance of getting the support of enough Tory MPs and would win a derisory vote from the rank and file. The shadow boxing between DD and BoJo over the last 48 hours all but confirms their ambitions. Notwithstanding the chance that somehow tonight’s 1922 goes nuclear, they both know going too early is mad and that patience and perceived loyalty is a much better strategy…




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