Mark Harper Overtakes McVey, Cleverly and Rory Stewart

Mark Harper’s entry makes it a dozen Tory MPs entered in the race, he announced his bid with a Telegraph interview this morning. Tories are braced for further launches from Priti Patel and Penny Mordaunt, in a very crowded field…

Harper’s USP is a Shaggy-style “it wasn’t me” pitch – his angle is that he’s untainted by the chaos of the last three years as the only candidate not to have served in Theresa May’s Government. He was David Cameron’s final chief whip, generally winning respect from MPs for his even-handed treatment of both sides during the referendum. He’s one of the few former chief whips to actually be liked by his colleagues…

Harper backed Remain before the referendum but has been pro-Brexit since, he voted against MV1 and MV2, although he’s already opened the door to an extension beyond October. By Guido’s count Harper currently has six MP backers, three Leavers in Will Wragg, Steve Double and Scott Mann, and three Remainers in Luke Hall, David Evenett and Jackie Doyle-Price which jumps him ahead of several more high-profile candidates including James Cleverly, Esther McVey and Rory Stewart. Still he’s got a long way to go if he’s going to make it anywhere near the sharp end of the contest…

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Quote of the Day

The Daily Mirror has heard that at the shadow cabinet meeting, Nick Brown lost his train of thought so John McDonnell handed over a piece of paper to help out.

Brown: “You’re really helpful“.

McDonnell: “Yes I am. But it would be great if somebody could tell Skwawkbox that“.



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