Meet The Candidates: Team Cleverly

James Cleverly enthusiastically jumped into the leadership race last week. Cleverly’s pitch is that he’s the candidate who is best able to win the next general election as someone who “looks different and sounds different”. He’s been hitting the media hard early on – he managed to clock up thirteen media appearances in his first 24 hours in the race. He’s been a popular figure with the grassroots over the years, appointed as the latest Brexit minister, his necessary vocal support for May’s failed deal dented his popularity with Tory members…

Cleverly’s strategy and communications is headed up by his old friend Ahzaz (Az) Chowdhury, who’s taken leave of his job running PR firm Nudge Factory. Jason McKenzie is also on secondment to Team Cleverly from the firm. Leadership campaign veteran Ricky Williams, who worked on Liam Fox’s 2005 bid, is overseeing fundraising and compliance, while experienced former SpAd Paul Holmes is also a key part of the team. Holmes was SpAd for Damian Green, Justine Greening and Patrick McLoughlin, his contact book could help with reaching out to the Remain side of the Tories…

Scottish Tory Colin Clark has been spearheading his Parliamentary efforts. He’s also got Remainer Julian Knight and Leaver Stephen Metcalfe behind him. With 50% of MPs already declared, Team Cleverly need to work quickly to pick up more…

Cleverly is planning to commit to no Brexit extension beyond October 31 and a renegotiation of the backstop, he’s also planning to unveil other specific policy proposals this week which will be costed and audited. Team Cleverly is mulling over the possibility of a more formal launch event when the PM formally steps down as party leader. Cleverly’s energetic campaign is scrapping with Raab and McVey for ‘next generation’ Brexit-backing MPs. Guido hears that activists are being motivated and incentivised with beer prizes for their endeavours. Team Cleverly insist that his unwavering loyalty to May is a product of his military background, and he would pursue a different strategy if he were in charge. Will this be enough to convinced skeptical MPs?

Social media support: Team Cleverly is already doing comparatively well with over 1,633 followers, @JamesCleverly himself has a healthy 48,300 followers. His newly launched Facebook page has some catching up to do with under 150… though he was first out of the blocks with online advertising targeted at Tory MPs and activists:

ConservativeHome members survey: 2.73% (8th)

Ladbrokes odds: 33/1 (9th)


Seen Elsewhere