Boris Charms MPs Back Onside Over Dinner

Boris’s charm offensive with Tory MPs at the Park Plaza Hotel seemed to work a treat last night, with the speech going down so well it even ended with a standing ovation. In December this would have been unimaginable. Three months is a long time in politics.

Alex Wickham has the best lines from the speech, with Boris kicking off by saying “good evening ladies and gentleman, or as Keir Starmer would put it, people who are assigned female or male at birth.” He didn’t shy away from the obvious reason the dinner was happening in the first place, joking that “one of reasons that Putin is deluded and isolated is because he has no cabinet of equals, no 1922 Committee and nobody to write 54 letters to Sir Graham Brady”, and even claiming he’s “more popular in parts of Kyiv than in parts of Kensington.” Earnestly promising to “turn it around” for the next election…

ITV and Newsnight doorstepped the MPs as they arrived, with Paul Brand asking if “dinner and drinks” would buy their loyalty. Andrew Bridgen – who tore up his letter earlier this month – assured that it wouldn’t, although the “international security situation will”. Boris also took the opportunity to try out a few new attack lines, saying “it is impossible to imagine a Labour defence minister arming Ukraine in the way this Conservative government has.” Expect to hear this line repeated in the next few weeks. 

An MP in attendance tells Guido “It wasn’t hugely gag laden. Just the right tone. Self deprecating and went down really well.” Looks like Graham Brady’s in tray won’t be as full as expected…

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