WATCH: Ben Wallace’s Penny Mordaunt Leadership Jibe

On Tuesday he was a chef, last night he was a comedian. For his second consecutive appearance as guest of honour at a Westminster summer bash, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace entertained the hundreds gathered at ConservativeHome’s annual reception yesterday with a few well-placed gags at his colleagues’ expense. The crowd seemed to go for the first third, though a fellow Cabinet Minister suggested the latter 10 minutes could have been trimmed.

Opening with a crack at Michael Gove, Wallace quipped:

“Quite a hard speech to give, because not only is speaking to your own is always one of the biggest challenges, it’s one of those speeches where you’re supposed to be funny. And I’m not Michael Gove. Well, I’m not how he used to be…”

Not bad. Although he saved the best for his MoD predecessor – and potential leadership rival – Penny Mordaunt:

“Today, you’ll have seen the helicopters flying overhead, just before I gave my speech. That wasn’t a reminder that if you don’t laugh, I have snipers in some of those helicopters. It was simply the fact that it is Armed Forces week. Today it was the week that we celebrate our Armed Forces. Today was Reserves day and we have many colleagues in the House who are reserves. We’ve got Mark Francois, he is in the reserves, we’ve got Penny Mordaunt who is a reservist as well in the Royal Navy. So Penny’s got three jobs: she’s in the reserves, she’s an MP and the leadership.”

Smiles all round, no Penny in sight, though Guido hears she’s got party planning of her own to do…

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Zelensky Gifts Ben Wallace ‘Russian Warship, Go F*** Yourself’ Stamps

Zelensky has widened his UK love-in to include Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, as well as Boris. On an unannounced visit to Kyiv today, Wallace was presented with a framed piece containing Ukraine’s infamous stamps commemorating the attack on Snake Island, during which Ukrainian soldiers told a Russian warship to “go f*** yourself”. The president dutifully signed the gift. Hopefully they won’t be too valuable for Wallace to keep upon his return…

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CCHQ Makes Ben Wallace PM

Ben Wallace’s showing during the Ukraine crisis has certainly upped his odds as next PM with the bookies, and he’s currently polling as the most popular cabinet member with the Tory grassroots. While he’s publicly said he’s not interested in the job – “to be Defence Secretary is just an amazing thing… I am not really attracted to anything else other than that” – it seems the digital team over at CCHQ have different plans. A co-conspirator spotted this graphics cock-up while scrolling the party’s homepage…

That the CCHQ graphics team have wrongly promoted a cabinet minister should come as little surprise, given they previously made Chris Grayling party chairman for 27 seconds. More recently, Guido spotted the team had accidentally used a picture of York while announcing the new treasury campus in Darlington. Can you tell they’ve just lost their Head of Press and the Communications Director is on holiday? 

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Ben Wallace Takes Stonking Lead in ConservativeHome Cabinet Poll, Truss Slips to Fifth

The latest ConservativeHome cabinet poll is out and team Wallace will be delighted to see not only does he remain the most popular Cabinet member among the grassroots, he’s now opened up a 19 point lead. The PM’s No. 10 revamp has clearly gone down well as Stephen Barclay’s shot up to second place. Truss has dropped by 8.4 points to fifth place. There are now no negative rated members, with Boris shooting up over 34 points from -17.3% to 17.3%…

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Ben Wallace Destroys Corbyn Over ‘Stop the War’ Ukraine Lunacy

Ben Wallace this afternoon effortlessly dismantling the ‘both sides’ nonsense that Corbyn and his friends like to dish out every time Putin pushes his luck:

“…We didn’t put 165,000 combat troops on the edge of a sovereign country and hold a gun to the head of a democratically elected government. We didn’t do that, Russia did that. We have nothing to de-escalate from, Russia does. And I do hope the right honourable gentleman might condemn the stop the war coalition, [which] seems to always paint us as the aggressor. Maybe he’d like to go and ask the people of Ukraine who [they] actually think the aggressor is.”

At least Jeremy hasn’t suggested “peacefully” separating Ukraine. Yet.

UPDATENow Wallace has given Caroline Lucas a history lesson:

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Rich’s Monday Morning View

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