Meet the Candidates: Team Rory

Much like the man himself, Rory Stewart’s campaign has meandered between novelty and farce, what there’s no doubt about is that he’s made the biggest impression of all the rivals jockeying for position behind Boris Johnson. Behind the stunts and awkward videos however, there’s a well-organised campaign team skilled in the art of astute press management. Just look at the Telegraph’s front page this morning which Rory has cleverly tried to spin as an attack on his past links to MI6 – as if a front page putting him in the same bracket as James Bond is remotely negative publicity. Guido lifts the lid on the team holding the camera while Rory takes his “selfie” videos…

Rory’s campaign manager is his wife, Shoshana Clark, who moved to Afghanistan with her first husband to work for Stewart’s Turquoise Mountain charity in 2006, only to promptly leave him for Stewart and become Chief Executive of the charity. Another key part of the team is Rory’s SpAd Lizzie Loudon, an alumni of Vote Leave, Theresa May’s press team and, naturally, Hanbury Strategy. Also on Team Rory are Ramsay Jones, David Cameron’s former Scotland adviser and James Johnson, a current Downing Street SpAd and Theresa May’s pollster. Guido hopes the SpAds are following the strict civil service rules and have either resigned their jobs or are taking unpaid leave to work on the campaign…

Rory’s robust anti-No Deal stance has scooped him up endorsements from key members of the Tory Remainer establishment that previously looked to be getting behind Hunt – Justice Secretary David Gauke is a key part of his campaign while May’s deputy David Lidington also came out for Rory yesterday. Regular Remainer rebels including Ken Clarke, Dominic Grieve, Nicholas Soames, Antoinette Sandbach and Caroline Spelman have all lined up behind Rory as well, he’s yet to win backing from a single Brexiteer. Not exactly a representative cross-section of the Tory Party…

Rory’s trousered over £50,000 in the last few weeks including £10,000 from Russian Hedge Fund manager Lev Mikheev, £10,000 from Khaled Said, son of Saudi political fixer Wafic Said, and £5,000 from Edwina Snow, wife of Remainer snowflake Dan. A handsome war chest for Team Rory to play with, if they can make it through this week…

Social media support: Rory’s eccentric social media game needs little introduction, it has achieved levels of cut-through most of his rivals can only dream of. Rory’s personal Twitter following has rocketed up to 169k in recent weeks while he has a moderate Facebook following of 15k. He’s even got more Instagram followers than Insta-queen Liz Truss…
Mainstream media support: Pretty much every non-Tory in the media…
ConservativeHome members survey: 16.33% (2nd)
PaddyPower odds: 8/1 (2nd)

Snowflake Dan Eats Humble Pie Over Brexit Party Leaflet Hoax

After sending the Caroles and Jolyons into overdrive for 24 hours (and the rest of Twitter into meme-making mode) with the claim that he’d received a Brexit Party leaflet directly inside his postal ballot, TV historian Dan Snow has now issued a grovelling apology for the obviously false insinuation. His claim just melted away…

Snow knew the game was up after New Forest District Council brutally quashed Jolyon Maugham’s conspiracising before putting out a statement with the obvious explanation that it was “likely that the leaflet was delivered on or around the same day as the postal voting pack, which is how this misunderstanding may have arisen”. Guido hopes Snow approaches his historical inquiries with a bit more critical thinking…

At least Snow had the good grace to share the statement himself, although not before the ‘Didn’t Happen of the Year Awards’ got involved, and issue a grovelling half-apology via the BBC where he admits that “of course it could absolutely be my fault and my own incompetence”. You didn’t need to be a celebrity historian to work that one out…

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