While Matt may not be King of the Jungle, at least he’s still got a friend in Desmond Swayne. Speaking this morning during DCMS questions, Swayne hailed Hancock’s tenure down-under as such a success that he deserves to have the whip restored on merit alone.
“[For the] sheer spunk of my right honourable friend the Member for West Suffolk’s contribution to television, it would be churlish not to restore the whip, wouldn’t it?”
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan joined in commending Matt for swallowing bits of animals “with gusto”, though reminded the House she doesn’t have the power to restore the whip herself, no matter how many anuses Hancock chewed through:
“As my right honourable friend will know, that is not a decision for me. But we can always depend on the Member for West Suffolk to attack every challenge with gusto. And I wasn’t surprised at all to see him taking on all sorts of parts of animals during the show…
Donelan then went on to insist that, unlike two of her predecessors at DCMS, she has no plans to head to the jungle herself any time soon:
“…it has become a little bit of a thing for my predecessors to join that show, but I hope that I can provide reassurance that I have no intentions of ever doing so.”
Guido can’t imagine why…
The race for the next Tory leader is officially on with Boris Johnson set to announce his resignation plans. While furious Tory MPs lobby for him to go now and install Raab as a caretaker PM, candidates to replace him are already coming out of the woodwork.
Last night Suella Braverman, while refusing to quit the government, both called on Boris to go and announced she will stand for leader. This morning Sir Desmond Swayne became the first MP to declare his support for her.
On The Today Programme this morning, Steve Baker said he was seriously considering a run after consistently placing in the top 10 of the Conservative Home members’ poll of preferred Tory leader.
Guido’s, therefore, launched his usual Tory leadership spreadsheet. As per, usual caveats apply: Tory MPs are the slipperiest, least truthful, least trustworthy and duplicitous electorate imaginable. If they are doing well candidates deliberately hide their early support to give the impression of growing momentum.
Guido’s list is compiled from what we are hearing and from those who have advocated publicly for a candidate. Here’s who we think is backing who so far – get in touch with email@example.com with any updates.
*Yes we know it should be whom. But no.
Full spreadsheet at order-order.com/backers:
Sir Desmond Swayne failed to read the room when he intervened during Starmer’s speech to say:
“[Starmer] wouldn’t want the government of this kingdom to be overthrown by a wicked and brutal regime. I venture that he would want a leading role in the resistance. He wouldn’t be queueing at the airport, would he?”
Which some seem to have taken as a suggestion Afghan refugees shouldn’t be leaving the country at all. Suspect Swayne was referring to men of fighting age. Calls of “shame” and “disgrace” from the Chamber were perhaps not entirely justified…
With numerous MPs coming out of the woodwork yesterday to announce planned boycotts of conference over a potential vaccine passport policy, Guido can understand why Tory chair Amanda Milling tried to assuage nerves in the MP group chat yesterday, saying “No decisions have been made”. It seems George Eustice didn’t get the memo…
“as I say it could be that business conference, including possibly party conferences where you have large numbers of people indoors there could be a case for it there, we haven’t ruled that out.”
Guido can reveal further Tory MPs’ displeasure at the news. A couple of members have said while they had no plans to attend conference this year, they’re not happy with the news:
Craig Tracey: “I wasn’t planning to be at Conference this year anyway, so not something I’ve considered. I don’t agree with the concept of vaccine passports though”
Anne Marie Morris: “is opposed to the use of domestic vaccine passports but hasn’t attended conference for a number of years as she feels it’s a waste of time, that could be far better used being in the constituency… On that basis, you could say she’s been ‘boycotting’ conference long before the issue of vaccine passports came up.”
Greg Smith MP noted Milling’s wobble, though he said he remains wholly opposed to vaccine passports.
“I am booked to go and am double jabbed, but am very sympathetic to the point that the Conservative Party should not discriminate against people because of their health choices/records. Hopefully the Party does not go down this route!”
Sir Desmond Swayne says he will go to a vaccine passport-ed conference given he’s already paid, though issued the warning that he will be there in a capacity to “stiffen the Resistance”. It’s a good point from Sir Desmond – if every anti-vaccine passport MP and member boycotts, there’ll be no one there to push the arguments…
MPs were subjected to a very passionate speech by Sir Desmond Swayne this afternoon; ever a leading Covid-skeptic the MP called for Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance to be sacked over their fear-mongering speech last week, along with asking whether the PM has been “abducted by Dr Strangelove and reprogrammed by the SAGE over to the dark side”. Based on conversations Guido’s had, this is exactly the sort of straight-talking debate many backbenchers are craving…
After ranting in the Commons that compulsory face masks are a “monstrous imposition” on Britons, Sir Desmond Swayne has publicly u-turned on his fierce opposition. In a Tweet this morning, Sir Desmond tells of arriving at the Post Office to discover “the only serviceable covering available was [his dog] Snoop’s blanket.” Thankfully the worker behind the counter had some proper versions of the accessory to sell to Swayne…
Whether or not to stand by their initial opposition is clearly splitting the some sections of the anti-mask right. After articulating in Parliament that “nothing would make me less likely to go shopping than the thought of having to mask up”, Sir Desmond has acquiesced. By contrast, James Dellingpole is still resisting. Guido is tempted to send him a fetching branded face mask…