Guido brings you another one of the teams behind the Tory leadership hopefuls – this time it’s Sajid Javid who is hoping to come through the chaos as the compromise candidate. Sajid was flying high as the front-runner last summer. However his star has waned as Brexit has taken over the agenda. His unexpected decision to vote for remaining in the EU three years ago – despite once being an outspoken Eurosceptic – fatally undermined his hitherto Thatcherite brand with a substantial section of the Tory membership and will not be forgotten. Can ‘The Saj’ revitalise his leadership hopes now?
Sajid’s long-serving former SpAd Nick King is back and heavily involved, alongside his work at the Centre for Policy Studies. Sajid also has an able team of current SpAds behind him, including yet another Hanbury connection in the form of Olivia Robey as well as ex-ConservativeHome / ex-CCHQ operator Sam Coates… who very usefully knows the contours of the Tory rank and file well.
There’s also a Vote Leave connection – Sajid has snapped up former Vote Leave and TaxPayers’ Alliance Chief Executive Matthew Elliott who is providing informal advice at this stage. Guido understands that Team Saj has also recently been bolstered by the arrival of CCHQ’s former Head of Media Monitoring and meme guru Gareth Milner. Like Nick King he’s also splitting his time between Team Saj and the CPS…
On the Parliamentary side, Rob Halfon is coordinating support for Javid amongst MPs, while ministers Chris Skidmore and John Glen are also Saj supporters. Sajid will be hoping the Brexiteers take each other out, allowing him to come through as the compromise candidate with the best free marketeer credentials…
Social media support: Avid 4 Javid hasn’t quite hit the heights of Ready for Raab yet but has 218 loyal followers, Sajid himself has an impressive 112k followers and his Facebook has 14k.
Mainstream media support: Tim Montgomerie publicly declared his support for Javid last year, the Home Secretary will also be looking for support from law-and-order focused papers like the Daily Mail now they’ve gone soft on Brexit.
ConservativeHome members survey: 5.4% (5th)
YouGov public recognition: 35% (5th)
PaddyPower odds: 11/1 (5th=)
Tim Montgomerie is back in new media, the founder of ConservativeHome.com is launching UnHerd.com and hiring a big team of writers for the start-up. He has got the financial backing of Paul Marshall, the founder of Marshall Wace – one of Europe’s largest hedge fund groups. Tim tells Guido he has secured a financial commitment for 4 years.
Launching within the next few months, UnHerd.com won’t chase the breaking news because the latest things are rarely the most important. Its journalists will be given the time and will possess the skills to dive deeply into their subject areas. Together they will challenge out-of-date, incorrect and even dangerous thinking on economics, politics, technology, religion and the media. They will profile thinking and movements from around the world that do not receive the attention they deserve from the centres of political, economic and media power.
Marshall is pouring his millions into backing centrist political projects. Those of us who have followed Tim’s output over the years have detected his centre-right outlook becoming more centre and less right over the years. Nevertheless Guido wishes Tim the best of luck…
Tim Montgomerie’s column for today’s Times is his last. Montie says he’s off to set up a new project after nearly four years at the paper, good luck to him. MediaGuido understands he will be replaced by Iain Martin, another sensible Brexiteer whose Reaction website has published some of the more thoughtful Brexit-related punditry. Iain will be writing a weekly column starting next week. An important hire especially now the paper is losing Tim. Most of the Times’ other comment writers are zombie metropolitan columnists spouting increasingly irrelevant punditry…
Alex Massie on Tim Montgomerie’s decision to leave the Tories:
“Part of the point of the Tories being in power is that their being in office means other people are not. That has a value in and of itself too. Because however bad or disappointing the Tories may be, it should always be remembered that things could be even worse.”
“after 28 years of membership, I’m resigning. I’m not joining another party but don’t want to give another penny to the Cameron project”
Europe the final straw:
“And nothing registers more strongly on the social injustice front than recommending staying in the EU. It remains the greatest source of social misery on the continent — requiring intense austerity in countries such as Greece and causing terrible youth unemployment across southern Europe from which millions will suffer lifelong scars. I’m just glad that Mrs Thatcher cannot see what her party has become.”
Read his full devastating critique of Cameron and Osborne here…
Tim Montgomerie is first to throw Gordon’s words back in his face. He won’t be the last…