Boris Johnson’s Victory Speech

Hypocritical Brown Criticises Tory Leadership Election

The former Prime Mentalist has just told an audience at the IPPR “More people voted for Ed Balls on Strictly than for our next Prime Minister.” Tens of thousands of Tories will have voted for Boris to become leader. The country made the Tories the biggest party and in Britain’s system of democracy that gives them the opportunity to form a government. Precisely zero people voted for Gordon Brown to become PM because his thuggish reign of terror scared off any opponent in his party from standing against him. Unbelievable hypocrisy…

Boris Brandishes Kipper

Gizza Job Bozza (Harper Edition)

As the leadership race draws to a close (less than a week to go now) MPs have started to follow in Amber Rudd’s footsteps and more openly pitch for Cabinet jobs. The most blatant of which being Mark Harper this morning…

After his brief leadership pitch, the former Chief Whip is clearly looking to get back into the Cabinet, clearly aiming for the low hanging fruit role of Northern Ireland Secretary. Few want it and the incumbent is sure to be one of the first out the door…

Harper is also following in the video footsteps of Liz Truss who made a slightly more subtle pitch at the start of the month focusing on business. She’s now widely tipped to lead a souped up Business department. #LizForBiz

We’ll start finding out if these pitches are successful in just a week’s time…

Did Hunt Mention He Was An Entreprenur?


As the philosopher and linguist George W. Bush once observed, “The French have no word in their language for ‘entrepreneur'”…

State of the Race: Boris Dominating Social Media

Aside from the big disparities in social media following (Boris has six times the Twitter following of Hunt, 38 times his Facebook following) the real significant numbers are engagement. Brighton Cafe has crunched the numbers and found that the average Boris tweet is retweeted over 1,000 times, compared to just 104 times for Hunt. More significantly, Hunt had 10,475 Facebook interactions in June. Boris had 243,000. As far as social media is concerned, the race is already over…

CCHQ Desperate for Boris Bounce Bank Balance Boost

CCHQ’s coffers have not been in the greatest of shapes since many of their big donors went dry in frustration at the party’s failure to deliver Brexit. The fact that the annual budget has ballooned from around £8 million per year to nearer £20 million per year hasn’t helped, largely due to vast staff increases as part of the Campaign Manager programme. It got so bad that Treasurer Mick Davis had to dip into his own pockets to fund the EU election campaign…

It’s fair to say that there aren’t that many big Boris fans in CCHQ, even so it’s now reached the stage where they’re so desperate for cash that they’re even joking that it #CantBeHunt if the party’s finances are to recover. As a member of the Treasurer’s department put it to one of Boris’s team earlier:

“While it’s clear Press and CRD hate Boris – the truth is the Party needs him. With the financial state the Party is in we need ‘Box Office Boris’, not a ‘straight to DVD also-ran’.”

Backing Boris to bring the big bucks back…

UPDATE: A CCHQ spokesman gets in touch to say: “CCHQ has been and continues to be strictly neutral in this contest.”

Team Hunt Mixing Business and Pleasure

Party political campaigns raise tricky issues for serving Cabinet Ministers and their Special Advisers. There are stringent rules in place to prevent official residences, resources and staff from being used for party political purposes, so Guido was slightly surprised to see this report last night:

“The Sun can also reveal that the senior Cabinet minister’s official residence, 1 Carlton Gardens, was taken over on Monday by a large support team to help him practice.”

Hacks were also bemused to find their morning Hunt campaign WhatsApp blast from Hunt’s SpAd Tim Smith including information about a Foreign Office media trail ahead of a conference starting tomorrow. Alongside a range of highly personal attack lines on Boris…

SpAds were informed in no uncertain terms last month that “you are permitted to take part in leadership campaign activity whilst remaining in post, but any campaigning should be done in your own time and not using departmental resources.” If a SpAd is doing ministerial work they shouldn’t be doing leadership campaign work, if they’re working on leadership they shouldn’t be doing departmental business – or getting paid. The Cabinet Office might not be too impressed by Team Hunt mixing business and pleasure like this…

Read the SpAd guidance in full below:

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ComRes: Boris Wins Majority, Hunt Leads To Hung Parliament

A new poll by ComRes for the Telegraph today shows that in the event Boris is elected leader of the Conservative Party, the party leads Labour by seven points and would win a 40 seat majority in an election. Under Hunt, the two parties are projected to both be tied on 26% with Labour ahead on seats and the Brexit Party winning 23. Under Boris, the Brexit Party win 0…

Hunt Reported to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Over MP Mailshot

Entrepreneur Jeremy Hunt has been coming up with some enterprising strategies to try to reach as many voters as possible in the Tory leadership election. Tory Association Chairmen across the country have been receiving an email from his campaign manager Philip Dunne MP, asking them to forward on two attachments detailing his ten policy pledges to their local memberships. A savvy way to get round GDPR regulations, if the Association Chairmen oblige…

Now he’s found himself in a bit of hot water over a letter he sent to all Tory MPs earlier in the campaign, on the 10th June when the MP voting stage was still in full swing. Hunt used official House of Commons headed letter paper complete with his picture and official campaign slogan in the corner – he’s now been reported to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards by Priti Patel for misuse of Commons stationery. Priti says it could be a “clear breach of Parliamentary rules” which specifically prohibit its use for party political purposes and has asked them to clarify the matter. Awkward…

Read the letter in full below…

UPDATE: Sam Coates has got hold of a separate set of emails which appear to show Hunt’s campaign directly violating data rules. Hunt’s team have been sending out apologies and removing people from distribution lists and say the emails were sent out “mistakenly”. Did they “mistakenly” gather the private phone numbers and email addresses too?

UPDATE: Andrew Bridgen has reported the Hunt campaign to the Information Commissioner’s Office over the alleged data breach. Team Hunt already did the same thing to Team Boris earlier this week via Harriett Baldwin, leadership contest getting dirtier…

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Revealed: The Major Remain Campaign Donors Bankrolling Hunt’s Campaign

Jeremy Hunt has been doing his best to bolster his pro-Brexit credentials during the leadership campaign, despite going off-script on occasion. As the Mail notes this morning however, the people bankrolling his campaign don’t exactly share his newfound enthusiasm for Brexit. Of the nine major donors to Hunt’s campaign in May, seven have also donated to pro-Remain groups and parties in recent years, accounting for almost £75,000 of Hunt’s £104,000 raised. Almost three quarters of Hunt’s total funding in May…

Some have even donated to the Lib Dems and a Labour Remain MP within the last two years:

Overall that’s over £225,000 Hunt’s backers have donated to anti-Brexit campaigns, parties and politicians, before sticking their financial clout behind him. Tory members might well be wondering what he’s telling his hardline Remain donors that he isn’t telling them…

Boris Pledges Free Ports 150,000 Jobs Boost

In his Teesside visit today Boris took the opportunity to back what he described as a “well-written report” by Ben Houchen, Mayor of the Tees Valley advocating the introduction of ‘free ports’ to the UK to transform the coastal communities that surround the UK’s ports. Free ports are areas where tariffs do not apply, allowing companies to import, store, and re-export goods without dealing with tax or government bureaucracy. Sounds good to Guido…

Boris has promised to launch an immediate review into setting up free ports across the UK to encourage investment, and to introduce pilot free ports as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU on 31 October. Some studies say that introducing free ports could increase employment in the North of England by 150,000. Bring it on!

Boris Leading Hunt by Over 2:1 in Final ConHome Poll

Not much to celebrate for Hunt in what was meant to be the final ConHome members’ survey before ballots go out – except many ballots have gone out already. He trails Boris by more than 2:1 on just 29% compared to 67%. There’s 3.6% of Tories who still back “other”, looks like they haven’t given up hope that Rory walks again…

First Look: Tory Leadership Ballot Paper

Today ballot papers have started landing on doormats. Results are announced on 22 July…

Hunt Foxed Over Fox Hunt Ban

Hunt’s fox hunt stunt has not exactly gone to plan in the, er, hunt for Number 10. After desperate attempts to quell the row by releasing the transcript and late-night efforts to change the Telegraph headline, Hunt was like a fox on the run as he repeatedly performed screeching U-turns on the Today Programme. Hunt now says he was “just giving a straight answer to a straight question but the law is not going to change.” Which isn’t quite a straight-up reflection of what he said last night…

Hunt tries to escape questions about whether he personally thinks it’s cruel with the line that “my view is a matter of public record”, it’s not enough to save him from a hounding by the presenter. He repeatedly insists “this is not something I will seek to change as Prime Minister”, despite having told the Telegraph that he would hold a vote if a majority existed in Parliament for it and vote in favour of repealing it – and that it would even be part of his next general election manifesto. First abortion and now this, Hunt says he thinks the laws are wrong but doesn’t want to change them. Which makes you wonder why he even wants to lead…

Why Have Hunt’s 2016 Photos Disappeared?

Jeremy Hunt’s official Facebook page has an expansive public photo library dating back to 2013. Strangely one year doesn’t feature at all. A regular uploader in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019, Hunt seems to have missed out one key year, 2016. Must have been an uneventful year…

Or could it be the case that Jeremy has engaged in some revisionism, deleting all the photos taken after July 2015, and before 2017? Like the one above which Guido retrieved from the memory hole? The internet never forgets…

Hunt Announces First Cabinet Pick: Karen Bradley

Last night Jeremy Hunt told an audience in Northern Ireland that he would keep Karen Bradley as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Bradley, a May loyalist, is widely understood to not be liked by the DUP. Frosty relations on that front are not wise when the current Tory-DUP majority in the Commons is just three votes. It’s also highly unusual to openly promise jobs in the middle of a campaign. Will Hunt be publicly appointing the rest of his fantasy cabinet over the next few weeks..?

Runners & Riders: Who Will Be the Next Chancellor?

The reward for Cabinet ministers backing one of the two candidates is much hoped for preferment. What they would prefer most of all is to become Chancellor. The bookies’ three leading contenders are Liz Truss, Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock.

Sajid Javid is the bookies’ favourite at 5/6, Boris has noticeably referenced the Saj a few times at hustings, perhaps more than any other. Saj clearly wants the job. He has Treasury and financial markets experience so his qualifications are clear. He also is a tax cutter and the expectations are that Boris will return to the traditional Tory vote winning strategy of cutting taxes. Guido has to agree with the punters that Saj looks likely except…

Liz Truss (4/1) really wants to be the first woman Chancellor.* In line for a promotion as the first Cabinet minister to come out for Boris, and a tireless defender of him in the media. After listening to her job application / speech at a recent Taxpayers’ Alliance event, Guido really wants her to be Chancellor too. She is the darling of Westminster wonks and free market think tanks. Boris could appoint her, she would definitely make headlines. When Guido teased her recently by addressing her as “Madam Chancellor” she seemed to have difficulty suppressing a frisson. Expectations are that she will actually get BEIS. #Liz4Biz

Matt Hancock (11/2) did work in the Treasury for Osborne, understands it, would be popular choice with Treasury mandarins – which is possibly a good reason not to give it to him. Given he is doing a good job at Health he should perhaps spend some more time doing that. His ambition is unlimited and unhidden. Since the NHS is on target to be the biggest spending department, there is an argument that if power is his thing he should stay where he is…

And if Hunt wins? Guido hasn’t really given that much thought…

*Maggie wanted the job too, she had to settle for PM.

Hunt Calls for Ramping Up of ‘No Deal’ Preparations, a Policy Last Year He Called “Deeply Damaging” that “We Would Regret for Generations”

Jeremy Hunt has just given a speech on ‘No Deal’ preparations at Policy Exchange, setting out his ten point plan to leave. It is well known that Hunt campaigned for remaining in the EU in 2016, Hunt now says he accepts the outcome of the referendum and Brexit must be done. Today he is going further and says he wants to ramp up planning for no deal, yet even over the course of the last few months, he has repeatedly hit out at ‘No Deal’ – a course of action he is today saying he would be willing to deliver. He’s described it as a victory for Vladimir Putin, ‘deeply damaging’ and in the last year he said that this country would “regret [it] for generations”…

  • July 23, 2018 “Only person rejoicing [about No Deal] would be Putin.”
  • January 2, 2019 “A no deal Brexit would cause disruption that could last some time. Even if you are someone who believes that Britain will flourish and prosper, whatever that disruption might be, that is not something that any government should willingly wish upon its people”
  • February 20, 2019 “So none of us should have any doubt that failing to secure a ratified Withdrawal Agreement between Britain and the EU would be deeply damaging, politically as well as economically.”
  • July 17, 2018 “[No Deal] would be a mistake we would regret for generations”

Who to believe? Jeremy Hunt of a few months ago, or the Jeremy Hunt who is today desperate to burnish his Brexit credentials to an electorate sympathetic to ‘No Deal’?

Hunt Slammed In Digital Hustings Comments

The Tories streamed last night’s digital hustings live on Periscope, and while both candidates delivered strong performances the comments section revealed one of Hunt’s biggest flaws as a candidate – the enthusiasm gap. His low energy levels appear to not have been able to galvanise a support base in the style of Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage, or even Rory Stewart, meaning the comments were almost universally hostile to him.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Boris as Hulk…

‘Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them. Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done.’

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