Tories vote in second round of Tory leadership contest, as candidates round on Rory Stewart

Not that confident: Rory Stewart.

The second round of the Conservative Party leadership election has begun, amid acrimony between some candidates and dark horse contender Rory Stewart.

Mr Stewart, who polled lowest among contenders who got through to the second round, has been quietly (and politely) amassing a surprising amount of momentum.

He came second in a survey of candidates by ConservativeHome, behind Boris Johnson.

He was considered the most impressive candidate in the Channel 4 televised debate on Sunday – in which Mr Johnson was “empty-chaired”.

And it seems he is thought to be the most “disruptive” candidate apart from Mr Johnson.

This could make him a danger to Mr Johnson’s own chances if they face each other in the BBC televised debate today (June 18). It seems likely that, if he does get through the current round of voting, he’ll be asking awkward questions about the promises Mr Johnson has been making.

It seems Mr Johnson has persuaded groups that have irreconcilable differences to back him and Mr Stewart is likely to ask whether this means he has been offering different things to different groups, telling them what they want to hear rather than what he intends to do.

Strangely, it seems the other candidates don’t want this to happen and would prefer Mr Johnson to have an easy time of it, as they are doing their level best to gang up on Mr Stewart.

Sajid Javid said Mr Stewart was effectively the candidate for remaining in the European Union: “I think [Stewart’s] effectively telling us that we should remain in the EU and there is a small constituency amongst my colleagues that would rather remain than leave, and I think that is part of the challenge that we have to deal with. And so I think up to a point Rory can attract that support but it’s not going to get us any further.”

It is possible the claim was prompted after Mr Stewart, who is MP for Penrith and the Border in Cumbria, commented that he was concerned about the effect of a no-deal Brexit on sheep farmers in his constituency. He has repudiated Mr Javid’s words:

There have also been rumours that Mr Stewart may have been a spy for MI6 when he worked as the British Representative to Montenegro in the wake of the Kosovo campaign in 1999. If he had been, he certainly would not admit it – and in any case, he said, the press would not be allowed to report it, according to the law.

Will this combined criticism cause Mr Stewart’s support to collapse? We’ll know very soon.

Asked how he was feeling when he cast his own vote, Mr Stewart admitted: “Not that confident.”

Possibly the most interesting comment on it has come from David Gauke, who supports the Stewart campaign. He tweeted:]

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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9 thoughts on “Tories vote in second round of Tory leadership contest, as candidates round on Rory Stewart

  1. wildswimmerpete

    Johnson is behaving like a wannabe Adolph Hitler with his strings being pulled by the likes of Drumpf and his lieutenants Bolton and Pompeo. He’s an evil, untrustworthy, manipulative congenital liar coupled with low intelligence.

  2. Growing Flame

    I can’t see that the “accusation” of being an MI6 officer could damage Stewart’s support amongst Tories. After all, many of them have an exaggerated “James Bond” view of how to handle the cruel world. Britain may not be able to send the gunboats in any more but small numbers of apparent supermen such as 007 or the SAS can act as substitutes for the real, colonial thing.

    It’s ironic that the recent YouGov poll of Tory members revealed that a majority would, for example, contemplate the “loss” of the north of Ireland if it meant gaining Brexit instead.So all their weasel words about “gallant little Ulster” and the importance of the Union with Ireland count for nothing. As do their crocodile tears about the near 1,000 British soldiers killed trying to keep the north of Ireland under British occupation. They would give it all up and forget about the loss of life , all to get their precious Brexit.

    Weasel words, crocodile tears ,in pursuit of unicorns. Are the Tories a political Party or a poorly-run menagerie?

    1. Zippi

      People didn’t vote for an imaginary “Brexit,” people voted to leave the European Union, which we should be able to, if we so choose. Talk of unicorns, cliff edges, crashing out etc. are unhelpful political terms with little substance. Parliament’s job, whether we like it, or not, is to get us out of the E.U., not to come up with endless excuses as to why we can’t leave. I could be wrong but it could be that the contemplation of the loss of Northern Ireland may be a reaction to what may be perceived as us being told that we can’t “leave” i.e. the backstop. How much is politics and how much is lack of political will we may never know but nearly 3 years after the Referendum, people are understandably frustrated.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Okay – when those less-than-a-million more people voted for Brexit, were they doing it in the knowledge that simply leaving the EU would mean the imposition of huge tariffs on the import and export of goods? That it would jeopardise their jobs and livelihoods as these changes worked their way through the economy? That their free-at-the-point-of-use health service would be in danger of sell-off as their government races to do a deal – at any cost – in a desperate attempt to drag us all back from the cliff-edge?

        No? Then the referendum result was invalid – or at least it can’t be used to make the suggestion you have made here.

        And if you don’t know, then – again – you can’t use it to make that suggestion.

        Were people told, in no uncertain terms, that simply leaving the European Union would cause incalculable harm to the fabric of the United Kingdom?

      2. Zippi

        Mike, people were told many things, during the Referendum Campaign, most of which was speculation. Nobody knew what was going to happen and still, that is the case. I am not talking about the validity or otherwise of the process, merely that people voted to leave, not for “Brexit,” whatever that is. My suggestion, as you call it, is that people are frustrated that the result has not been implemented, nearly 3 years after the vote and 3 months after we were told we would have left. All that we hear from Parliament, is excuses as to why we can’t leave. I think it entirely possible that people, in their frustration, are opting for the path of least resistance, just like all of those who are now calling for no deal, because they think that it’s the easiest way out. I would hazard a guess that most of those people did not want that at the time but they’re now fed up. I am not advocating this, myself, merely saying that I understand why this might be the case and that it is not simply that people are nasty. It’s too easy to label people.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        You’re saying that you don’t know what people knew when they cast their vote. You don’t know what they wanted when they did so. That means you certainly don’t know what they want now. I notice you have avoided engaging with any of the Brexit- (or Leave-, if you like) related issues I raised.

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