My German is not that great. But I think I understand the headline. pic.twitter.com/WuwOGZZdz9
— Paul (@paulj71) June 13, 2019
I couldn’t resist adding the above tweet. Many thanks to BJackals Foreign Correspondent Tony Jay; the timing (2am GMT) is not ideal for him to respond immediately, but I wanted to give the maximum number of American readers time to enjoy it properly. (Also, who knows but that by tomorrow morning, there will need to be a *third* ETA… so: “The Tory Leadership Election 2019 – Sort of not-Brexit but really it is Edition”:
I recently had the very great pleasure of being lured to an abandoned Scout Hut just outside the picturesque town of Caernarfon where, for reasons I won’t go into without an opium pipe to hand, I found myself sans trousers and briefly suspended above a Welsh-Rite Satanist altar by a cunning arrangement of hooks and chains while a burly fellow in full horns-and-hooves regalia laboured away at my hairy showpiece with a length of bone-knotted horsetail and, while I was there, I thought, oh, this reminds me, I really must see if anyone at Balloon Juice would be interested in a guest-post about the current Tory Party leadership elections.
So, I did, and here it is.
Now, obviously, very few of you good people will have much of a clue who the various oddballs and grease-spots are jostling to succeed Robot/Zombie hybrid Theresa May as leader of both the Conservative and Unionist Party and (because the Tories made a post-2017 deal with the Orange-Sashed Shouting Party of White Protestant Shouty Extremism known as the DUP) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. With good reason. There’s far too many Democrats in the race to be revealed by the FTFNYT as History’s Greatest Monster to leave any cerebral room for remembering foreign politicians, many of whom are undoubtedly without a snowball’s chance in Guantanamo of getting anywhere near the shiny brass ring anyway, but, since I love to mock the evil and deluded, let’s give them all a gentle squeeze of encouragement and pop their clothes on the hook so we can have a quick butchers at what’s going on down there, eh?
First, a little run down of the actual electoral system the Tories are using to select their leader. In the past you only needed a couple of MPs backing you to get your name thrown into the hat, with prospective candidates being expected to self-audit their chances and take into account the frowny faces of Party grandees should they waste their valuable time with vanity bids, but since the last contest in 2016 they’ve concluded that so many Tory MPs are intemperate fame-whores that it would make more sense and be quicker all round if every nominee had to approach the contest with at least eight declared supporters. Don’t have that level of support? Sit the fuck down, loser.
It all starts with two rounds of voting amongst the MPs of the Parliamentary Party. After the first of these rounds candidates with fewer than 17 votes are eliminated, and after the second candidates with fewer than 33 votes are handed the revolver and a single bullet. At this point if all of the candidates have more than 33 votes (just about technically possible if highly unlikely) then the one with the least support is eliminated, and the votes continue with much behind the scenes horse-trading and back-stabbing with the one garnering the fewest votes from their fellow MPs being dropped each time. Once there’s only two candidates left in the running it’s handed over to the Tory Party membership for a month’s worth of postal voting as somewhere between 40 and 140 thousand clinically sociopathic reptiloids (no one knows the true number, or how many of them are actually alive as opposed to post-mortem bequests) get to foist a Prime Minister on the country without any input from the mere human cattle.
Democracy? Sovereignty? Fuck that, gimmee, gimmee, gimmee.
The race officially opened a couple of days ago but, of course, unofficial campaigning has been going on for weeks if not months, way pre-dating May’s official declaration of surrender. The BBC recently slipped out of its gimp-mask and furry restraints long enough to record what its political wing had revealed about their opinions. Roughly two/thirds of Tory MPs have stated their preferences, but as the Media’s political correspondents are always swift to remind viewers with a hearty laugh and a wink of admiration, Tory MPs are well known as being the most duplicitous, deceitful and downright untrustworthy electorate outside of the world of professional Boxing, so take everything with enough salt to repopulate Sodom.
Boris Johnson – 69 (yeah, it would be) supporters
Jeremy Hunt – 31 supporters
Michael Gove – 30 supporters
Dominic Raab – 21 supporters
Sajid Javid – 18 supporters
Matt Hancock – 15 supporters
Mark Harper – 6 supporters
Esther McVey – 5 supporters
Rory Stewart – 5 supporters
Andrea Leadsom – 4 supporters
Now you may be looking at those figures and wondering how the bottom four could get into the race when they have less than 8 backers. I refer you to the above-mentioned maxim about Tory MPs being duplicitous bastards. Some may be lying about who they support, some of the support may be amongst the 1/3 of MPs who haven’t given an opinion, some may be backing more than one horse. Whatever the truth of the matter, all of them have at least 8 MPs backing their candidacies and will be involved in the contest. Let’s look at them in reverse order and see how very, very bad and unsuited for any post higher than ‘Nameless Dead Extra in GOT spin-off’ they all are.
Andrea Leadsom (4 official supporters)
Dear, dear me, this one’s a floater. Former Leader of the House of Commons, during which time she waged an ultimately unsuccessful war against John Bercow to prevent Parliament from having any say whatsoever in Brexit policy. Came through the usual Tory career route of working in Finance before being parachuted into a safe seat. Perfected the art of saying how very, very important she thought issues like environmental protection and marriage equality were before being ‘forced’ on some damned technicality to vote against laws that would improve or expand them. You may well be familiar with the type. Justly infamous for saying men shouldn’t be child minders because they’re probably paedophiles, has a very shady history with her taxes, and is basically a brand-stamped right-wing Tory nitwit who gets by because she’ll do whatever her bosses tell her and is always ready to say something colossally stupid when a distraction is called for. Bounced back and forth on the issue of Europhobia; supporting a Referendum in 2011, saying that leaving the EU would be an economic disaster in 2013, then being a loud Leave voice in 2016. Came 2nd to Theresa May in the last Tory leadership joust, forced to retire after saying that the fact she had children gave her more of a stake in the future than the (medically) childless May. Ouch!
Her campaign launch this time had her insisting that Parliament didn’t have the right to block a No-Deal Brexit and that the 31st of October was her red line for being out of the EU, which translates into Tory patois as “Imma gonna go WTO, melonfarmer!” and is all about appealing to the Brexit Ultras to save her already stumbling campaign, which won’t be helped by her recent equivocation over whether she’d let the Scots have a 2nd Independence Referendum. Double Ouch! Other than being a complete Brexiteer her big thing is claiming she wants greater funding for policies that support childcare, which is pretty much par for the hypocritical course for a former minister in a Government that slashed all of these programmes to the bone and condemned millions of children to hunger and poverty. She really opposed all that, you see, because she’s a mother. Take her word for it? Nah.
Rory Stewart (5 official supporters)
The Humble Hufflepuff with the backstory of a much-loved but little-attended 2nd son from a Victorian Era Top 10,000 family. The International Development Secretary has done it all, if by ‘all’ we mean “Things you need to be well-connected and financially carefree enough to say bugger the consequences about”. Born in Hong Kong, raised in Scotland and Malaysia, educated at Eton and Oxford, private tutor to the Royal Princes, served briefly in the Black Watch, employed straight off the bat by the Foreign Office (with whispers he may have been doing his bit for MI6 at the time) before taking up a post in Occupied Iraq, during which he was involved in a siege and won an OBE. Walked across Central Asia, worked for a development charity in Afghanistan, speaks many languages, became a Tory MP and has pushed numerous policies that aren’t actually cruel or destructive, which is really odd and out-of-place considering the Party he campaigns for. Brad Pitt bought the rights to his life story with Orlando fucking Bloom lined up to play him in the oddest bit of casting since a young Charles Bronson did that season and a half as Mr Ed. Joanna Lumley says he’s “Just lovely, darling” and he personally delivered his own firstborn child, for fuckity fucksake. Voted Remain in the Referendum, totally opposed to No-Deal and has been scathing about the rightward drift of the Tory Party on the matter since 2016. On the debit side, a close friend of the slimy Michael Gove (about whom more later) and is a Minister in the same Tory Government that brought us Austerity and the current spiral into grotesque inequality, so yeah, it’s not all golden sunshine and iced tea on the veranda.
In all seriousness, though, by far the best of a bad bunch. Seems like a pretty decent guy with the instincts of a diplomat. Woefully out of place in the modern Tory Party and has absolutely zero chance of winning the leadership, but this run might stand him in very good stead when he runs for leader of the Reformed Conservative and Orthodox Wiccan Party in 2030.
Esther McVey (5 official supporters)
Absolute fucking horror show and a disgrace both as a human being and a carbon-based lifeform. Memorably described by colleagues as someone who would “unplug you from life support so she could charge her phone” she’s the base mould for the neo-Thatcherite Tory MP. After a short career as a TV presenter (good luck finding anyone from that period with a good word to say about her) she entered politics and had various stints in and around the Dept of Work and Pensions where she gained a well-deserved reputation for having complete contempt for the poor and for brazen lying in pursuit of far-right ‘policies of punishment’. It’s a long list, but highlights include having oversight of the Health and Safety Executive taken away from her when she was Employment Secretary because the family business she’d been director of was revealed to have violated H&S laws and lying to Parliament about the recommendations of a National Audit Office report into the Government’s brutally nihilistic Universal Credit scheme, both of which she survived by dint of being so nasty her bosses could always use her as a hate sponge. More recently she deleted a tweet claiming all member states would have to adopt the Euro in 2020 (then lied about it) and sneeringly declared that the poor people her policies had immiserated only used food banks because they spent all their money on expensive mobile phones.
A hard-core Brexiteer who has announced she favours a No-Deal Brexit on or before October 31st and would purge anyone with a hint of Remainer heresy from her cabinet, she’s got no chance of getting the big job, but that’s not why she’s running. Her entire campaign is a profile-raising audition for a place in the eventual winner’s cabinet and a favour to equally extreme but less universally despised candidates who can paint themselves as moderate in comparison.
Mark Harper (6 official supporters)
Who? Sounds Australian. Is he an actor? A singer? He’s not a chef, is he? Ah, yes, I remember, a former Chief Whip who had stints in the Shadow Cabinet and later in Cameron’s Coalition Government as Minister for Making Sure Liberal-Democratic Policies Went Nowhere and Minister for Making It Harder for Disabled People to Claim Benefits. Makes a big deal of being a State School educated candidate, though he did of course go to Oxford, and had a career as an accountant for KPMG (lovely people, so trustworthy) before entering politics. Despite a resume that includes enthusiastically implementing May’s ugly ‘Hostile Environment’ policies while Immigration Minister and being a fervent foreign policy hawk he’s pretty much a moderate in Tory terms (if not in actuality), which makes him a nobody and his campaign an exercise in offering a non-existent ‘Tory Centre’ someone to coalesce around.
On Brexit, he voted Remain, but now is doing the usual hot-coal dance of saying he thinks he can get a negotiated deal (unicorn flavoured and sprinkled with magic pony dust) but won’t rule out a No-Deal, and would support a can-kicking extension after 31st October. That alone guarantees he’s getting nowhere with the Tory membership and he’ll be lucky to make it past the first couple of rounds.
Matt Hancock (15 official supporters)
The very ambitious Health Secretary who thinks he can be the dark horse candidate the ‘Anyone but Boris’ majority would prefer to elevate to the Big Chair. Private school and Oxbridge educated economist who served as Chief of Staff to Chancellor George Osborne and so was one of the architects of Austerity. Whereas a lot of the Tory candidates come to Politics via Business and treat the job as a route to buying that Grift City penthouse, Hancock appears to be a real Politics First boy, bopping around various jobs as enforcer of Conservative Austerity policy and being the go-to guy when you need someone who can bullshit economics numbers to make those policies seem less disastrous for the country. Fast tracked at every opportunity he apparently considers himself the ‘cool, young candidate’ that The Yoot will swing Blue for. Why? Well he knows the Internet isn’t a series of tubes and has his own App, which, if you ignore the fact that it’s been scathingly reviewed by privacy campaigners as a nightmare of data capture for anyone using it, at least sounds Kewl.
Brexit wise, he voted Remain and he’s saying some of the right things, like No-Deal isn’t an option and the only choice is between leaving the EU with May’s withdrawal agreement or not leaving at all, but that’s going to cut no mustard with the fanatically Europhobic Party membership, for all that he’s cosied up to the Brexiteers post-Referendum. Basically, he’s doing the same “Oooh, I can renegotiate the Deal once I’m PM, trust me” bollocks as most other candidates and it’s just not what the very base Base want to hear. I don’t see a route for him to win if he gets to the last 2 standing, but maybe that’s as far as he intends to get. What sane person would want to become PM right now anyway?
Sajid Javid (18 official supporters)
The Saj! How does a working-class (non-practising) Muslim boy from Rochdale via Bristol become a Conservative Home Secretary of the UK? Easy. All he’s got to do is define himself as the Tory Party’s Asian Best-Friend, definitely not one of ‘those’ browns, who he’s always happy to rubbish and talk down while defending the Conservatives from accusations of Islamophobia. One of the few non-Oxbridge graduates in the Cabinet, The Saj made his way via Chase Manhattan and a stint as an aide to Rudi Giuliani’s 1993 Mayoral campaign, before deciding all that was far too milquetoast and moving to Deutche Bank for some hardcore bastardy. Jumped ship from his incredibly profitable banking role in 2009 [Ed- I can’t imagine why] to become a Tory MP. Devoted Thatcherite, eager neo-con, early-adopter Randian, steadfast defender of Israel and all its deeds. The Saj really should have joined the Republican Party, but then there’s that pesky Section 1/Article 2/Clause 5 thing blocking his way to the Oval Office, and The Saj isn’t having that. When he’s not lambasting Rochdale’s Muslims as paedophiles and telling Muslims in general that they have a unique responsibility to speak up against terrorism, he’s to be found pushing Immigration policies that would have kept his parents from settling here. What a fucking peach.
On Brexit, despite being officially Remain during the Referendum to please his boss, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (conviction politician, boo-yah!) he was always a severe Eurosceptic and is now one of the fantasists insisting he can win concessions from the EU by ‘digitising’ the Irish Border (using technology that doesn’t exist) while preparing for a No-Deal (like the Government hasn’t spunked away tens of millions of pounds doing just that). Can he win? He’s Thatcherite enough, lies enough, and says all of the cruel and stupid things the Tory membership love to hear, but he’s…. you know…. not really quite…. a bit too… eeehhhhhhhh… “something something Darrrrk Sssside”.
Dominic Raab (21 official supporters)
It might seem odd that a former Brexit Secretary who expressed surprise that the Dover-Calais route was a major conduit for British trade and gave a heartfelt speech in favour of May’s withdrawal deal before resigning in opposition to it would think that he had the necessary mental engine to take on the role of PM, but it’s quite possible that Raab hasn’t thought that far ahead. Another Oxbridge graduate who went the lawyer route before finding his way into politics as Chief of Staff to fellow pudding brained delusionist David ‘Blank Slate’ Davis and eventually MP for Safe Tory Seat-in-the-Wold by 2010. If you ever need someone to argue the retrograde side about human rights, union rights, women’s rights, prisoner’s rights, parliament’s rights, any kind of rights at all, really, Raab is the guy for you. One of the authors of ‘Britannia Unchained’, a blueprint for turning Britain into a ‘Tiger Economy’ by slashing regulations, corporate taxes, wages, unions, etc, etc, blah blah, copied and pasted from American Enterprise Institute press releases and the annotated rantings of Ming the Merciless, he’s a fucking idiot with a head like an inflated peanut.
On Brexit, come on, he was Brexit Secretary, which means he’s someone the Brexiteers could feel confident in. He’s all about ‘forcing’ the EU to reopen the withdrawal agreement and if they won’t do that (which they won’t, duh) then being happy to crash Britain out into the waiting arms of the WTO, were we’ll be tearfully embraced and handed a glass of the finest champagne while the music swells and ticker-tape rains from the ceiling. In other words, fantasy bullshit, but the kind that Tory members gobble up, because they, like Raab, are dumb as a bag of horsecocks.
Michael Gove (30 official supporters)
The slimy little worm who, along with Boris Johnson, fronted the Leave Campaign back in 2016 and was Johnson’s campaign manager right up until the morning he was supposed to declare, at which point Gove stabbed the Great White Joke in his ample back by calling him unfit to lead and announced his own candidacy. Ah, those were the days. Yet another Oxford graduate, went into journalism after being told he wasn’t ‘political’ enough for the Tories and ended up at the Times, where he became and remains a devoted admirer of Rupert Murdoch. Served as Minister for Education under the Coalition and spent four years shitting that bed so completely that Cameron had to move him to Chief Whip in 2014. Sacked by May after coming a distant third in the 2016 leadership race, his return to Government in 2017 was seen as an attempt to shore up her pro-Brexit flank while also sticking it to Boris and sucking up to the Murdoch Machine. Outwardly a May loyalist, he is first and foremost the eyes, ears and voice of Murdoch within the Cabinet, and is about as trustworthy as an armed mole. Initially quite badly hurt after being prompted (probably by advance warnings from friends in the media of revelations to come) to admit to cocaine use while a journalist, he seems to be weathering it as the Press starts wondering aloud why poor ickle Govie is being hammered for something Boris admitted to ages ago. Heart. Bleeding.
On Brexit, he’s obviously a Brexiteer, and another one spinning fantasies about getting the EU to re-open the withdrawal agreement by threatening a No-Deal while also being careful to underline that he’s not opposed to a ‘short delay’ should negotiations call for it – i.e. another extension past October 31st. His problem is, what’s the point of Michael Gove? He’s not the anti-Boris, and he’s not the other-Boris, he’s just the guy who once shafted Boris but lies almost as much. Plus, he has the face and manner of an outraged Vicar in a Richard Curtis film.
Jeremy Hunt (31 official supporters)
Rhymes with c….orrupt incompetent arsehole. Born a Tory to an ancient Tory lineage, processed through Charterhouse and Oxford, destined for Offices of State regardless of any failing in ability because that’s just how those people roll. After being President of Oxford University’s Conservative Association he would have been expected to progress straight to Chief Politics Editor for the oh-so studiously neutral BBC, but instead made a nice pile selling off a company he founded selling guides to studying abroad through old-school tie connections with the British Council, a style of shady grifting he has yet to abandon even as a Government minister. Co-wrote a pamphlet (with Michael Gove) calling for the NHS to be sold off and replaced by a U.S. Insurance system, then denied holding those opinions (like Michael Gove). As Culture Secretary he cut funding for the Arts to the bone and acted as a point-man for Murdoch’s News International, and as Health Secretary was a complete disaster, constantly blown up for lying, in and out of court for exceeding his Ministerial powers and generally doing whatever he could to destabilise the NHS so he could push stealth privatisation. Rewarded for his long record of cock ups with Boris Johnson’s abandoned Foreign Secretary post he immediately inserted his tongue up the conjoined rectums of Saudi Arabia and Mike Pompeo, defending arms sales to the Saudis while comparing the EU to the Soviet Union, as you do.
On Brexit he’s taken the slow Damascene route from Remain voter pre-Referendum through advocate for staying in the Single Market to supporting May’s hard Brexit, with a more recent swing through opposing No-Deal to his current pose of being comfortable with threatening one, while insisting that various European leaders have told him on the QT that they’ll renegotiate May’s withdrawal agreement once he’s PM [Narrator – They haven’t, and won’t] All in all a dodgy ‘free-enterprise’ spiv who’ll say whatever you want him to if the money is right. Quite the complete modern Conservative.
Boris Johnson (69 official supporters)
What can be said about this splatter of half-boiled chicken fat in a swollen pig’s testicle that hasn’t been said before? Eton thug and Oxford vandal, fake journalist and television stereotype, a chillingly solipsistic gush of relentless, cynical, self-serving deceit obscured behind the carefully crafted personae of a bumbling, stumbling but ultimately well-meaning upper-class buffoon. His entire career has been littered with the same accusations and the same excuses. He lies, he cheats, he gets caught out, he shambles off denying any ill-intention and leaves the mess for the proles to clean up. Relationships, jobs, political appointments, it’s all the same to this slovenly fuck. Boris wants, Boris takes, Boris makes the Press laugh and gets away with it. It’s all an act, a big old joke that the Media thinks it’s in on, because more than anything they want the Boris Show dragging eyeballs and clicks to their product. The fact that the Tory Party membership seems to want this shallow creep in the top job is as clear a testament to their callous imbecility as you can imagine, and the fact that a majority of Tory MPs (supposedly) would rather see virtually anyone else (other than Esther McVey) get the job is possibly proof that the Parliamentary Party hasn’t entirely lost its senses. That’s why so many other candidates have jumped into a race that – if you listen to the Tory membership – is Johnson’s to lose, and why Johnson himself has been so loath to step outside the bubble of his well-paid column in the Telegraph; a lot of Tory MPs can see the disaster he represents galumphing towards them and will try to do whatever it takes to make sure doesn’t take them with him. OTOH, a lot of other Tory MPs just see how much the Media love him and hope his talent for dodging responsibility for multiple failures can be widened to include the Party as a whole.
On Brexit, he’ll promise everything to everyone, lie through his teeth and dissemble, deny and fudge as much as he can, but in the end it all comes down to the only question that matters in that weaselly little mind of his – what’s best for Boris? The EU have openly stated their disdain for him, so there’s no way in hell he’s going to get any concessions, and his threat to withhold the £39 billion in ‘divorce bill’ payments owed by the UK to the EU until a satisfactory withdrawal deal is reached is clearly smoke and mirrors designed to impress the gullible. That’s for payments up to 2020, so a large chunk of it has already been paid off. I can just foresee Johnson coming back to London after a humiliating failure to charm/threaten the EU and declaring he’d forced them to give us a rebate, so we had to pay less, so victory! The Media would lap that bullshit up like a dog with vomit.
So, that’s the candidates. A right old horror show, but hey, have you met the Tory Party? This is them on a good day. Who do I think will win? Johnson is the early favourite but it’s very much up in the air. Now that the contest has actually started the knives are going to come out and they will start hacking away at each other with every smear, secret and scurrilous rumour they can dredge up, starting with the front-runners. It already started with Gove’s cocaine revelations, though that quickly turned into a pretty cringeworthy competition between lower tier candidates to see who could confess to the least damaging incident of youthful drug-use (I smoked dope and didn’t like it! Well I may have inadvertently consumed a Mary Joanna cake! Look at me, I possibly had opium with my curry once! Get out of the way, I used to cut my heroin with dog biscuit and inject it during school trips to the farm!….. oh, wait, no, that was someone else, I meant I stood next to someone doing poppers once and felt sick) and Raab’s old issue with harassment allegations and a non-disclosure agreement he signed are bubbling back up. It’s going to be much more brutal than the race of 2016 because the radicalised state of the Conservative Party thanks to Brexit has left the gatekeepers of Party discipline much weaker. One thing’s for certain, none of them want to get into that final run-off with an undamaged Boris Johnson, so I expect the shit to start flying in his direction sooner than you’d expect.
And whatever happens, even though some of them (The Saj, Hancock) have come out of the gates trying very hard to position themselves as the “Who can win a post-Brexit General Election?” candidate, the eventual winner is going to have to offer the membership some kind of a route to a No-Deal crash-out, because unless they can offer a total EU capitulation instead (which just so isn’t ever going to happen like, ever) the Base has been steadily propagandised into wanting Victory over Europe more than they want the Tory Party itself to stay in power. Farage’s Brexit Party is out there (keeping very, very quiet) and would just love to have their votes instead or, even better, a bunch of extreme Tory MPs changing Party labels and forcing a General Election. The way they’re positioning themselves now only Stewart and Hancock are ruling out a No-Deal, while all of the others are slithering around between using the threat as a weapon to force concessions and preferring it to any other option. As the contest intensifies and chunks of reputational flesh start greasing the climbing surface all of the space for ambiguity will be blocked off and – IMHO – it will be a race to see who can slide into that sweet spot between going full-on Coalition with Nigel Farage PLC and convincing the Media that all the talk of having them hung on lampposts is just guff to keep the headbangers riled up and on their side.
Currently that’s Johnson’s territory, but there’s a way to go and nobody ever lost money assuming the worst of an ambitious Conservative politician, did they?
Edited to Add –
Last night the Labour Party put forward an Opposition Motion that would have set aside a day for Parliament to vote on officially ruling out the prospect of a No-Deal, but it was defeated on a more or less Party-line vote 309 to 298, with enough MPs abstaining on both sides to leave plenty of space for everyone to get blamed. This is being interpreted as a reason to be cheerful for the pro-No Deal candidates, even as it’s a kick in the head, guts and balls for the country (like the Media cares about that, brah). Now it’s the morning of the first round of votes and updated figures have come out for each candidates’ support since they all officially declared and made their pitches. They are –
Boris Johnson – 83 (+14)
Jeremy Hunt – 34 (+3)
Michael Gove – 32 (+1)
Dominic Raab – 21 (+0)
Sajid Javid – 18 (+0)
Matt Hancock – 17 (+2)
Rory Stewart – 8 (+3)
Mark Harper – 7 (+1)
Esther McVey – 5 (+0)
Andrea Leadsom – 4 (+0)
Make of that what you will. I guess not shitting his pants while resolutely refusing to answer any of the 6 questions he allowed at his campaign launch stood Johnson in good stead amongst the Contra-Intelligencia set. Or maybe it was the defence of racist and homophobic language that ticked their G-minors. Whatever, he’s definitely the front-runner.
Results are expected around 1pm GMT, by which time one or more of the also-rans will be out.
Edited again to add-
Right, the votes are in and they were as follows.
Boris Johnson -114 (+31)
Jeremy Hunt – 43 (+9)
Michael Gove – 37 (+7)
Dominic Raab – 27 (+6)
Sajid Javid – 23 (+5)
Matt Hancock – 20 (+3)
Rory Stewart – 19 (+11)
Mark Harper – 10 (+3)
Esther McVey – 9 (+4)
Andrea Leadsom – 11 (+7)
So Johnson has ended up with more or less the same number of supporters as voted AGAINST Theresa May back in the December 2018 leadership challenge. Interesting. Harper and Leadsom are out because they didn’t reach 5% support (16 supporters plus their own vote). McVey is out because she received fewest votes and is a toxic scumbag that only the world’s worst people could ever like, so chances are Johnson gets her voters in the next round.
The next round of voting is supposed to drop anyone with fewer than 33 supporters, which is bad news for Raab, Javid, Hancock and Stewart because, since all MPs voted, the only way they can increase their percentage and get through to the later rounds is by wooing supporters from other candidates, which will be very tough. You can probably put Leadsom’s 11 supporters in the No-Deal pile as well, which leaves only Harper’s 10 supporters for either Hancock or Stewart to cannibalise if they can, and even if one of them gets them all, that’s not enough to survive. It looks very much like Javid, Gove, Raab and Hunt would be well advised to start leaking the dirt they have on Johnson while kicking down against the anti-No Deal pair, trimming or constricting his lead while marking themselves out as the Answer to the problem of Boris. Like I said, none of them want to be up against him when it gets down to the postal votes because the Tory Base will be goo-goo for war on Europe by then with the Flaxen Fuckwit as their standard bearer.
There may be scandals, ahead.