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Friday 14 June 2019

Tory leadership contenders not called Boris Johnson are scrambling for support following yesterday’s opening ballot which put the blond Brexiteer miles ahead of the chasing pack.

There are only 30 votes to redistribute after Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom and Mark Harper all failed to pass the 16 vote threshold. The real story is that supposed frontline contenders like Sajid Javid and Dominic Raab didn’t do much better and even Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove were utterly destroyed by Johnson. His tally of 114 was larger than the next three leadership hopefuls combined: Hunt (43), Gove (37) and Raab (27).

Only 105 votes, representing a third of Tory MPs are needed to get onto the final ballot to go out to the membership. Boris is basically our pre-ordained prime minister.

The next round is likely to free up a lot more votes and accelerate this pointless process that isn’t set to end until 22 July. Boring Matt Hancock (20) is poised to throw in the towel. There’s a strong possibility Sajid Javid (23) will join him. We hope Rory Stewart (19) does too.

The Remain fanatic has threatened to “bring [Boris] down” if the likely next prime minister prorogues parliament, which will head off any prospect of stopping No Deal. Stewart himself is campaigning on a No-to-no-deal platform.

“That is an unconstitutional, improper, really disturbing suggestion that you try and get something through by locking the doors of Parliament,” Stewart told Sky News.

“I guarantee you if he were to try, I and every other Member of Parliament will sit across the road…and we will bring him down.”

All well and good trying to put a block on proroguing Parliament – Labour made an attempt earlier this week with a business motion and lost – but even if Remain MPs like Stewart somehow succeeded and this session carried on all the way to the current Brexit date at the end of October, they would still fail in their main objective. Lacking any executive authority, Rory and co. would not be able to avoid a WTO exit from the European Union.

Don’t believe us? Ask Oliver Letwin, who has worked harder than any MP to render No Deal impossible – see below.

And on the subject of No Deal, the EU is panicking it won’t get “its” £39bn. Yesterday, the budget Commissioner admitted there is no legal mechanism to force delivery of the outrageous sum on the British government. Gunther Oettinger did warn however that Britain would be barred from future science and innovation projects tendered out by the EU. Oh dear, we can’t afford to miss out on those.

Quote of the day: “Britain is, and will remain, a European power. Our geopolitical interests haven’t shifted with our decision to leave the EU, and we must urgently turn our attention to how we continue to do diplomacy with our European neighbours after Brexit.”

Malcolm Rifkind. Finally, a Remainer admits we’re not so feeble after all. About time.