Johnson accused of ‘hiding’ from TV debates…

“Boris Johnson is under intense pressure to debate with his rivals for the Tory leadership on television after all the other candidates agreed to take part. Mr Johnson, the frontrunner, secured an emphatic win in the first round of voting yesterday that put him firmly on course for No 10. He was backed by well over the number of MPs needed to guarantee a place in the final two, with 114 of 313 votes. Jeremy Hunt, in second, had 43. Last night Mr Hunt and the five other candidates still in the race against Mr Johnson committed themselves to joining in debates due to take place on Sunday and Tuesday.” – The Times

  • Rivals ‘gang up’ to force him to participate… – The Sun
  • …in ‘scramble’ to sabotage coronation – Daily Mail
  • Mundell says he won’t back him in any round of the contest – Daily Telegraph
  • Ex-Mayor drops opposition to third runway – The Times
  • French paper brands him a ‘tinpot Trump’ – The Sun


  • He may delay Brexit by ‘a few weeks’, supporters claim – The Sun
  • Stewart threatens ‘alternative parliament’ – The Guardian
  • Top donor shuns Johnson over no-deal threat and backs Hunt – Daily Telegraph
  • UK state in ‘pretty good shape’ for hard Brexit, claims top civil servant – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: The TV Tory leadership debates are an opportunity for candidates and the Party – not simply a risk

…amidst rumours that other candidates might drop out…

“Seven of the ten candidates went through to the next round of voting, but with the four least popular of the remaining candidates only managing 89 votes between them, they were under pressure to pull out so that the field can be whittled down to the final two during the second vote on Tuesday. The Daily Telegraph understands that Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, is discussing with his backers whether to pull out of the race and throw his weight behind his long-term friend Sajid Javid.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson supporters demand ‘vanity candidates’ step back – Daily Express
  • Sources claim May backed Hunt – The Sun
  • Gove supporters say he’s ‘stuffed’ after cocaine admission – Daily Telegraph

>Today: MPs Etc.: Which MP is backing which candidate. Our named estimates. Johnson 90, Hunt 43, Gove 34, Raab 24, Javid 19, Hancock 17, Stewart 8


…including Raab and Javid

“Raab struggled with his past, defending previous disparaging remarks about feminists and declining to reveal the details of a non-disclosure agreement. On Thursday, he won 27 votes. Several backers have urged him to pull out, freeing them to support Mr Johnson, but so far he is sticking to the course. “This campaign is just getting started, and we’ve got a good base to build on,” Mr Raab said.Sajid Javid, the home secretary, also had a day that was below expectations, winning the backing of just 23 MPs and falling short of his campaign’s modest informal target of fourth place. Some of his supporters are now also calling for him to bow out of the contest. Were he to do so, it is thought he might ultimately endorse Mr Johnson and potentially serve as his chancellor of the exchequer. Pressure is similarly mounting on health secretary Matt Hancock, who came sixth with 20 votes.” – FT

  • Defeated Leadsom could back Home Secretary’s leadership bid… – The Times
  • …after she reportedly appealed to MPs to put a woman through – The Sun


  • How Johnson’s rivals could conspire to keep him from Downing Street – Camilla Tominey, Daily Telegraph


  • Johnson must be rigorously tested by the process – The Sun

>Today: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: What my focus groups of wavering Conservative voters told me about the Tory leadership contest


Fraser Nelson: Johnson and Gove could be an unstoppable team

“The leadership speeches they made this week are, for the most part, interchangeable. When they teamed up three years ago, it made perfect sense: Boris the election-winner and campaigner, Gove the battle-hardened reformer whose team had pretty much run the Vote Leave campaign. This leadership race has shown just how much energy there still is in the Conservative Party: we’ve seen qualities not noticed before in Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab and – perhaps the biggest surprise – Rory Stewart. If these talents could be harnessed in a Cabinet, along with Michael Gove’s radicalism and effectiveness, the Tories would not just be saved but could be almost unbeatable. Quite a prize, if Johnson could bring himself to claim it.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson will need a team of minders in Number Ten – Iain Martin, The Times
  • He must prove to sceptical Scots he’s ‘Boris the Brit’ – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph
  • A step towards Downing Street – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • Johnson gives Tories hope of a free-market revolution – Matt Kilcoyne, Daily Telegraph
  • Charm is his secret weapon – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • A house-trained Farage – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail


  • I’m not pulling out, I’m in to win – Rory Stewart MP, Daily Telegraph
  • Hunt has what it takes to lead – Royston Smith MP, Times Red Box
  • No women left because none were good enough – Angela Epstein, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: Johnson – unstoppable now, unless he unstops himself

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Johnson as Ulysses. After his many shipwrecks, bloopers and scrapes, Ithaca finally looms into view.

Hammond seeks fiscal responsibility pledge

“Chancellor Philip Hammond on Thursday challenged the seven remaining contenders for the Conservative leadership to commit to keeping Britain’s national debt falling, as he tries to prevent an “arms race” of tax and spending promises by the candidates. Mr Hammond has been alarmed by a plethora of campaign pledges, including frontrunner Boris Johnson’s plan to cut high-earners’ taxes at an annual cost of £10bn. On Thursday the chancellor wrote to the seven candidates asking them to commit to keeping Britain’s debt falling as a share of national income every year. Mr Hammond, who has not declared who he is supporting in the leadership contest, intends to publish the contenders’ replies.” – FT

May pressed on why Javid wasn’t invited to Trump banquet

“Theresa May faced calls yesterday to explain why Sajid Javid had been excluded from the state banquet for President Trump last week after the home secretary described the decision as odd. Mr Javid, a contender to lead the Conservative Party, made clear his disquiet that he had not been invited to the event, which was attended by cabinet colleagues junior to him. Lord Blunkett, the former home secretary, said he was astonished that Downing Street had allowed this turn of events. He confirmed that he had been invited to the state banquet when President Bush visited in 2003 and said he would have expected Mr Javid to have received the same treatment. The home secretary, who launched his campaign to replace Mrs May on Wednesday, was asked by the Today programme on Radio 4 why he was the only senior cabinet minister not to have been invited to the banquet at Buckingham Palace.” – The Times

  • Downing Street denies snub – FT

Fox warns that WTO is ‘in crisis’

“The US-China trade war, industrial strife and political deadlock all threaten to overwhelm the World Trade Organization, putting the future of the institution and the system of free trade in mortal danger, Liam Fox has warned. World leaders need to “seize the opportunity” to resolve the crisis, opening up trade rapidly to boost economic growth and spread prosperity, the International Trade Secretary said. He criticised the G20 for failing to address the “scale [and] urgency of the challenges facing the global trading system” and warned “the WTO could be facing an existential crisis”. “The WTO now faces one of the biggest tests since its establishment and, with all its functions under strain, it could become an existential crisis. So, the message from the UK is clear: urgent and drastic action must be taken to protect the global trading system as we know it,” he wrote in a blog post.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tugendhat warns of Brexit’s impact on Northern Ireland – The Guardian
  • Business must speed up no-deal planning, says IoD – FT
  • Macron urges EU leaders to give UK ultimatum on May’s deal – The Sun
  • Brussels says reneging on exit payment would damage UK economy – The Guardian

Gove u-turns on bird shooting

“A hated scheme which stops farmers shooting pest birds was reversed last night. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said he took the action ‘to minimise some of the negative impacts’ caused by the scrapping of the decades-old ‘general licence’. There was outrage across the countryside in April when rules allowing the shooting of 16 bird species to protect crops and livestock were torn up with 36 hours’ notice by Natural England. The surprise move by the conservation quango to revoke general licences while having no proper alternative to take their place was branded ‘bird-brained’ by critics. It came after a legal challenge from Wild Justice, a pressure group fronted by BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham. Farmers said they could no longer cull crows attacking newborn lambs or stop pigeons stripping bare their crops without applying for individual licences, leaving them fearful of prosecution.” – Daily Mail

Umunna joins the Liberal Democrats…

“Chuka Umunna has joined the Liberal Democrats days after quitting the party he founded. The MP for Streatham who quit the Labour party to form the Independent Group, which later became Change UK,  in February, will become the Lib Dems’ twelfth MP. On Thursday Layla Moran tweeted: “So thrilled to welcome Chuka Umunna to team Lib Dems!” The move is another win for the Lib Dems, building on its successes in the European election. It came as Sir Vince Cable, the party’s outgoing leader, told the Times Mr Umunna was a “formidable, serious political figure”. Mr Umunna, who briefly stood for the Labour leadership in 2015, has been a vocal supporter of a second referendum.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He won’t be the last, says Cable – The Times


  • The Party struggle to embody the realignment – The Times

…as Change UK rump forced to rename themselves again

“Change UK was forced to alter its name again yesterday, adopting its third identity in four months of existence. The flailing new party, which was formed by seven MPs who quit Labour in February, will now be called the Independent Group for Change. In a statement, it said it had agreed to change its name after being confronted with a legal challenge from the petition website Before it registered as a party, the breakaway group, which consisted of 11 MPs at its peak, was known as the Independent Group. However, it was told by the Electoral Commission that this name was not permissible… The MPs settled on the name Change UK and submitted registration papers ahead of the European elections in May. But lawyers from confronted the party with a legal challenge that disputed its right to use that name.” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Why Boris is the right person to deliver Brexit and beat Corbyn – Priti Patel MP, 1828
  • To build a cohesive society, we must speak the same language – Neil O’Brien MP, CapX
  • Please can we stop calling Boris ‘Mr Johnson’? – Tom Goodenough, The Spectator
  • Tory MPs don’t care they’re electing a charlatan – Alastair Benn, Reaction
  • Why I like my politicians to be hypocrites – Giles Fraser, UnHerd