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Johnson supporters ‘plot to knock Gove out’ as front-runner heads to the membership vote…

Supporters of Boris Johnson will on Thursday mount an operation to derail Michael Gove’s leadership hopes as Conservative MPs decide the final two candidates to be prime minister. Mr Gove has never been forgiven for stabbing Mr Johnson in the back during the 2016 leadership contest and revenge was in the air on Wednesday night as MPs began plotting against him. One supporter of Mr Johnson said they did not want Mr Gove just to be beaten, but to be “humiliated”. Mr Johnson, who celebrated his 55th birthday on Wednesday, won the backing of 143 Tory MPs in the third party ballot – as many as the remaining three candidates combined.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Knives out as candidates attach each other over tactical voting – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Dark arts’ branded ‘unacceptable’ – Daily Express
  • Suggestion Javid was offered the chancellorship to drop out – The Times

More:

  • Farage warns that only clean Brexit could win a pact with his party – The Sun
  • Is Johnson softening his stance on ‘no deal’? – FT
  • Davidson says she would campaign for him in an election – Daily Telegraph

>Today:

>Yesterday:

…as Stewart claims to have been a ‘winner with the public’

“Rory Stewart signalled his intention to capitalise on his showing in the leadership contest despite crashing out last night. The MP for Penrith & the Border announced plans for an event in London tonight as a thank-you to supporters after declaring he had won the backing of the public if not his Conservative colleagues. A source close to Mr Stewart said: “It has been really exciting to see the positive response to his desire to do things differently in politics and try to broaden the Conservative base. That [desire] is not going to suddenly stop.” Mr Stewart lost the votes of ten MPs overnight to fall behind his nearest rival Sajid Javid and be eliminated.” – The Times

  • Campaign ends with collapse in support – FT
  • Hunt and Gove scramble to pick up his backers – Daily Mail

Analysis:

  • Was it tactical voting or an ‘awful’ debate which did for him? – Camilla Tominey, Daily Telegraph
  • He gets the brush-off from bristling colleagues – Quentin Letts’ sketch, The Times
  • Why MPs just sighed ‘good riddance’ to Stewart – Hugh Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Only he will admit that May’s deal yet lives – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Gove’s breakthrough moment?

>Yesterday:

David Davis: Johnson would relish winning back voters from Corbyn

“Boris recognises that delivery is all important. Voters have deserted our Party because we have not kept our promise to deliver Brexit. The morale of our members is low. The sheer size of his support in the Parliamentary Party shows that Boris is the right man at the right time to transform the situation. The Conservative Party is at its best when it has a clear vision and leadership. It is at its weakest when it resorts to managed defeatism. Our greatest Prime Ministers like Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher have been insightful and brave. And they led formidable teams. When you think of Thatcher you also think of names like Carrington, Whitelaw, Lawson. Frankly this is our last chance to put things right and to renew our Party.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He must be tested by Hunt or Gove – Jenni Russell, The Times
  • The Tories should crown Johnson now – Lance Foreman, Daily Telegraph
  • A Tory folly 40 years in the making – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

Candidates scramble to ‘woo women’…

“Tory leadership rivals are scrambling to woo women back to the party with bold promises of more paternity leave, the end of the tampon tax and vows to make the Commons half female. All the candidates have revealed their ambitious plans to support girls and women in letters to Helen Whately MP, the Tory Vice Chair for women. There are five men left in the running as the two women – Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey – failed to make it past the first round of voting. Several of the candidates promised to look at parental leave and childcare issues which prevent women from advancing further in the workplace.” – The Sun

  • Senior Tories rally in support of pregnant Labour MP – The Guardian

Comment:

  • We MPs who are mothers are well looked-after – Kemi Badenoch, The Times

>Today: MPs Etc.: Which MP is backing which candidate. Our named estimates. Johnson 131, Hunt 48, Gove 36, Javid 22

…and threaten to boycott remaining BBC hustings

“Tory leadership candidates are threatening to boycott further BBC TV debates over the corporation’s “biased” handling of Tuesday night’s hustings. A BBC plan for a Question Time programme with the final two candidates, and for one-to-one interviews with Andrew Neil, is in serious doubt as a row about vetting rages on. It emerged that one of the viewers who was chosen in advance to ask a question during the Our Next Prime Minister programme had a history of making anti-Semitic remarks and of attacking Boris Johnson, while another was a former Labour Party worker with extremist views. Three of the four remaining candidates’ camps expressed clear reservations about the BBC’s handling of the hustings event, and suggested they would be more likely to agree to a debate on ITV, Sky or Channel 4.” – Daily Telegraph

  • ‘Shambolic’ event becomes talking point for the wrong reasons – The Times
  • Javid lashes out at imam over antisemitic tweets – Daily Mail

Editorial:

  • Bias let anti-Semitic Corbyn stooges through vetting – The Sun

>Yesterday:

Hammond urges next leader to ‘explore’ another referendum…

“The next prime minister should “explore” holding a second Brexit referendum if he fails to break the deadlock in parliament, Philip Hammond will say tonight. The chancellor will also warn that leaving the European Union without a deal would quickly burn through the £27 billion set aside for that outcome and end up costing more. In his most outspoken attack on a no-deal Brexit so far Mr Hammond says he would “fight and fight again” for an “outcome that protects the Union and the prosperity of the UK”. Mr Hammond has previously described a second referendum as a “credible option” but stopped short of recommending it.” – The Times

  • He warns that a no-deal exit will drain £26 billion from the economy… – Daily Telegraph
  • …and urges Johnson to ‘get real’ – The Sun
  • Chancellor will ‘fight and fight again’ to save Tories from ‘Brexit extremism’ – Daily Express

…as Labour considers split stance

“Labour would back staying in the EU while allowing its Brexiteer MPs to campaign against the policy in a second referendum, under plans being considered by Jeremy Corbyn. Yesterday the shadow cabinet backed a proposal to change the party’s Brexit policy and support a second referendum in all circumstances, but there were clashes between shadow ministers who wanted the party to back Remain and those who said that it could be electoral suicide in a Leave voting seat… But he is understood to have raised the same compromise struck by Harold Wilson, as Labour prime minister, in the 1975 referendum that kept the UK in the European Community. Facing greater splits in the party Wilson allowed ministers and MPs to campaign on either side of the debate.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Corbyn rebuffs calls to shift position, for now – The Guardian
  • MPs in Leave seats urge him to strike a deal to deliver Brexit – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Corbyn must wait for the Tories to decide his fate – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

Brexit overshadows Stormont talks

“Six weeks have passed since public anger at McKee’s shooting impelled the main parties in the region to begin talks with the UK and Irish governments to revive the power-sharing government in Belfast that collapsed at the start of 2017. But there is still no sign of agreement and, while London and Dublin are still pressing for a deal within “weeks not months”, some participants believe the talks could drag into the autumn after a summer pause. One official close to the talks said “fragile potential” for a deal had opened up, but cautioned it was “far from certain” the deadlock could be broken. “There is definitely a genuine effort from all parties but there are still definitely issues to be bridged,” this person said. The issue that makes agreement particularly important to deliver – but all the harder to achieve – is Brexit.” – FT

  • Also gives fresh energy to Scottish independence debate – FT

Recall petition against Welsh Tory MP closes today

“Far from the sound and fury of Westminster, amid the hills and valleys of mid-Wales, a quieter but potentially significant political process is nearing an end as voters decide whether the Tory MP Chris Davies should lose his seat. Residents of the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency have until 5pm on Thursday to sign a recall petition if they want their MP removed after his conviction for submitting fake expenses documents. If 5,303 people sign (10% of the electorate) the petition, which opened in May, a by-election will be triggered that will prove a tricky and unwanted early test for the new Conservative leader and prime minister.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Enter Boris: what his premiership will look like – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Stewart is an icon of the infantilisation of politics – Gerald Warner, Reaction
  • Remember how British soft power projects influence – Tom Tugendhat MP, Brexit Central
  • Is the Conservative Party brain dead? – Peter Franklin, UnHerd
  • Stonehenge’s tunnel and a battle for the soul of conservatism – Alex Massie, CapX

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