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Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

The last few days have been remarkable, both for Kim Darroch and Boris Johnson, but in very different ways. Johnson has been blamed for causing Sir Kim to resign over the leaked memos. His lack of endorsement of Sir Kim in the ITV debate is claimed in some quarters to have tipped Sir Kim over the edge.

We now know that Sir Kim didn’t even watch the debate, and surely the tipping point was reached when Donald Trump issued his second batch of critical tweets. When you’re an Ambassador, and the President of the host country says he won’t deal with you, what alterative do you have but to fall on your sword?

Let me make it clear, I don’t believe that Sir Kim did anything wrong, and I don’t believe foreign heads of state should be able to dictate to this country who represents us. But we live in the real world, not the one we might like it to be.

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Yesterday morning I went on Euronews to talk about this affair. “This has been a dreadful week for Boris Johnson, hasn’t it?” I was asked. This question reflects the mood in much of the broadcast and print media. Right from the get-go, they want to bring down Johnson and will go to any means to do so.

It is true that he gave a bit of a weak answer on the Darroch affair in the ITV debate and, judging by his more recent comments, he realises that he could and should have been rather more supportive at the time. But in the first half of that debate he outwitted Jeremy Hunt and performed better than him. In the second half, Hunt edged it, partly because Johnson seemed unable to answer a direct question and fell back into trying to be too funny. It didn’t work.

So, overall, I felt it was a bit of a score draw, and confirmed the logic of the Johnson campaign not to do many head to heads. From a wider Conservative Party perspective, it could be seen as a bit of a disaster, given the amount of blue on blue action there was.

Indeed, many people feel that by the end of the debate Jeremy Hunt had talked him out of his current job as Foreign Secretary and into the job of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Pensions. I imagine the Labour Party, and indeed the Brexit Party, have already spliced up Hunt’s choicest of criticisms of Johnson, and that they will be replayed endlessly in a general election campaign if it comes soon.

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The vitriol poured over Johnson this week is a sign of things to come. It has been quite shocking to see the number of senior Conservative MPs willing to do the Left’s work for it by appearing on the media slagging him off in gratuitous terms.

Readers of this column may remember that I have not always written things in praise of him, but if he is indeed elected leader of the Party in two weeks’ time, the Conservative Party will have to unite behind him, whether it wants to or not. What’s the alternative?

Any new Prime Minister deserves a fair wind, and Johnson should be no different. The EU will be looking for chinks in his armour and party disunity could be the most obvious one. The Left will come for Boris in no uncertain terms. And the Right needs to be ready for that. The tribe will need to unite and wagons will need to be circled.

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Amber Rudd is already signalling that she is ready to put the past behind her. In an interview yesterday she made clear she now accepts that ‘no deal is part of the armoury and I have accepted that… the situation is we are leaving by the end of October, but it would be so much better to get a deal.”

This is quite a turn of events and is a signal that she will be willing to serve in a Johnson-led cabinet. For the last twelve years, there has always been a woman holding one of the four great offices of state – Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Chancellor or Home Secretary. The new Prime Minister would do well to continue with this trend.

Could it be that Amber Rudd might return to her previous job in the Home Office? She’d like to be Chancellor, but if reports are to be believed, Sajid Javid is in line for that job. Many column inches will be expended over the next fortnight speculating who will or won’t be in a Johnson cabinet. I’ll leave that to others for now, but it’s already very difficult to see how he will be able to keep everyone happy.

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There are four hustings to go – Andrew Gimson reports yesterday eveing’s in Maidstone on this site today – and I’m chairing all of them. It’s so far been a wholly positive experience, and I think that the party members who have attended have really felt they have got something out of them.

The challenge for me and the two candidates is to keep things fresh and ensure that the audiences are both informed and entertained. One of the great things so far has been the diversity of the audiences – lots of young people, especially, and they have asked some brilliant and, at times, very challenging questions of both candidates.

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I wouldn’t blame Hunt if he feels that at every point in this contest events have conspired against him. When you’re down to the final two and you’re lagging behind, you just hope that something will turn up. I remember in 2005 how dispiriting it was spending two months feeling that everything was outside the Davis Campaign’s control and that a Cameron victory was inevitable.

Given that some ballot papers were sent out by Electoral Reform Services on July 4th, two days before we were told they were supposed to, and we’re now a week on from that, I suspect that, despite claims to the contrary, more than half of the electorate have already voted. That’s certainly what yesterday’s survey on this site suggested.

No one knows if that’s true, or how they’ve voted, but all the polls and surveys of party members show similar results. Someone said to me the other day that if Boris Johnson was found in bed with a dead goat – or even a live one – he’d still win.

233 comments for: Iain Dale: It’s shocking to see some Conservative MPs doing the Left’s work by slagging off the front-runner.

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