A series in which we ask some key questions of the leading contenders – seven, in the case of the leading ones. They may not be the most convenient, but that’s why we’re asking them.
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1. You write that Britain should leave the EU without a deal “with great regret”, if one can’t be reached. But in the next paragraph, you add that it’s “not credible” to promise No Deal if Parliament is set against it. Which is it?
2. You add that No Deal would “risk driving us to a pre-Brexit general election this year” which you describe as a “disaster”. But haven’t you said in the same article that you are ultimately prepared to leave with No Deal?
3. If you believe that an election this year would be a “disaster” – and one sees the rationale – aren’t you in effect conceding that you can’t win it, if it happens?
4. Do you feel in retrospect that you tilted too far towards Leave in 2015, once saying that the costs of EU membership “currently outweigh the benefits”, before tilting towards Remain – and damaging your credibility?
5. Along with two of the other top five contenders, you clung to your place in Cabinet while Theresa May presided over a disastrous collapse of public trust in the Party. Haven’t you thus forefeited the right to lead?
6. You want 20,000 more police on the streets at a cost of about £1 billion over three years. Where will the money come from to pay for the pledge?
7. Polls tell us many things – but many give your better ratings than all your competitors. How come that your colleagues don’t seem to see that: on their public endorsements, you are fifth?