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Johnson’s campaign will probably succeed – but he’ll alienate people he needs

3 19 0
21.06.2019

When the names of the final two Tory leadership candidates were announced, there were celebrations among Boris Johnson’s backers. Joining the Tory leadership frontrunner in the final was not his old foe Michael Gove but Jeremy Hunt. The foreign secretary beat Gove to second place by a mere two votes. Hunt was the candidate the Johnson campaign wanted to join him in the final. The view is that he poses the least threat as he voted remain and isn’t as skilled a debater as Gove.

However, not everyone was so impressed with the result. Tory MPs quickly began to cry foul play and suggest dirty tricks. The reason? The numbers don’t add up. After Sajid Javid was knocked out in the first secret ballot of the day, at least four of his backers said they would now vote for Boris Johnson. Yet despite this, Johnson only managed to muster three more votes in total in the final ballot that afternoon. The suggestion is that Johnson supporters “lent” their votes to Hunt in order to secure a weaker opponent.

Suspicions hang in the air, too, over previous rounds. Ahead of the BBC debates, the only fellow hard Brexiteer in the competition, Dominic Raab, was eliminated. This meant that in the debate that night Johnson couldn’t be out-Brexited or pushed into boxing himself in with further Brexit promises. The next day Rory Stewart was kicked out of the competition – mysteriously losing 10........

© The Guardian