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It’s hard to imagine. But could this really be the end for the Tories?

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23.05.2019

Welcome to an extraordinarily bizarre election day. Pause on the way to the polling station to wonder at the astounding mayhem within our “ruling” party, soliciting votes even while wrenching its leader from Downing Street. We may be so used to the Tory party in meltdown that we forget to be amazed at what is unfolding before our eyes – on election day.

Even allowing for all Andrea Leadsom’s fantastical ambitious absurdities, ponder how astonishing it is to see the leader of the house, no less, resigning on election eve just to steal a march on all her improbable leadership competitors. Jeremy Hunt is marching in to see the prime minister in publicly threatening mode – on election day. Forget any sense of decorum towards their party or their country, or the electoral process.

To be sure, the Tory party has a long history of leadership defenestrations, none more humiliating than Margaret Thatcher’s brutal removal. Ted Heath never recovered from his ruthless rejection by his colleagues. Nights of the long knives and ejections are what Conservatives do in order to renew and survive, the famous men in grey suits ready to step in whenever the good of the party requires it. The party had an entitled right-to-rule discipline that reasserted itself after temporary ructions. The party knew........

© The Guardian