Another day another headline

Problems ahead for the choice of “His Master’s Voice” Simon Jupp, as Simon returns to his constituency to prepare for….defeat? – Owl

Tories brace for ‘nastiest’ leadership campaign in party’s history

The identity of Britain’s next prime minister remains in the balance but, with the contenders whittled down to the final two, one thing seems certain: the Tories are entering the “nastiest” leadership campaign in their history.

By Gordon Rayner, Associate Editor (Extracts)

…It will be a battle of ideology, policy and personality, with Mr Sunak, the prudent, centrist, polished public schoolboy against Ms Truss, the tax-cutting, Right-wing, robotic Yorkshire lass.

The two have already committed enough blue-on-blue attacks to last Labour through to the next election. 

Mr Sunak has dismissed his opponent’s “something for nothing” tax-cutting pledges as “fairytale” economics and attacked her past as a Remainer and a former Liberal Democrat. Ms Truss, who went to a comprehensive school, has attacked the former chancellor’s privileged education at Winchester College and accused him of leading the country into a recession….

One person who is already helping him from the sidelines is Dominic Cummings, the former Number 10 adviser who helped unseat Boris Johnson with “Dom bombs” about partygate. He now has Ms Truss in his sights, and has dubbed her “the human hand grenade” because “she blows up all she touches”. 

Mr Cummings has suggested that Boris Johnson wants her to win the contest because: “He knows Truss is mad as a box of snakes and is thinking ‘there’s a chance she blows, there’s another contest and I can return’.”

In his blog, he said she had been guilty of “compulsive pathological leaking” which “caused chaos and damaged the UK”. Previous experience suggests that Mr Cummings will make sure that plenty of other damaging stories about Ms Truss make it into the public domain.

Ms Truss, aware of her own shortcomings, has already felt the need to say she is not the slickest performer. Without the charisma of a Boris Johnson or even a Rory Stewart, she has no choice but to attack her opponent’s record and compare his policies to socialism.

One source in the Truss camp said: “Both of them have quite a few problems when it comes to winning over the membership.

“An awful lot of members are very cross that Boris is gone, so there isn’t a huge amount of affection for either candidate. It means they have got to work harder than normal to win over the membership.

“Rishi isn’t liked because he is regarded by the members as a high-tax chancellor, so he is retaliating with personal attacks on Liz, such as asking whether she had greater regrets about voting Remain or being a former Lib Dem, which was astonishingly pointed….

Mr Sunak also has another formidable opponent – Boris Johnson. In a proxy war with Mr Cummings, Number 10 will be doing everything it can behind the scenes to steer members towards loyalist “continuity Boris” candidate Ms Truss, rather than the man who triggered the Prime Minister’s downfall by resigning….