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Tory leadership: How the ten candidates launched their campaigns

Tory leadership: How the ten candidates launched their campaigns

Boris Johnson's brother and father at his campaign launchImage copyright
Getty Images

The ten contenders to succeed Theresa May as Conservative leader have all now launched their leadership campaigns.

The fight for votes will shortly begin in earnest with the first ballot of MPs.

But, lets for a moment, dwell on how the candidates have done so far.

Over the past few frenetic days, we’ve seen slick personal videos, heavyweight endorsements, personal barbs and a mixture of flattering and unfavourable headlines.

In alphabetical order, here’s a reminder of the highlights of their launches.


Michael Gove

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Media captionMichael Gove: I’m in it to win it

Venue: Millbank Tower

Slogan: Ready to Lead

Pitch to MPs: I’m the serial reformer in the race who’s moved mountains at education, justice and the environment. I can do the same with Brexit.

Memorable moment: After days of negative headlines following his admission he took cocaine 20 years ago, he came out fighting. Rejecting calls to withdraw from the race, he challenged “Mr Johnson” not to “pull out” if it looked like he might come off second best.


Matt Hancock

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Media captionMatt Hancock rejects the idea that Brexit must be delivered by a “Brexiteer”.

Venue: Southbank Centre

Slogan: Let’s Move Forward

Pitch to MPs: I’m a fresh, youthful face who understands how technology will reshape the country in the years to come. I can appeal to younger voters on both the left and right.

Memorable moment: With his friend and Strictly star Judge Rinder in the audience, Matt Hancock’s claim that he would “move fast and make things happen” as PM seemed apposite.


Mark Harper

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Media captionMark Harper says the UK needs more time to sort a Brexit deal

Venue: Royal Festival Hall

Slogan: Delivering Brexit

Pitch to MPs: I’m a clean skin, not associated with any of the Brexit trauma of the past three years. I can get this done but not by 31 October as that’s just not realistic.

Memorable moment: Mark Harper fulfilled his promise to answer every question journalists threw at him. Asked who would win a fight between a lion and a bear, he opted for the lion – which he suggested was the patriotic choice.


Jeremy Hunt

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Media captionJeremy Hunt: “We need tough negotiation, not empty rhetoric.”

Venue: Carlton House Terrace

Slogan: Unite to Win

Pitch to MPs: I’m serious and statesmanlike. I’ve been in the room with European leaders and, with my business background, I know what it takes to negotiate and close a deal.

Memorable moment: After “wracking his brains” for a second, the foreign secretary told a journalist he did not think he had ever broken the law. Hours later, his team issued a clarification that he had once infringed anti-money laundering rules.


Sajid Javid

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Media captionSajid Javid vows to heal divisions and bring the country back together

Venue: Millbank Tower

Slogan: Brexit and beyond

Pitch to MPs: I look different and have a different life experience to any other candidate and the party needs a new kind of leader if it is to prosper in the future.

Memorable moment: His put-down of Boris Johnson as “yesterday’s news” took everyone by surprise and showed a pugilistic side to Mr Javid not perhaps seen before.


Boris Johnson

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Media captionJohnson: Brexit delay means defeat

Venue: Royal Academy of Engineering

Slogan: Back Boris

Pitch to MPs: I’m still the Heineken politician who knows how to beat Labour, even on their home turf. I’ll carry on speaking my mind but you can trust me to get the big decisions right.

Memorable moment: His argument he wasn’t aiming for a no-deal Brexit made headlines but it was the room’s interaction with journalists – after his team restricted the Q&A to six questions and a reporter was booed for asking a critical question – that really caused a stir.


Andrea Leadsom

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Media captionLeadsom: Labour governments always destroy incentives to work hard

Venue: Institute for Mechanical Engineers

Slogan: Decisive and compassionate leadership

Pitch to MPs: I’ve learnt from my mistakes in 2016 and know how to work the ropes in Parliament. I won’t let Brexit detract from other big challenges, like climate and childcare.

Memorable moment: Among all the claims and counter-claims over Brexit. Andrea Leadsom could not have put it any clearer – leaving the EU on 31 October for her was a “hard red line”.


Esther McVey

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Media captionEsther McVey says “non-engagement” with the cabinet made Theresa May’s deal worse

Venue: The Bruges Group

Slogan: None. But she made a statement by placing a framed photograph of Margaret Thatcher, honorary president of the Bruges Group, on the table beside her.

Pitch to MPs: I won’t back down in the face of pressure from the EU.

Memorable moment: This was the only one of the 10 launches to be interrupted by a heckler – who accused the even staunch Brexiteers in the room of peddling “fake news”.


Dominic Raab

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Media captionDominic Raab: “I am the candidate who can be trusted to deliver on Brexit.”

Venue: Royal Festival Hall

Slogan: For a Fairer Britain

Pitch to MPs: The bureaucrats in Brussels don’t particularly like me and that shows I’m the man who can be trusted to deliver on Brexit.

Memorable moment: His promise to restore collective responsibility in government over Brexit which he said had been “missing for far too long”.


Rory Stewart

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Media captionRory Stewart: We have a choice between fairy stories and realism

Venue: Underbelly Spiegeltent

Slogan: Rory For Leader

Pitch to MPs: The other candidates are either spinning fairy tales or spreading negativism about Brexit. I, on the other hand, offer realism, prudence and love for people.

Memorable moment: Taking a question from the arch anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray was just one of a number of striking departures from the normal rules of the political game in this circus tent event.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48617294

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