QUIZ: Which candidate should you support?
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The Times and Sunday Times
Tuesday June 18 2019
Red Box
Matt Chorley
By Matt Chorley
Good morning,
Don’t worry if you didn’t do very well with our Commons Speaker game: just 3 per cent got 10/10.

Top of the class includes the Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, who boasts: “I am ashamed to say I got them all!”

Among those struggling were Jacob Rees-Mogg, who described it as “a fun distraction”, adding: “I was wrong on hats and quibble over the interpretation of the mobile rule.”

Labour’s Stella Creasy said: “I got most of them right except the medals and slagging off Ed Balls cos I swear I have seen someone wearing shiny suits, and definitely an angry Yvette.”

The SNP’s Stewart MacDonald got 5/10, adding: “Boooo.”

Can you do better? Play the game now
Matt Chorley
Red Box Editor
Twitter icon @MattChorley
Could you be Speaker?
The briefing
  • Another day, another legacy announcement from Theresa May: this time a crackdown on rip-off companies. “For far too long,” says May, “many big companies have been getting away with harmful trading practices which lead to poor services and confusion among customers who have parted with their hard-earned cash.”

  • Could the PM go further and hold a mini-reshuffle? Sky News reports that she is lining up Simon Blagden, a Tory donor, for a seat in the Lords and a job as a trade minister.

  • One thing May is not announcing is who she is backing in the race to replace her. Not one of life’s over-sharers, she told the BBC: “I haven’t told anybody who I’m voting for and I’m not going to.”

  • The May farewell tour has not been universally welcomed: the Press Association reports that Philip Hammond could quit, even at this late stage, over the PM’s plans to splurge cash on schools. Although a source close to the chancellor tells me this morning: "Reports of his impending demise have always been premature in the past."

  • Heathrow publishes detailed plans for its controversial third runway.

  • What’s it like to work with Boris Johnson? This Mumsnet thread gives some idea, albeit totally uncorroborated. Apparently he is clever but grumpy, charming but incompetent, pushes in the front of the canteen queue, and once approached a table of women at an event and asked: “Are these the prossies then?”

  • Jo Swinson has said her party could work with others to put up joint second-referendum candidates in elections if she becomes Liberal Democrat leader.

  • Hard to believe, but parliament is still sitting and tackling the big issues. Today the House of Lords EU energy and environment sub-committee will be er . . . grilling experts about a proposal from the European parliament to ban the use of words like sausage and burger to describe foods that don’t contain meat.

  • Today’s trivia question: Here's a belated Father's Day question. There are 16 current MPs whose fathers were also MPs - how many can you name? Answer at the bottom of today's email.
Red Box: Comment
Michael Gove
I’ll deliver Brexit — and save country from Corbyn
Michael Gove – environment secretary
Destroy everything ... but Brexit
Priorities, priorities. If you were a member of the Tory party (maybe you are, there are 160,000 out there somewhere) it would be easy to assume that one of your priorities might be the preservation of the Tory party. Apparently not.

There is only thing that the current Conservative member is worried about: Brexit. And they are willing to see almost everything else destroyed to ensure it happens.

According to a new YouGov poll, 61 per cent of members would rather have "significant damage" to the economy to ensure Brexit takes place. The membership of the Conservative and Unionist Party would shrug off the break-up of the union: 63 per cent think it acceptable to see Scotland leave the UK to get Brexit, while 59 per cent would rather Northern Ireland left too to ensure what is left of the country leaves the EU.

More than half of members (54 per cent) would rather Brexit took place, even if it meant “the Conservative Party being destroyed”. In fact the only scenario in which they are willing to opt for preventing Brexit is if it also meant preventing Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.

Now the above scenarios are not what they want – only 5 per cent would actually be “happy” if their party is destroyed — but it illustrates where their priorities lie.

It is worth bearing all this in mind as the field of candidates to be prime minister is whittled down today, and this week, before the members get their hands on them from this weekend. In the end all they are worried about is Brexit, and who will deliver it, at whatever cost.

Asked about who should be leader, 83 per cent say it would be “acceptable” to have a Brexiteer willing to leave without a deal (the position of Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab), while 68 per cent would accept someone who backed Remain in 2016 but is now willing to deliver no-deal (Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid). Only 29 per cent think it acceptable for a Brexiteer to be unwilling to deliver no-deal (which to the untrained ear could be Michael Gove’s “delay a little bit beyond October 31” position). While just 26 per cent would accept a Remainer who now backs Brexit but opposes no-deal (Rory Stewart’s position).

Perhaps it is unsurprising then that 77 per cent think Johnson would make a good leader, while only 31 per cent think the same of Stewart. (It turns out the Tory membership haven’t fallen for Stewart in quite the same way as the Westminster Twitterati).

More surprising is that almost half – I’ll repeat that: ALMOST HALF of Tory members would be “happy” if Nigel Farage became their leader instead.

Some 18 per cent would be quite happy and 28 per cent very happy if the Brexit Party leader, who has inflicted so much electoral damage on the Tories, joined and took charge.

Perhaps they want to just neutralise the enemy: 87 per cent think the Brexit Party poses a threat to the Tories, compared to 79 per cent who think the same of Labour and just 44 per cent who are worried about the Lib Dems. That message that the party has got to win over Lib Dems as well as Brexiteers seems not to be hitting home.

All that talk of turning the page and moving beyond Brexit is also falling on deaf ears: 68 per cent want to hear about contenders’ plans for leaving the EU with only 29 per cent more interested in domestic policy. More than half would back a candidate for their Brexit plan even if they thought their domestic agenda was “bad”.

It is often said that Brexit has broken up traditional political alliances, cutting across the fault lines of left and right. But you would still have thought they retained some loyalty among party members. Not so.

More than half of Tory party members say they have more in common with non-Tories who voted the same way as them on Brexit than with fellow Tories who went the opposite way on EU membership.

So the candidates can talk about climate change and maternity leave and housing and tax cuts and Donald Trump’s tweets, but in the end all that matters in this contest is Brexit.

We just need to find someone with a plan that goes beyond “one more heave” or “clap three times and say ‘I believe in Brexit’”. Because if Brexit doesn’t happen, the Conservative members who chose the person who failed will be first to revolt.
Read the full story >
This evening Tory MPs have another round of voting to whittle down the field further. The candidate with the fewest votes will be knocked out, along with anyone else who does not have 10 per cent of the parliamentary party: 33 MPs.

The result is expected at 6pm. The survivors then go head to head on the BBC’s televised debate from 8pm on BBC One.

Yesterday five of the six candidates were put through their paces by dozens of journalists at the lobby hustings. Facing a total of 101 questions, they all emerged with their campaigns intact, but not without one of two gaffes along the way.

  • Michael Gove (25/1) is attempting to halt the momentum gathering behind Rory Stewart in the race for No 10 with a plea for MPs not to “polarise” the Conservative Party. In an article for The Times today, Gove urges his colleagues to avoid aggravating Tory divisions by ensuring both final candidates “believe in Brexit”. Asked at the hustings about the electorate, he insisted: “The idea that Conservative MPs are duplicitous is wholly new to me.” Gove faced a question from Owen Bennett, who wrote the book which revealed his cocaine use. He congratulated Bennett, who replied: “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

  • Jeremy Hunt (16/1) has backed President Trump “150 per cent” in his row with Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.

  • Sajid Javid (50/1) sought to play up his ’umble upbringing in drug-riddled Bristol, where he went to the local comp and not Eton, like two of his rivals. He also slightly panicked the assembled hacks when he joked: “If Labour wins I don’t know who would be first against the wall, Tories or journalists.”

  • Boris Johnson (1/6) was nowhere to be seen. So Johnny Mercer, one of his supporters, had to faced questions from Emma Barnett on his behalf, including: “How many children does Boris Johnson have?” Awks.

  • Dominic Raab (50/1) insisted everyone in Brussels is briefing against him because he told them things others wouldn’t. He also insisted he would have the 33 votes to stay in the race, saying he was “quietly confident”. And then he winked.

  • Rory Stewart (10/1) questioned whether Johnson would keep the coalition of former Remain and Leave MPs together if elected prime minister. He told the hustings: “He’s convinced Robert Buckland that he would never vote for a no-deal, and at the same time he’s got Mark Francois roaring: ‘This man looked me in the eyes and promised we’re going out with the hardest of no-deal Brexits’. These are curious relationships.” He also denied working for MI6, and won the backing of David Lidington, the deputy PM.
* Latest leadership odds from Ladbrokes.

UNCORK THE GAUKE: David Gauke isn’t running but seems to be enjoying himself all the more. The justice secretary, who backs Stewart, writes for Red Box that it will be “impossible” for a future chancellor to deliver on the high-spending pledges of certain candidates, notably Johnson. “If Conservatives won’t make the argument for living within our means, no one else will.”

She is the millennial who has got Johnson interested in feminism and the environment. Sonia Purnell asks in Times2: What makes Carrie Symonds tick?

Johnson and Stewart are racing ahead of their Conservative leadership rivals in the battle for Google searches, fuelled by interest in hedgehog and love child allegations.

FACT CHECK: How much of what the contenders say can we actually believe? Oliver Wright and Eleni Courea cast a critical eye over some of the key claims to see if they are what we might call true.

COOK THE BOOKS: Rory Stewart is racing ahead of Tory rival Boris Johnson – in book sales, The Sun reports.
Red Box: Comment
David Gauke
Chancellor will have a tough job under big-spending Boris
David Gauke – Justice secretary
Philip Davies
Johnson can communicate with voters in ways most politicians can’t
Philip Davies – Conservative MP
Red Box: Comment
Layla Moran
Why should we believe anything the Tory hopefuls promise on school funding?
Layla Moran – Liberal Democrat MP
I asked what you thought of John Bercow as Speaker, and it was more bollocks than brilliant. Full result here
Have your say
I asked yesterday who should be the next Speaker.

Bill Bradbury
said: "Jeremy Corbyn. (If things could not get worse?)"

Peter Butcher said: "Alexa."

Gordon Guest said: "If Boris does not make the cut then he has to be a must; lots of blustering and noise not to mention a constant stream of daily apologies for his faux pas, liberally sprinkled with Latin and Greek quotes to entertain us. Fwhagh!"

John Coles said: "The next Speaker should be Dickie Bird. He is widely respected, scrupulously fair, shows sound judgment, and actually abides by the rules."

TODAY: What should Jeremy Corbyn ask Theresa May at PMQs? Email redbox@thetimes.co.uk and we'll use some of the best tomorrow.
The best comment
Rachel Sylvester
White male Tories need to look at the country they want to lead
Rachel Sylvester – The Times
Hugo Rifkind
Donald Trump’s view of our murder rate is twisted
Hugo Rifkind – The Times
Giles Coren
My sense of charity is keeping the Beeb afloat
Giles Coren – The Times
Under no circumstances should the Tories form an alliance with the Brexit Party
Ruth Davidson - The Daily Telegraph
I’m pregnant and forced to choose between being an MP and a mum
Stella Creasy - The Guardian
The cartoon
Today's cartoon from The Times by Peter Brookes
Need to know
BREXIT BATTLE: Labour’s civil war flared again yesterday as Ian Lavery, the party’s chairman, hit back at Tom Watson and his call to back Remain in a second referendum. “I’m never going to leave the Labour Party,” Watson told the BBC: “Sometimes I wonder whether the Labour Party is leaving me.” (The Times)

A government review of Whitehall’s security vetting for Afghan interpreters has begun after The Times revealed that inflexible rules were blocking them from well-paid jobs. (The Times)

ON TRACK: Network Rail could be given new powers over trains in the biggest overhaul of the railways for 25 years. (The Times)

MONEY TALKS: A senior SNP politician has paid compensation to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and apologised after calling it a “money-laundering front”. (The Times)

FAMILY TIES: Jailed women criminals should be able to live with their children in mini-prisons in the community to break the cycle of offending, says a major government-commissioned report. (The Daily Telegraph)

FAST FASHION: Ministers have rejected recommendations from MPs to clean up the huge environmental impact of fast fashion, which sees 300,000 tonnes of clothing burned or buried in the UK every year. (The Guardian)

HACK ATTACK: Parliamentary authorities were last night investigating claims of a cybersecurity breach on its website. (The Sun)
Red Box: Comment
Nicola Dandridge
Poor courses, not poor students, are to blame for drop-out rates
Nicola Dandridge – Office for Students
Now read this
Shoot the messenger
President Trump’s re-election campaign has ousted several pollsters after leaks of internal data showing Joe Biden leading in key states if he were the Democratic contender in 2020.

Trump insisted that his private polling continued to show him ahead in the battleground states but his campaign admitted there was some “ancient” data from earlier this year showing the president lagging behind.
Read the full story >
Red Box: Comment
Boer Deng
Democrats cannot deliver a knockout because they don’t understand the fight
Boer Deng – Times Washington correspondent
The agenda
  • The second ballot takes place to replace Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party, opening at 3pm and closing at 5pm. The result will be announced at about 6pm.
  • Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, is among the speakers at the ECB Forum on Central Banking.
  • John Glen, the economic secretary to the Treasury, and Nicky Morgan, the Treasury committee chairwoman, speak at the lobbying group CityUK's annual conference. Unite holds its annual conference, with an address from Dave Prentis, the general secretary.
  • Employing migrants in jobs that match their qualifications could boost the UK's economy by £7 billion, according to a report by the IPPR think tank.
  • Medical staff and GPs need significantly more training on eating disorders, according to a report from the public administration and constitutional affairs committee.
  • Failures in government planning have left England and Wales short of magistrates, according to a report by the justice committee.
  • 9.30am Theresa May chairs the weekly cabinet meeting.
  • 9.30am Dame Martina Milburn, the Social Mobility Commission chairwoman, gives evidence to the education committee.
  • 10.30am Bob Posner, the Electoral Commission chief executive, gives evidence to the sub-committee on disinformation on digital campaigning, the recent European parliament elections, and the Brexit Party's funding.
  • 1pm Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, Lord Feldman, the former Conservative Party chairman, and Sir Lynton Crosby, the Conservative strategist, take part in a Policy Exchange event on the Conservatives' electoral strategy.
  • 3.15pm Lord Hall of Birkenhead, the BBC director-general, and Alex Mahon, the Channel 4 CEO, give evidence to the Lords communications committee.
  • 5pm Donald Tusk, the European Council president, attends a gathering of speakers and presidents of the parliaments of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe and some affiliated parliaments.
  • 7pm Damian Collins, the digital, culture, media and sport committee chairman, is among speakers at an Intelligence Squared debate on whether Facebook is damaging society.
  • 7.15pm Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader, discusses next steps in the process at a Telegraph event.
  • 8pm Conservative leadership candidates participate in live BBC hustings event moderated by Emily Maitlis.
House of Commons
  • 11.30am Health and social care questions.
  • Ten-minute rule bill on a domestic energy efficiency plan.
  • Motion to approve an ecclesiastical measure relating to Church representation and ministers.
  • Order relating to the draft Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (Specified Scottish Authority and Barred Lists).
  • Backbench business debate on the implementation of the Cox report.
  • Adjournment debate on bank holidays in 2020.
House of Lords
  • 2.30pm Questions on the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid; government outsourcing to the private sector; the definition of “safe” in relation to chemicals, medicines and vaccines, and the protection of merchant shipping in the Gulf of Oman and Strait of Hormuz subsequent to recent attacks.
  • Report stage of the Census (Return Particulars and Removal of Penalties) Bill.
  • A motion to regret regulations relating to children’s homes.
  • Debate on the Cadet Expansion Programme in schools.
Today's trivia answer
Victoria Atkins, Victoria Prentis, John Cryer, Lindsay Hoyle, Mark Pawsey, Bernard Jenkin, Stephen Kinnock, Andrew Mitchell, Ian Paisley Jr, Robin Walker, Bill Wiggin, Dominic Grieve, Richard Benyon, Hilary Benn, Nicholas Soames and Nick Hurd.

Thanks to Mr Memory for help with that one. Send your trivia to redbox@thetimes.co.uk
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