Now the Tory grassroots must decide between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss in what may be an acrimonious contest. Who should it be? Boris was a huge beast trampling the jungle. Rishi and Liz put me in mind of two spindly antelopes nervously chewing grass under a baobab tree

STEPHEN GLOVER: Rishi Sunak looks a more natural leader but I prefer Liz Truss’ policies…

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Thank God Penny Mordaunt was eliminated yesterday afternoon. Whatever lies in store for our country, at least we won’t have a Prime Minister who is spectacularly unqualified for the job.

That 105 Tory MPs could have voted for Ms Mordaunt despite so many damaging revelations about her, and propelled her so terrifyingly close to the seat of power, is further evidence that not a few members of the Parliamentary Conservative Party have lost their marbles.

Now the Tory grassroots must decide between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss in what may be an acrimonious contest. Who should it be? Boris was a huge beast trampling the jungle. Rishi and Liz put me in mind of two spindly antelopes nervously chewing grass under a baobab tree.

What a void Boris has left! Many people, including critics of the fallen leader, will have felt a lump in their throats at the end of Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday as this remarkable, flawed, larger-than-life politician departed the stage — at least for now.

Now the Tory grassroots must decide between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss in what may be an acrimonious contest. Who should it be? Boris was a huge beast trampling the jungle. Rishi and Liz put me in mind of two spindly antelopes nervously chewing grass under a baobab tree

Now the Tory grassroots must decide between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss in what may be an acrimonious contest. Who should it be? Boris was a huge beast trampling the jungle. Rishi and Liz put me in mind of two spindly antelopes nervously chewing grass under a baobab tree

Churchill recovered from worse humiliations and Charles de Gaulle returned to power in triumph from exile in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. I have this strange feeling that Boris Johnson may be back

Churchill recovered from worse humiliations and Charles de Gaulle returned to power in triumph from exile in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. I have this strange feeling that Boris Johnson may be back

Churchill recovered from worse humiliations and Charles de Gaulle returned to power in triumph from exile in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. I have this strange feeling that Boris Johnson may be back

Of course he shouldn’t have presided over Lord of Misrule antics in No 10 while the rest of us were dutifully swallowing his lockdown medicine. He should not have given the impression that nothing untoward went on.

I also wish his administration wasn’t responsible for an increase in public spending and taxes that wouldn’t have shamed a Labour prime minister. Indeed, the last time we had taxes at this level there was a Labour prime minister — Clement Attlee.

You may say that Rishi was Chancellor and knew where all the pulleys and levers were in the Treasury — which the non-economist, broad-brush Boris Johnson certainly didn’t.

But critics of Rishi’s tenure shouldn’t forget it was Mr Johnson — officially First Lord of the Treasury — who appointed him and went along with his policies almost until the bitter end. We can’t simply blame Mr Sunak.

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So, to return to my question, who should be the next Prime Minister? I am in a quandary. Rishi looks more the part. He has charm and an attractive persona, though he is perhaps a bit too slick for some tastes.

Liz Truss, by contrast, often comes across as spiky and wooden. I can’t be the only one who finds her voice peculiarly irritating. I didn’t like the way in which she constantly jabbed her forefinger during the second TV leadership debate over the weekend.

Thank God Penny Mordaunt was eliminated yesterday afternoon. Whatever lies in store for our country, at least we won’t have a Prime Minister who is spectacularly unqualified for the job. That 105 Tory MPs could have voted for Ms Mordaunt despite so many damaging revelations about her, and propelled her so terrifyingly close to the seat of power, is further evidence that not a few members of the Parliamentary Conservative Party have lost their marbles

Thank God Penny Mordaunt was eliminated yesterday afternoon. Whatever lies in store for our country, at least we won’t have a Prime Minister who is spectacularly unqualified for the job. That 105 Tory MPs could have voted for Ms Mordaunt despite so many damaging revelations about her, and propelled her so terrifyingly close to the seat of power, is further evidence that not a few members of the Parliamentary Conservative Party have lost their marbles

Thank God Penny Mordaunt was eliminated yesterday afternoon. Whatever lies in store for our country, at least we won’t have a Prime Minister who is spectacularly unqualified for the job. That 105 Tory MPs could have voted for Ms Mordaunt despite so many damaging revelations about her, and propelled her so terrifyingly close to the seat of power, is further evidence that not a few members of the Parliamentary Conservative Party have lost their marbles

One of her errors, it seems to me, is to seek to portray herself as the reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher. In the first leadership debate last week, she donned a Thatcher-like white blouse with a big bow tied at the front, and an equally evocative black blazer, in order to ‘channel’ the great woman.

In February, when she was in Moscow rattling her plastic sabre, Ms Truss posed for pictures in Red Square in a fur hat — just as her idol Thatcher did on a visit to the Soviet Union.

Last November, she donned military garb and climbed onto a British tank in Estonia in an attempt to look fearsome. The Iron Lady did the same thing in West Germany in 1986, when the Soviet Union posed an existential threat to the West.

Surely a confident politician should set out to be herself or himself. Boris Johnson is not so carried away by his enthusiasm for Winston Churchill that he waves around a cigar or gives ‘V for victory’ signs all the time. Why does Liz Truss so crudely imitate her heroine?

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I hope that, as she parades in front of the Tory Party faithful over the coming weeks, she will present herself and her views in a sincere way rather than in a rather creepy ersatz fashion.

This is not a trivial point, since in modern politics image is all-important. If Liz Truss continues to hide behind Margaret Thatcher, people will be suspicious. She can do little about her appearance, and nothing about her voice, but she can, and must, be her own woman.

Impressions and appearances matter a great deal. The Tory rank-and-file should choose a prime minister who appeals not only to people like them (often elderly life-long Conservatives) but also to floating voters and former Labour supporters in the Red Wall.

Have I been beastly to Liz Truss? I hope not. Many traditional Tories to whom I speak make similar points and I notice, though this is obviously anecdotal, that women tend to like her less than men do.

And yet when I compare her views to those of Rishi Sunak, I find myself more often siding with her than with him. Rishi equivocates about defence spending, but Liz comes out and says we must spend three per cent of GDP (it’s just over two per cent at the moment) by 2030.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his last Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons yesterday. He announced his resignation on July 7 and will remain as Prime Minister until a new Conservative Party leader is elected

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his last Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons yesterday. He announced his resignation on July 7 and will remain as Prime Minister until a new Conservative Party leader is elected

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his last Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons yesterday. He announced his resignation on July 7 and will remain as Prime Minister until a new Conservative Party leader is elected

Ms Truss says she is in favour of fracking, which could be one solution to our severe energy problems, whereas I am not aware that Mr Sunak has stuck his neck out on this contentious issue.

On the Northern Irish Protocol, Liz Truss is admirably tough. She realises it is a dangerous nonsense to have an internal trade border in the United Kingdom, which no EU country would ever accept. I doubt Mr Sunak is so robust on this question.

And then we come to deregulation. Liz is strongly in favour. It is a way to cash in on Brexit. Rishi recently attempted to brandish his Brexiteer credentials by promising a bonfire of European Union laws ‘getting in the way’ of business. Why didn’t he do so as Chancellor?

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On tax, Liz Truss is right to advocate cancelling the Corporation Tax increase which Rishi Sunak planned for next April, and she is also right to propose reversing the ill-judged hike in National Insurance, which was steamrollered through in April despite the qualms of many, including Boris.

Ms Truss’s proposals don’t amount to ‘fantasy economics’, as Mr Sunak unwisely alleged during the second leadership debate. His task is to present himself as someone who genuinely believes in a low-tax economy and whose natural inclinations were overcome by the exigencies of the pandemic.

Rishi, the former head boy, looks the more natural leader. But he may have a predisposition to take the conventional path — hence his cleaving to Treasury orthodoxy — whereas Liz Truss, like the great Prime Minister she worships, may have a more courageous streak

Rishi, the former head boy, looks the more natural leader. But he may have a predisposition to take the conventional path — hence his cleaving to Treasury orthodoxy — whereas Liz Truss, like the great Prime Minister she worships, may have a more courageous streak

Rishi, the former head boy, looks the more natural leader. But he may have a predisposition to take the conventional path — hence his cleaving to Treasury orthodoxy — whereas Liz Truss, like the great Prime Minister she worships, may have a more courageous streak

So this is what I feel. Rishi, the former head boy, looks the more natural leader. But he may have a predisposition to take the conventional path — hence his cleaving to Treasury orthodoxy — whereas Liz Truss, like the great Prime Minister she worships, may have a more courageous streak.

Rishi has two other impediments. His near-billionaire wife, and his own large fortune, will make easy targets for Labour. And some among the Tory faithful won’t forgive him for plotting Boris’s demise.

Maybe either one of them could see off Sir Keir Starmer and Labour. Or maybe — though I obviously hope not — whoever is chosen will lead a fractious and divided Tory Party through turbulent times to electoral defeat.

If that happened, the Tories would look around for a new leader to bring them success. Might they turn to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, clapped yesterday by Conservative MPs, many of whom stabbed him only two weeks ago? What people!

Churchill recovered from worse humiliations and Charles de Gaulle returned to power in triumph from exile in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. I have this strange feeling that Boris Johnson may be back.

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