11/06/2019 17:02 BST | Updated 11/06/2019 17:28 BST

Tory Leadership Contenders' Videos: Absolute Scenes As Our Entertainment Team Review Them

"I’ll be honest, I had no idea who this man was until one minute and 52 seconds ago, and my main takeaway is that he has nice skin."

The Conservative party leadership contest has yielded plenty of surprising moments and unexpected crossovers with the entertainment world. 

The main one, obviously, is Lorraine Kelly’s beef with Esther McVey, but in the interests of having a good laugh, we’ve found another. 

Yes, the campaign videos. 

Each of the 10 candidates hoping to replace Theresa May has released their own trailer of sorts – with varying degrees of success. 

While the HuffPost UK Politics team has taken care of giving you the lowdown on each candidate – you can read that feature here – the Entertainment desk has taken one for the team and reviewed each of the video pitches. 

Here are the results (in no particular, we certainly do not have favourites)... 

Matt Hancock

This isn’t a dig at Matt Hancock (or at least not an intentional one), but I was pretty much none the wiser as to who he actually was before I hit play on this video.

With that in mind, perhaps framing him in the middle of a load of other people in the style of the Orange Is The New Black opening titles wasn’t the best idea. It doesn’t exactly make him really stand out as a potential prime minister and it was only when he said, “I’m Matt Hancock” that I realised which one of them he actually was, in all honesty.

The washed-out colours, distorted pianos and people talking in unison did also give me slight horror film vibes, which is probably not what you want to be putting people in mind of when you’re trying to plead your case for leading a country. Daniel Welsh 

Mark Harper

I’ll be honest, I had no idea who this man was until one minute and 52 seconds ago, and my main takeaway having watched him for that one minute and 52 seconds is that he has nice skin – either that, or a good lighting person. 

But that’s probably where I’ll stop the compliments, as the whole thing has a bit of a GCSE Media Studies coursework vibe about it. 

I’m also not exactly sold on his skills as an orator, given this contains nearly as many stumbles as Gemma Collins on Dancing On Ice. Ashley Percival 

Michael GOVE. 


A new name for a new era is very ZAYN post-One Direction, though I’m not sure it works quite the same way for a politician. It’s the sort of thing you might do if there was, oh I don’t know, a drugs scandal you were looking to leave in the past.

The video itself is… fine. Or as RuPaul would say, ‘meh’. It features plenty of breakthrough stars – we’ve always got time for an indie hit here at HuffPost UK – but is seriously lacking in A-listers. Big Little Lies, it certainly is not.

The setting is somewhat dull as well, with each participant delivering their lines like talking heads on late night Channel 5 shows and bizarrely, GOVE. himself doesn’t actually feature. Yeah, we get it, the short film is supposed to be focused on the real people instead, but it sort of looks like he just didn’t have time to pop by?

If you’re wondering where the budget has gone – given that there’s no lead star or proper set changes – then whack the volume right up: the soundtrack is a dream and very The Favourite-esque.

If only there had been money left for an editor to cut the 20 seconds of dead, black screen that closes the video. Whoops. Rachel McGrath

Jeremy Hunt

Look, when even the ever-professional Victoria Derbyshire slips up and calls you a c*** on live TV, you know something’s amiss. But I’ll tell you what’s amiss - Jeremy’s tie.

Going tie-less and unbuttoning your collar does not a leader make. It just makes you look like a geography teacher. And who wants a geography teacher representing us on the international stage? Especially when Canada have Justin Trudeau - a man who has more charisma in his little finger nail than Jezza has in his entire being.

I’m also very suspicious of the fact that he’s so pale. Isn’t he Foreign Secretary? Forget the leadership race, Jeremy. Get yourself to a beach pronto. The vitamin D will do you the world of good. Matt Bagwell

Sajid Javid

This opens with a DOG, so Sajid gets 10 points immediately. Yes, I am easily pleased but if there’s anything this feature has taught me, it’s that you have to celebrate the wins when you find them.

Sajid’s video is not really a campaign video but biopic, which includes visits to his current home, childhood house and favourite local cafe. It’s like the Bros documentary but without Bros (and conkers), obviously.

Like Hunt, Sajid has gone for a tie-free Man Of The People look, but he does a better job of carrying it off.

In one scene though, he seems to be (very purposefully) holding a brolly... even though there’s no rain. Is this metaphor? What does it mean? Who knows – his mum is in the next scene and I feel far more interested in learning about her.

Frustratingly, I did not get to find out what she was cooking and this is a plot thread that will need tying up immediately. Rachel McGrath

AN UPDATE: Team Saj has notified HuffPost UK that the politician’s mum was cooking pakoras. Case closed. 

Boris Johnson 

The message of this video is pretty plain: “Hey there, proles! Forget what you’ve heard about Silly Old Boris not caring about you poor wretches, here I am outside Sports Direct. I’m one of you!”

Sadly for Boris, though, man of the people is not a role that comes easily to him.

For one thing, he’s in a full suit in the middle of the day, when everyone knows the official “authority figure but still on your level” uniform is suit jacket off, tie on, sleeves rolled up. How did Boris miss this memo?

When we see Boris at people’s houses, he’s also employing the extreme hand gestures popularised by former PMs Tony Blair and David Cameron, but it’s so unnatural, he looks like he’s on the Steps reunion tour, trying to remember which move comes next in the Tragedy routine.

At one point, completely out of nowhere, he punctuates his sentence by punching the air, something we’ve seen precisely zero people do in real life.

He’s well-lit when he addresses the camera, we’ll give him that, but surely this former Etonian could have afforded music that doesn’t sound like it should be playing over a loading screen on The Sims? Daniel Welsh 

Andrea Leadsom 

Who knew Andrea Leadsom was a fan of The Sims? At least that’s the only reason I can think of as to why she’s using music from the computer game for her campaign video. 

I also greatly enjoyed the fact she’s clearly ripped some mid-to-low quality video of her on various TV shows from YouTube, rather than bothering to source better clips. Ash Percival 

Esther McVey

Prior to watching Esther McVey’s leadership campaign video I knew precisely three things about her. 1. She used to be a TV presenter. 2. Her former colleague Lorraine Kelly can’t stand her and 3. She doesn’t believe young school kids should be taught that LGBT people exist.

So, let’s just say the bar couldn’t have been any lower.

This low-budget clip kicks off with what sounds like Richard Clayderman tinkling the ivories and a teacher endorsing Esther’s pledge to put more money into education. Just as long as none of it is spent on teaching kids about diversity though, right?

Oh hang on, here’s a young Tory saying he believes in Esther’s “core values” of “freedom and equality”. Errrm, mate, might want to take a closer look at her manifesto. You know those infomercials that run for the entire ad break on channels you never watch, except when severely hungover? This is the political equivalent. They never get my cash, and she’ll never get my vote. Matt Bagwell 

Rory Stewart


Rory has made so many videos lately that it was tough to work out which one was ‘official’, so I’ve plumped for this one, which is teasingly titled My Vision For The United Kingdom.

Clocking in at just over 4 minutes, Rory’s is one of the longest campaign videos yet – there really is no nice way to say this, sorry Rory – it is also one of the dullest.

Even the man himself seems incredibly bored by what he’s saying and to make matters worse, there’s no soundtrack.

Rory, if you’re reading this, some tips for next time: You can’t go for a Christopher Nolan length production without finding your very own Hans Zimmer. Visual effects wouldn’t go amiss either (get the youngest person in your office to help) and get a few reviews in – where are the fans raving about your accomplishments? And please, please crack a smile. Rachel McGrath

Dominic Raab

I dropped English Literature after AS Level, but even with my limited analytical skills, I can still tell that Dominic Raab thinks that by keeping things simple, people will think of him as a straightforward, and therefore a trustworthy, guy.

No bells and whistles here, just a man in a jumper chatting about Brexit in the great outdoors (for some reason).

I might have advised against the potentially problematic use of “welching on that” (a quick Google search tells me this expression is “perhaps” rooted in the “alleged dishonesty of Welsh people”), as well as the much-cited “will of the people”, an expression that makes me glaze over as soon as anyone (usually Theresa May) says it.

Still, if the race to be prime minister proves unsuccessful, perhaps he could turn his hand to making ASMR videos? Daniel Welsh