From Fighting With Animals To Drugs Revelations, How The Tories Are Wasting Time As Brexit Looms

Brussels warned the UK: 'Please, do not waste this time'. Yet it's doing just that...

“Please, do not waste this time.”

This was the plaintive plea of Donald Tusk back in April, after the UK and the EU in April agreed to a “flexible extension” of Brexit.

But something appears to have been lost in translation (despite the Pole’s perfect English).

Brexit has been far from the forefront of the political agenda and instead Theresa May has been forced out in a coup, the Tory leadership election has kicked off and wannabe PM’s are feuding with daytime TV hosts.

On Tuesday, the second official day of the Conservative race for the top job, it appears this isn’t a state of affairs that will be fixed anytime soon...

‘Who will win in a fight between a lion and and a bear?’

Mark Harper, a rank outsider for the Tory crown, on Tuesday took part in an ‘ask me anything’ Q&A as he launched his campaign. Reddit readers familiar with the format may know what came next.

The MP was asked who would win in a fight between a lion and a bear. Appearing to dismiss the relative physical and technical attributes of each animal, Harper replied: “Because the lion is a symbol of Britain, I’ll go with the lion.” A perfectly normal country.

Lorraine Kelly v Esther McVey

Who knew the first two days of the Conservative party leadership battle would be dominated by a row between Esther McVey, the former work and pensions secretary and breakfast TV doyen Lorraine Kelly?

It all started on Monday morning when Lorraine took a Mariah Carey-esque swipe at McVey, stating she did not remember if they got on while working at ITV together during the ’90s.

McVey addressed the situation claiming to have been promoted over Lorraine back in the day. Because that’s the kind of thing a prospective PM should do.

But on Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain, Lorraine – or the actress who plays her, we’re not entirely sure – hit back: “There is no battle, I’ve had my own show since 1992, she only joined later, so I don’t know what she’s on about.

“As for sharing dressing rooms, it was just a little room that we shared, it wasn’t like a proper dressing room.

“I’ll be genuinely honest, I don’t remember her, my show was completely different.”

Reminder: it’s 142 days until Brexit.

The dog show

Sajid Javid won praise for his glossy campaign video, released on on Tuesday, that told the story of his rise, from growing up above the clothes shop run by his immigrant parents to measuring up the curtains at No.10.

But it was his dog, Bailey, who was the star of the film.

The Javid family’s Cavapoo - a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle - is filmed playing with his ball in the kitchen, which is lovely and everything ... but let’s not forget the home secretary is prepared to leave EU without a deal, which many believe will be economically perilous.

Drugs revelations

Since it was revealed on Saturday that Michael Gove took cocaine while working as a journalist in the 1990s, it has been de rigueur to come clean. For the record:

  • Commons Andrea Leadsom admitted “smoking weed” during her university days.
  • Rory Stewart has already apologised for smoking opium.
  • Jeremy Hunt has said he consumed a cannabis lassi – a milkshake – while backpacking.
  • Dominic Raab admitted smoking cannabis as a student.
  • Boris Johnson admitted taking cocaine and cannabis in his student days.

Matt Hancock swears a lot and eats waffles

Matt Hancock, another contender, took aim at Boris Johnson when he brought up a remark attributed to his leadership rival when he apparently said “fuck business” following their concerns about no-deal Brexit. In an interview with the Financial Times, Hancock said: “To the people who say ‘fuck business’, I say ‘fuck, fuck business’.”

And potty-mouth struck again in an interview with HuffPost UK’s Paul Waugh.

Hancock, very much the bad boy of the race, was recently got caught scoffing a sugary stroopwafel for breakfast on TV, a big faux pas given his job as health secretary.

But Hancock turned blunder into banter at his leadership launch, handing out the Dutch treat branded with ‘Matt Hancock’ sticker.

Faking holding a phone

Yep.

Rory Stewart, the International Development Secretary, has won props for his grassroots campaigning, regularly posting videos from the campaign trail as he holds debates with everyone and anyone.

But things took a weird twist when Stewart was forced to respond to accusations he may not have been the one holding his phone while filming a so-called selfie video from Kew Gardens in London. Spoiler alert: he wasn’t.

To be fair, Stewart appears to be taking the threat of Brexit more seriously than most - eschewing arguments in favour of renegotiating with Brussels to instead make clear the UK would be the equivalent of Afghanistan if it moved to World Trade Organisation rules.

Anyway, a cent for Donald Tusk’s thoughts.