6 Ridiculous Moments From Day One Of The Tory Leadership Contest

From Lorraine Kelly vs Esther McVey to Victoria Derbyshire's clanger with Jeremy Hunt's surname.
PA/ GMB/ BBC/ Rachel Wearmouth

It may seem like it has been dragging on for months, but Monday was actually the *first* official day of the Tory leadership contest. Yes.

And what a first day it was, with five of the strongest contenders in the race launching their leadership campaigns.

As you might expect, there were plenty of grand pledges over public spending, digs at other candidates and explanations about why their Brexit plan is the only one which could possibly work.

But – more importantly – there were plenty of ridiculous moments courtesy of the people vying to be our next prime minister.

If you had something better to do than listen to Tory MPs talk at you about domestic policy for hours today, here are seven slightly absurd moments you missed from day one of the Tory leadership race.

1. Self-deprecating stroopwafels

Remember that time the health secretary, Matt Hancock – a vocal advocate of healthy living – got caught scoffing a sugary stroopwafel for breakfast on telly? No, us neither.

Obviously keen to show what a laugh he is, Hancock’s leadership launch was well-stocked with the Dutch treat, each of which was branded with ‘Matt Hancock’ sticker.

I’m at the launch of @MattHancock’s leadership bid where there are free waffles... pic.twitter.com/Dhr2yoRCg7

— Rachel Wearmouth (@REWearmouth) June 10, 2019

2. An unfortunate slip of the tongue

On the day Jeremy Hunt launched his bid to replace Theresa May in Number 10, he was hoping to bag headlines – which he did. But it’s unlikely he was hoping to be in the news because Victoria Derbyshire called him a rude word.

On Monday, the BBC presenter became the latest journalist to fall victim to the Jeremy Hunt rude name curse, following in the footsteps of many of her colleagues.

In a debate about who should replace Theresa May as Tory Party leader, Derbyshire asked one of her guests: “You say that the man that you’re backing – Jeremy Cunt…

“I’m so sorry, Jeremy Hunt,” she continued. “I’ve never said that before in my life. It’s usually men who say that, so I really really want to apologise, I’m sorry.”

Luckily, the unfortunately-named foreign secretary doesn’t seem too upset about reporters fumbling over his surname.

Asked at a speech in London on the same day whether he would just be a “continuity Theresa May” if he became PM, Hunt said: “Anyone who knows what my last name rhymes with will know I’ve been called a whole lot worse on the Today programme on the BBC.

“I will be quite different to any of the prime ministers I have served.”

3. Dominic Raab’s attempt at a joke

PA Wire/PA Images

Anyone who has ever watched a politician attempt to crack a joke during a speech knows how awkward it can be – and Dominic Raab is no different.

Speaking about his children – who are British-Brazilian – the former Brexit secretary used the opportunity to have a dig at Labour’s foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry.

“I bought them an England football kit,” Raab said about his two sons.

“I’ll probably get in trouble with Emily Thornberry… she may report me to social services, who knows.”

We assume Raab was referring to the time that Thornberry resigned from Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet accused of snobbery after tweeting a photo of a house in Rochester decked out in St George’s flags. Let it never be said that his jokes aren’t current.

4. Lorraine’s beef with Esther McVey

It’s probably fair to say that Esther McVey isn’t the most popular woman in Britain.

Asked whether she remembered McVey from her days as a GMTV presenter, Kelly was uncharacteristically short.

“Yep. Yes, I do,” she said, quickly moving on.

Determined to find out more about their clearly frosty relationship, Piers Morgan asked: “So you got on with Esther, then, Lorraine?”

“I don’t remember love, I don’t remember at all,” Kelly answered. Ouch.

McVey later hit back, giving her view about why there might be beef.

Asked about their relationship, she told reporters: “Well we used to share a dressing room and she used to do the programme afterwards and obviously she used to be partnered with Eamonn Holmes and then I was promoted to be partnered with Eamonn Holmes.” (Ouch.)

She continued: “But she’s great and it was a great show. I can’t believe it. I think it was 20 years ago I did that show, but never mind. It was really good at the time. It was really good fun.”

5. Michael Gove’s festival vibes

You probably couldn’t get further away from Glastonbury than a Tory leadership campaign launch on a rainy Monday in London.

But environment secretary Michael Gove seemed determined to ramp up the festival vibes at a speech laying out his plans for the UK, pumping out Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ and handing out gold wristbands.

Gold wristbands on entry for Michael Gove’s campaign launch, lot of pumping music too — #govefest pic.twitter.com/yBZghY47QN

— Dan O'Donoghue (@MrDanDonoghue) June 10, 2019

6. McVey’s heckler drama

Unfortunately for Esther McVey, the drama didn’t end with Lorraine Kelly.

The stage at her leadership speech was stormed by a protester, who bellowed at the crowd: “You are all fake news and these people are fake Conservatives.”

“I am a paid-up member of the Conservative Party,” he shouted as people tried to remove him from the stage. “Touch me and I’ll have you nicked.”

Shouting “don’t touch me” over and over, the man was eventually removed from the room. McVey applauded as he was led away.

Buckle in, lads – if the first day is anything to go by, the Tory leadership race is going to be a long and ridiculous contest...


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