On Thursday, MPs will have their first chance to vote in the secret ballot for their pick for the next leader of the Conservative party. At the moment, the consensus in the Parliamentary party is that the most likely pair to make the final two are Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – after Michael Gove's campaign received a setback at the weekend when he admitted to previous drug use. But what about Sajid Javid?
The Home Secretary had been touted as a good bet ahead of the contest commencing. However, Javid has at times struggled to make an impression – and have his message cut through – in what has turned out to be a very crowded leadership race. This is a problem because while Javid has a good number of Tory MPs backing him, in the past few days a consensus is forming in the party that Hunt is the person to get behind to ensure a Cabinet candidate – rather than two full-on Brexiteers – make it to the final two.
So, how can Javid turn the tide? This morning, Javid's team have released a campaign video. It's a big improvement on the launch video the team tweeted out earlier this month when they confirmed he was running – that was filmed from his office and was rather lacklustre. As discussed on the Coffee House Shots podcast at the time, it was a misstep and he should have instead told his backstory – the son of a Pakistani bus driver who went on to become Home Secretary. James suggested the video ought to show Javid returning to Stapleton Road in Bristol – once known as Britain's worst street – and talking about his family's story and his father coming to the UK with just a pound in his pocket. Whether or not, Sajid's team listen to the podcast, they appear to have taken all this advice on board. In the new video, Javid does just this:
On Wednesday, Javid will formally launch his campaign and expect to see the Home Secretary go further. The Javid pitch is that he is a leader for tomorrow – someone who can reach new voters for the Conservative party. His supporters tout him as a change candidate who would fare well against any Labour leader – not just Jeremy Corbyn. At the One Nation hustings, Javid told MPs that like the original one nation Tory Disraeli, he was a little different too.
Time is of the essence for Javid when it comes to making this pitch. In Thursday's ballot, Javid needs to show that he has more support than Matt Hancock – another Cabinet candidate – in order to be taken seriously as a contender in the following rounds.