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Steerpike

Jeremy Hunt loses (again)

Jeremy Hunt loses (again)
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It was with great excitement that Steerpike learned that Jeremy Hunt had (finally) made public what many had privately long-suspected: he's running. Yet the more Mr S read of the politician's bid for high office, the less it sounded like the Tory Remainer that we all know and love. For Hunt's prospective manifesto included support for gun rights, stricter border controls and an end to taxpayer-funded abortions.

Has the Surrey MP undergone a sudden right-wing conversion? Sadly for those hoping for such a political metamorphosis, it appears not. For Jeremy C Hunt is one of the candidates who has been running in the Republican primary for a congressional seat in Georgia. And, like his namesake on this side of the pond, Hunt lost. He also conceded defeat gracelessly, without reference to his opponent, on Tuesday night. Let's hope he doesn't spend the next few years trying to undermine his party colleague...

Still, while the midterms are obsessing America right now, in Westminster it's the leadership question as the summer party season gets underway. Mr S has been keeping an eye on who's speaking at the main events: always a useful tell as to whose political stock is up or down. Sajid Javid will be appearing before both the free-market Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute, presumably making the case for a small state: a cause which he and his colleagues haven't done much to advance in office.

Penny Mordaunt meanwhile has a few engagements with the party faithful, including a drinks reception last week with Westminster Tories and a dinner at the Carlton Club on Monday. Steerpike's spies tell him that there's still a few dozen tickets left: perhaps the ever-online minister's star may be dimming slightly? Mordaunt's leadership-signalling on Twitter has certainly caused some wry amusement among colleagues in recent months, with her frequent posts about 'leadership' being read as a veiled criticism of the incumbent Prime Minister. She might though want to advise her staff to not publicly 'like' tweets which claim that 'new leadership is needed and Boris needs to go.'

As one MP put it to Mr S last night 'her manoeuvres are about as subtle as a Challenger tank.'

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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