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Simon Clarke breaks his silence


Well, that was quick. Less than 24 hours after Simon Clarke called for Rishi Sunak to resign and tweeted ‘I have no further comment to make’ he has, er, issued a further comment. The former Levelling Up Secretary broke cover tonight after taking a battering from colleagues over his call for the Prime Minister to go. In an interview with the BBC’s Chris Mason, Clarke doubled down on his position but acknowledged that not all his colleagues would agree with him:

I totally respect the strong views that something like this evokes. No-one likes the guy who’s shouting “‘”Iceberg!” but I suspect that people will be even less happy if we hit the iceberg. And we are on course to do that. That is the point which I need to land with colleagues respectfully and calmly: We’re not responding to the situation with the seriousness that it warrants. Because I don’t want a decade of decline. I want a Conservative government that delivers for communities like mine and for the country. I really worry that we are on course for a shattering defeat.

Mason also took the chance to ask the Middlesbrough MP about the mysterious group ‘Conservative Britain Alliance’ which has commissioned a series of YouGov polls for the Telegraph that have produced some very unfavourable headlines for the beleaguered PM. Did Clarke know who they were? ‘No’ replied the former minister, adding ‘I haven’t made it my business to find out because what I’m concerned about is what’s in the poll.’ He continued ‘What matters is that the poll was conducted by YouGov, who are one of the leading pollsters in the UK’.

Mr S suspects Clarke’s interview will only lead to further questions in the days ahead…

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

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