Tom Goodenough Tom Goodenough

What Liam Fox’s unlikely leadership bid tells us about the Tories

There’s much speculation about who will be the two MPs chosen by the Tory party to fight it out for leader, but there is less dispute about the candidate who looks set to get knocked out on Tuesday when voting actually starts on Tuesday. Barring an unlikely surge of support from fellow Tory MPs, Liam Fox’s backers so far are not going to be sufficient for his candidacy to survive the week. So why is he running? Here’s what he had to say to that question on Sunday Politics today:

‘If you remember back to 2005, they were all wrong then. But let’s leave that aside on the arithmetic. The reason that I am in this race is that I think we need to take the argument on now from the referendum to how we actually take Britain out of the European Union. We also have to look at a range of other issues: we’re not in this race electing a leader of the opposition, which is what we have always done before. Someone doesn’t have four years to play themselves in. And the day after this election, someone is going to get a call from Mr Putin and they are going to have to make an assessment on our nuclear deterrents.’

Fox’s big pitch then is about experience. That whoever wins this race will have the nuclear codes, will be taking a phone call from Vladimir Putin on their next day in the job. Fox is the only candidate talking about foreign policy, and says that whoever triumphs won’t have the chance to ‘play themselves in’ during a period of opposition this time around- a subtle dig at the relative inexperience of Stephen Crabb and Andrea Leadsom. Fox wins on that experience, but so of Michael Gove and Theresa May.

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