Rory stewart

Too many tales of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle

A book about hedgehogs is not the obvious next step for Sarah Sands, the former editor of Radio 4’s flagship news programme Today, and before that editor of the Evening Standard. But then Sands has had a rough time of it lately. In The Hedgehog Diaries, she recounts the death of her father, Noel, the news broken to her by her brother, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, who had to climb through a window of her Norfolk house to do so since she wasn’t answering her phone. Hesketh-Harvey, who was a writer and performer and a great favourite of the King, died not long afterwards of heart failure. Julian Sands, the actor made

Rory Stewart is a fish out of water

Rory Stewart is one of that almost extinct species in the modern Conservative party, a one-nation Tory. He is also – or was (until Boris Johnson kicked him out) – a politician with hinterland. He had been places and done things before getting himself elected in his late thirties, entering parliament in 2010. Disillusion rapidly set in: Too much of our time was absorbed in gossip about the promotion of one colleague or the scandal engulfing another. Even four weeks in, I sensed more impotence, suspicion, envy, resentment, claustrophobia and schadenfreude than I had seen in any other profession. It is made clear to him from the outset that rebellion

The hitch with Hitchens

It hasn’t taken 20 years to work out that Christopher Hitchens was a dud, but this week’s collapse of Kabul obliges us to reexamine the Hitchens back catalog — because Hitchens had an outsized influence on debates about the supersised errors of post-9/11 foreign policy. The briefest of looks exposes the deficits of the neoconservative mind. An even clearer picture emerges of the hubris that led American policymakers, and the West in general, to justify the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as the spread of liberal enlightenment, rather than subjecting them to the tests of Realpolitik. Never trust a man whose favorite sport is politics. For Hitchens and the neocons who adopted

Portrait of the week: Neil Ferguson quits, Rory Stewart drops out and Boris names his baby

Home The government put its mind to the puzzle of how to get people back to work. Draft advice was for office workers to avoid sharing staplers and to face the wall in lifts. An Ipsos Mori poll found that 61 per cent of people would feel not very comfortable about using public transport. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, appeared at a daily coronavirus press conference and said: ‘We have come through the peak, or rather we have come under what could have been a vast peak, as though we have been going through some huge Alpine tunnel, and we can now see the sunlight and the pasture ahead of

Rory Stewart’s meeting that should have been an email

Rory Stewart announced at a meeting today that he won’t be holding any more meetings as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. He is also cancelling all of his door-knocking and canvassing, putting a swift end to his sofa-surfing escapade. Mr S. thinks that this meeting really should have been an email.

How can I get Trump to be rude about me?

From Rory Stewart Q. I am running for Mayor of London, and had hoped I could get people to focus on practical questions: do you feel safer than four years ago? Is your commute better? But many seem to think the role is largely ceremonial and it is not fair to blame the current mayor when things go wrong. And many are impressed that he stood up to Trump. So my question is, how can I persuade Trump to send rude tweets about me? (If he is really rude, I might win — and thus get the chance to improve the signalling on the Piccadilly line.) A. Voters are coming

Rory Stewart’s gangster fail

When Rory Stewart declared his candidacy for the London mayor, there was some concern in CCHQ that the former Conservative MP could eat into Tory candidate Shaun Bailey’s vote share. Stewart has been keen to pitch himself as an outward looking politician in touch with modern Britain. While there’s still some way to go to polling night, the initial signs suggest that Stewart’s own efforts will be no walk in the park. Stewart has found himself under criticism after he described three East London men he met back when he was campaigning to be the next leader of the Conservatives as ‘minor gangsters’. Stewart attempted to speak to the group as

An enemy of the people? Or an above-average sandwich chain? Pret A Manger reviewed

The sandwich restaurant Pret A Manger is accused of harbouring centrists. Those are words I never thought I would type, but these are mad days. A Corbyn supporter called Aaron Bastani, the author of a book called Fully Automated Luxury Communism — or, as wags call it, Luxury Space Robot Communism — has accused Rory Stewart of being unfit to be mayor of London because he likes Pret A Manger. It is, in Bastani’s mind, a sandwich-themed agent of evil, indicating a deeper evil which may or may not have something to do with wizards. I did not know that Pret A Manger’s smoked salmon sandwiches (they are quite good,

Is Rory Stewart running to become London mayor because he’s bored?

Rory Stewart’s announcement that he would run as an independent candidate for Mayor for London was typically civilised. This was no political suicide bomb. Instead Stewart waited for his erstwhile party’s conference to finish before making his move. But this trademark decency does not render his decision any less barking to his detractors. I’m on friendly terms with Stewart and had enthusiastically supported his Conservative leadership campaign which, after this abrupt defection, does leave me feeling like a bit of an arse if I’m honest. But Rory is very hard to dislike, not least because his innate decency, ability and desire to listen and respond to ordinary people is clearly authentic.

Four reasons Rory Stewart could struggle in London

Could Rory Stewart become Mayor of London, disrupt the main political parties and strike a historic blow for humane centrism and political compromise? Possibly the best reason to bet against him is that quite a lot of people like me will be arguing – and hoping – that he can win. By “people like me” I mean the commentator-class. I know what I am. I run a think-tank at Westminster and I write about politics for newspapers and magazines. I don’t belong to any political party and have voted for at least five of them in my 43 and three-quarter years. I don’t really understand tribal partisanship and I admire

Isabel Hardman

Rory Stewart stands down – but says he’s staying in politics ‘in another part of the country’

Rory Stewart has announced that he will not be re-standing as an MP at the next election and that he is also resigning his membership of the Conservative party. That Stewart is going underlines how much things have changed in the party since the leadership election. He was one of the contenders, and stayed in that contest far longer than many had expected. Having pitched to lead the party, he has now left it just months later. And he is not the first to leave: Sam Gyimah defected to the Liberal Democrats after having the Conservative whip removed, though Gyimah was never considered a serious contender in the race (in

Rory Stewart: the picture perfect politician

On Tuesday, the former Conservative MP Rory Stewart won GQ’s Politician of the Year award. It was probably the best part of the week for Stewart, who has had the Conservative whip removed and been roundly mocked after posting a series of photographs on Twitter, in which his typical grinning selfie smile disappeared when he was next to one particular individual: Thank you for coming @lozzaalaurenn and so many others to meet me at Hartlepool — Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK) August 29, 2019 It was then revealed that Rory shares the modern affliction of caring deeply about his online presence, clearly liking one image on his website so much that he named

Ex-Tory rebels threaten to stand as Conservatives in election

Rebel ex-Tory MPs are complaining of ‘unconstitutional’ treatment by their party and are planning to stand at the next election as Conservatives, I have learned. The MPs who lost the whip last night when they backed a motion to take control of the Order Paper were this morning told all their constituency data had been taken away from them, and that they must remove the Conservative logo from their websites, correspondence and so on. But despite this, a number of them want to say that they are Conservatives at the election, and are preparing for a dramatic legal battle with the party. As I reported earlier, all the rebels took

Boris Johnson is right to talk tough on crime. But can he deliver?

Remember #rorywalks? This was the hashtag created to follow the progress of Tory leadership candidate Rory Stewart as he travelled around Britain meeting people in places detached from mainstream politics. One encounter that sticks in my mind happened when he met a couple from east London, who told him that they wouldn’t start a family because their local area was too unsafe to bring a child into the world. Whether apocryphal or not, it is clear that there are parts of Britain where criminality and incivility has become normal, battering the morale of our most vulnerable citizens. The public mood is not receptive to further ‘understanding’ of people who seem to

What Rory Stewart did next

Rory Stewart’s pitch for prime minister seems strangely distant now, lost in the enveloping chaos of Boris Johnston’s shamble to glory. All is not lost, however. The divergent metrics of parliamentary and public sentiment – and the character deficits of the frontrunner, who claims to be able to square that circle – make it abundantly possible that Stewart will have another chance to shine before the year is out. So what should he be doing in the meantime? I was peripherally involved in Stewart’s leadership campaign, helping to organise some of his Northern Ireland visit, including a trip to my home county (and Britain’s true Lake District) Fermanagh. Here Stewart

The Spectator’s Notes | 20 June 2019

Boris and his team made a mistake by agreeing to take part in Tuesday’s BBC leadership debate. In such decisions, candidates must be absolutely ruthless. It does not matter whether one is accused of ‘running away’ if one does not take part. The only question is, ‘Will going on X improve the candidate’s chances with the relevant electorate?’ The relevant electorate in the Tory leadership campaign is 1. MPs and 2. party members. Nobody else matters, except inasmuch as wider opinions affect those who vote. Boris could easily have reached MPs without going on the BBC debate. He can less easily reach party members, but even then, he can find more

James Forsyth

The new PM’s Rory Stewart problem

In this contest, Rory Stewart has established himself as the new champion of the Tory left. He has become a significant figure in the party. The interests of party unity mean that any new prime minister would want to have him inside the tent rather than on the backbenches where he would be the natural leader of any rebellion. But Rory Stewart has already said that he wouldn’t serve in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet. Indeed, he seems unlikely to serve in any new Tory leader’s government. This poses a problem for the incoming PM. Stewart’s absence will make it that much harder to bring the Tory party back together. Stewart is

Will there be a ‘Stop Rory’ campaign in the third ballot?

With five candidates surviving Tuesday’s ballot, the surprise result was Rory Stewart. The wildcard entry won 37 votes – with Sajid Javid behind on 33 votes. It follows that when it comes to who is most likely to be knocked out in this afternoon’s ballot, it’s the Home Secretary who ought to be the most vulnerable. However, Stewart is not home and dry. Although the DfID Secretary has been building momentum of late, he had a challenging appearance in the BBC debate – admitting after that it wasn’t his preferred format. His Cabinet candidate rivals also turned on him at points – with both Michael Gove and Sajid Javid directly

Why the TV debates could break Rory Stewart’s momentum

With Boris Johnson having all but booked his place in the final two, the most interesting question of the Tory leadership contest right now is whether Rory Stewart can get the 33 votes he needs to get through the next round of voting. If he does, he makes it to Tuesday night’s BBC debate. At which point, Stewart would have the chance to take on Boris Johnson directly. Some, including former Downing Street staffers, think that this clash could even propel Stewart into the final two. But I think it could actually break Stewart’s momentum. Why, because a lot of Tory MPs fear too much blue-on-blue action and wouldn’t want

Ross Clark

Rory Stewart is all style and no substance

Ever since Tony Blair appeared on the scene I have found it hard to avoid watching an up-and-coming politician without trying to imagine a clerical collar around their neck. If the image sticks, I would say that person has a potential image problem in the making. Last week Rory Stewart won plaudits for his speech in his circus tent on the South Bank, which was widely seen as being a class apart from the leadership launches of his colleagues, demonstrating the ability to appeal across the political spectrum. To some, in Channel 4’s debate on Sunday, Stewart still towered over his peers – and he certainly had the distinction of being