Tom tugendhat

Tugendhat takes another pop at Boris

It’s a curious mix that are backing Liz Truss. Most of the Boris diehards like Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg backed her early on in their quest to deny Rishi Sunak the premiership. But since she became the frontrunner, a number of new-found friends have declared their support too: including those who found little favour under Boris Johnson. Chief among them is Tom ‘Talleyrand’ Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, in which capacity he’s repeatedly criticised his own government’s strategy. And today Tugendhat is at it again, taking to Times Red Box – the preferred pulpit of the frustrated backbencher – to make the case for Truss and,

Tom Tugendhat endorses Liz Truss

Yesterday it was Ben Wallace who backed Liz Truss: tonight it’s Tom Tugendhat. All the big-name endorsements are coming out and at the moment there’s only one candidate they’re supporting. In a piece for the Times, Tugendhat praised Truss’s economic policies, writing that her plans to cut taxes were ‘founded on true Conservative principles.’ The endorsement is notable for two reasons. First, Tugendhat was himself a candidate and has a good standing among the ‘One Nation’ caucus of moderate Tory MPs and supporters. And secondly, Tugendhat and Truss have history together so it’s a sign of just how much momentum is behind the Foreign Secretary that he has (belatedly) chosen

Tom Tugendhat gets roasted

The One Nation brigade were out in force last night and Tom Tugendhat was the talk of the town. He may not have not made it into the final two but the former leadership contender received a hero’s welcome at summer receptions for both the Tory Reform Group and Conservatives in Communications. Flanked by a phalanx of fans, Tugendhat was all smiles at the latter event, telling Mr S about the ‘huge’ after party his team threw following his defeat on Monday: ‘it went on until 4 a.m.’ But it was another Tory politician who stole the show at Tugendhat’s event, delivering a witty, self-deprecating speech that made some (well-received)

The Conservative party has ceased to be serious

I’m not sure that the Conservative party wants to win elections. Tom Tugendhat was knocked out of the leadership contest on Monday, and Liz Truss is now the bookies’ favourite to be the next Prime Minister. Any party that thinks the latter beats the former cannot say it is serious. There are several reasons for Conservatives to ignore me on this topic. First, I’m not a Conservative. Second, Tugendhat and I are friends. Third, I take a view of party politics that seems to be utterly out of fashion these days. That view is that politics works better when parties try to win the other side’s votes. When Conservatives pursue

The latest Tory leadership debate was a grim spectacle

The eyes had it, in last night’s leadership debate. Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak took turns directing to the camera a puppy-eyed gaze. Tom Tugendhat blinked manfully, as if overcome from time to time with a sense of his humble desire to serve. Kemi Badenoch blinked, too – but more in the way of someone regretting the decision to switch her specs out for contact lenses. And if Liz Truss – an apprentice of Mrs Thatcher’s gimlet-eyed stare – blinked at all, I confess I didn’t notice it. I was distracted by the fact that she seemed to have four eyebrows rather than the usual human ration of two. I

The verdict: the second Tory leadership debate

‘If you’re still watching this debate, well done,’ said Mordaunt, bizarrely, in her closing statement. ‘I wish tonight had been less about us and more about you.’ She obviously scripted that comment before she had any idea how the evening was going to pan out and her own contributions were certainly forgettable. But the others made for an interesting night. Tom Tugendhat quite rightly said the whole evening’s discussion – tax, defence etc. – was about the country. ‘We need to restore confidence in our government and in ourselves,’ he said. I’m not sure Britain needs its self-confidence restored: it’s the Tories who are having a collective breakdown. Rishi Sunak

Tories parade their military attire

As the reputation of Westminster sinks ever lower and our elected masters seem able to do even less, candidates for political office seek outside areas by which they can bolster their credentials. Once it might have been the Church: now it’s often business. But one evergreen way of commanding instant respect in Tory circles is a connection, however tenuous, with the Armed Forces. Unsurprisingly therefore, those leadership candidates with such a connection have been doing their upmost to mention their service at every available opportunity. Take Tom Tugendhat, the man who’s quipped that his ‘biggest weakness’ is ‘talking about the army too much.’ He proudly sported the tie of his

How far will Tugendhat go?

There were three leadership launches in Westminster this morning. Rishi Sunak, the frontrunner, spoke at the QEII Centre; Kemi Badenoch, the rising star, pitched to Policy Exchange. But what of Tom Tugendhat, the longtime backbencher, kicking off his campaign at the BBC’s Westminster studios? How best to describe his place in the Tory leadership race? The former army officer’s appearance this morning epitomised his strengths and weaknesses within a crowded field. His speech was prepared and heavy on policy: his pitch stressed integrity and the need to win public trust. Having won the backing of Jake Berry, the Northern Research Group chairman, Tugendhat detailed his support for the ‘levelling up’

The case for Tom Tugendhat

When the editor of The Spectator asked me to write about Tom Tugendhat, I initially declined, explaining that doing so would put me in a slightly difficult position. Tom and I have been friends for 20-something years since we met as young journalists via the Scotsman and then Bloomberg’s City of London newsroom. So I can’t claim much objectivity here. Nor can I position myself as an insider-savant of the Tory leadership race. I’m not a Conservative, though I have spent a lot of my professional life talking to and writing about Conservatives. I first started writing about the Tories when William Hague was leader; the first leadership contest I covered

Tom Tugendhat’s leadership lunching

Roll up, roll up: the leadership game is afoot. Every Tory with a smidgen of ambition is out on manoeuvres, flashing their ankles like a Victorian courtesan. All the aspirant ‘big beasts’ are getting in on the act: Jeremy Hunt is doing interviews, Liz Truss is hosting drinks at 5 Hertford Street while Penny Mordaunt is getting glowing profiles too. Most privately expect to lose to the heir apparent, saintly Rishi Sunak, but hope in so doing that they grab a decent Cabinet post as a consolation prize. But if the sinking SS Boris takes down all its crew, there is a chance that fearful Tories could turn to someone untainted by the ancien régime. Someone decent,

Tom Tugendhat’s speech was a masterclass in oratory

An ounce of emotion, it has been said, is worth a ton of fact. Tom Tugendhat’s remarkable speech to the Commons today was delivered with a current of emotion – pathos, as scholars of oratory call it – that was all the more electric for its restraint. His jaw clenched and trembled; his voice, now and again, seemed on the verge of faltering. As he said in his opening words: ‘Like many veterans, this last week has been one that has seen me struggle through anger, and grief, and rage. The feeling of abandonment of not just a country but the sacrifice that my friends made. I’ve been to funerals

Isabel Hardman

Tom Tugendhat has shown what the government lacks

Tom Tugendhat has just delivered what should be the defining speech of this recall of parliament. The Conservative chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee spoke in pin-drop silence about his own emotional response to the events in Afghanistan, about what he saw as the failure of world leaders, particularly President Biden, and about what must be done to help those desperate people who are trying to leave the country. He spoke from his own experience as someone who served both as a soldier and a civilian in Afghanistan. He said the events of the past week had ‘torn open some of those wounds, left them raw and left us all

MPs question Johnson’s plan for Global Britain

Boris Johnson still has a journalist’s ear for snappy phrases — levelling up, an oven-ready Brexit, Global Britain. The PM attempted to flesh out one of those headlines on Tuesday with his integrated review — so called because it ties together foreign and defence policy alongside trade and international aid.  The 100-page document — designed to set the course for ‘Global Britain’ over the next ten years — identifies Russia and China as the UK’s two biggest international challenges. The former is described as an ‘active threat’, a dangerous rogue state, while the East Asian country is seen instead as a ‘systemic challenge’. The position is clear: China is the

Will the Beirut blast change Britain’s foreign policy?

What should the British government do to help Lebanon recover from the Beirut explosion? Ministers say they are working to provide the Lebanese government with technical support and financial assistance, but they are coming under pressure from senior Conservative colleagues to use the disaster as a turning point in the way Britain approaches the Middle East generally. Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Defence Select Committee, and Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, have both called for Britain to take a more active role in the region, or risk seeing hostile states such as Iran and terrorist groups filling a ‘vacuum’. These two MPs have been instrumental in pushing