Ken Clarke reveals what he really thinks about Tory leadership contenders

Written by David Singleton on 5 July 2016 in Diary

Watch: Tory veteran says Theresa May is ‘a bloody difficult woman’ and Andrea Leadsom has been saying ‘extremely stupid things’.

Westminster was left reeling today as two leading Tory politicians were caught on air saying what they really think.

Tory heavyweight Ken Clarke was recorded by Sky News having a conversation with fellow party grandee Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Clarke made disobliging comments about four candidates, apparently unaware that the camera was rolling...

On Theresa May:

"I think that I shall wind up voting for Theresa…. Theresa is a bloody difficult woman but you and I worked with Margaret Thatcher. She won’t be any more difficult than that! I get on all right with her, and she is good. She’s too narrow on her department. She's been at the Home Office far too long, so I only know in detail what her views are on the Home Office. She doesn't know much about foreign affairs."

On Andrea Leadsom:

"I don't think either Andrea Leadsom or Boris Johnson actually are in favour of leaving the European Union…. She is not one of the tiny band of lunatics who think we can have a sort of glorious economic future outside the single market. So long as she understands that she's not to deliver on some of the extremely stupid things she's been saying."

On Michael Gove:

"I don’t think the membership will vote for Gove. I remember being in a discussion once about something we should do in something like Syria or Iraq and he was so wild that I remember exchanging looks with Liam Fox who’s much more right-wing than me, we exchanged views and Liam was raising eyebrows. I think with Michael as Prime Minister we’d go to war with at least three countries at once."

On Stephen Crabb:

“I might give Stephen Crabb an encouraging vote first, but I don’t know what Crabb’s views are on most things. A lot of my friends, really, are great fans of his.”


For his part, Rifkind struggled to get a word in, but the former foreign secretary did make one thing clear. He told his Tory companion: "I don’t mind who wins as long as Gove comes third."





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