Now moving up in the CON leader betting the man who was tipped in 2009 to become PM even before he became an MP

Now moving up in the CON leader betting the man who was tipped in 2009 to become PM even before he became an MP

Telegraph 2009

How he was viewed when he became the Penrith PPC?

A recent big mover in the next CON leader betting is Rory Stewart who last week got into the cabinet following the sacking of Gavin Williamson. Over the weekend he announced that he would seek the leadership when TMay finally steps aside and he’s moved to the fifth favourite slot.

By any standard he’s got an extraordinary CV doing much more than going to Eton followed by Oxford which seems to be the standard background for so many. This, written in 2009 just after he got selected from Anna van Praagh in the Sunday Telegraph in 2009, was a typical profile from ten years ago.

Britain doesn’t make men like Rory Stewart any more. The former diplomat has trekked 6,000 miles across Asia; at 28, wrote a best-selling book, The Places in Between, about the walk; was governor of a province in Iraq at 29; and last year, as well as becoming a Harvard professor, was hailed by Esquire magazine as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. Brad Pitt has already bought the rights to his biopic. And he’s only 36…..

…. his impressive CV might strike fear into Cameron, whose own contains a comparatively drab seven years in the communications office at Carlton TV. But Stewart, who regrets asking a journalist earlier this year whether she thought he should become prime minister (I was making a joke), refuses to be drawn. It would be unbelievably cheeky of me to presume to rise too quickly.

At the time that last bit worried me. We don’t like politicians who appear arrogant or who make presumptions and that Stewart comment was not wise. Well he’s served his time with his head down and now its ten years later

Such was the buzz then that several bookies placed him on their next PM betting list at quite tight odds. Most of this got forgotten about over the following few years and I bet on him last year at 100/1 to succeed TMay. Since then he’s had a higher media profile and has been one of the key ministers put forward to do difficult interviews during the meaningful vote sagas. His cabinet appointment was not a surprise.

Now he is the 6% fifth favourite to become next CON leader. I don’t know how popular he is amongst Tory MPs but you could see him making the cut in the ballot to decide the two names to be put to the members.

His pitch that he could bring the party and country together that might just resonate at the end of the TMay era. My 100/1 punt might just end up a winner.

Mike Smithson


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