The Tory leadership election

Sir, – Boris Johnson is on record as having said that he got a weird sense of power from “chucking rocks over the garden wall from Brussels and listening to the amazing crash of the glasshouses” in Tory England.

Those rocks included fictitious stories, half-truths or total misrepresentations of EU legislative proposals.

They were the precursors for the biggest lie of all: the one on a big red bus.

Boris Johnson probably did more than anyone to create the internecine warfare in the Tory party that has gone on since and worsens by the day. Although they fail to see it, he is in a way the early creator of today’s incoherent mess of a Tory party, a party that seems to be the physical manifestation of his lazy, messed-up, fact-free, detail-lite mind.


So he completely deserves the leadership of the modern party he so disastrously influenced, and it comes as no surprise that those Tory voters he created in his image will vote for him, and they in turn deserve him back.

Whether the party survives him is another matter. – Yours, etc,


Antibes, France.

Sir, – Michael Gove was wise to admit that he “took drugs . . . at social events more than 20 years ago”.

Crucially, a public confession has got him out in front of an embarrassing story and is likely to prevent the revelation doing fatal damage to his chances of becoming British prime minister.

Mr Gove intentionally projects a clown-like image. David Cameron saw him as a “court jester”. His Conservative leadership rival Boris Johnson uses a similar endearing personal buffoonery to his advantage. But unlike the ex-foreign secretary, the environment secretary is smarter than he looks.

The strategically intelligent timing of Mr Gove’s candid drug-use admission confirms him as the possible future Tory leader that the Labour party and Remainers should most fear. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 7.

Sir, – Fair dues to Michael Gove for making cocaine use uncool. He has done society a great service. – Yours, etc,