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‘Bollocks to Bercow,’ ‘I’m going to say lion’: Tory candidates for PM bring eccentricity to the race

‘Bollocks to Bercow,’ ‘I’m going to say lion’: Tory candidates for PM bring eccentricity to the race
Tory leadership candidates hoping to become the next PM have brought a whole new world of weirdness to the contest, as Andrea Leadsom held up an offensive poster and Mark Harper claimed a lion would beat a bear in a fight.

It was the turn of three more contenders for Theresa May’s crown on Tuesday. Former Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom and relative unknowns, Mark Harper and Rory Stewart stated their claims to become the next Tory leader and de facto prime minister.

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Leadsom pitched her credentials for the top job in front of invited guests and media in the morning, but it will no doubt be her address to the press at lunch which will be remembered most.

She cheekily reignited her long running feud with Speaker of the House John Bercow by holding aloft a “Bollocks to Bercow” sign to the amusement of journalists.

Leadsom, ostensibly enjoying not having to adhere to ‘collective responsibility’ anymore, after quitting the Cabinet over Brexit, also took a swipe at her old boss. She claimed that May’s driverless cars regulation “would have been useful over the past 3 years.”

Harper, who has assumed a series of junior ministerial roles within government, is a big outsider for the top job. With this in mind perhaps, he decided to take a ‘think outside the box’ approach to his campaign launch.

He issued a press release saying his speech wasn’t “going to be that scripted” and challenged journalists to “ask him anything.”

It so turns out that his script was, well, pretty scripted, as Matt Chorley, a columnist for the Times highlighted on Twitter and journalists took the idea of having free reign on questions to the extreme.

The Mirror's Oliver Milne focused on the contentious subject of animals fighting each other to the death, asking Harper “Who would win in a fight, a lion or a bear?” Harper quickly fired back “Lion or a bear? Okay on the basis that the lion is the symbol of Britain, I'm going to say lion. That's my final answer.”

Milne’s colleague at the Mirror, Pippa Crerar revealed the array of outlandish questions fellow journalists were coming up with before Harper’s campaign launch event.

This now leaves Home Secretary Sajid Javid and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the clear favourite to replace May, to officially launch their respective campaigns. A new UK prime minister is set to take office on July 22.

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