The Tory leadership wannabes think they’re a ‘boyband’. Yes really.

Conservative leadership candidates
Fréa Lockley

On 18 June, Conservative leadership hopefuls met for a live TV debate on the BBC. In theory, this was a chance for the UK to gain more insight into what we might expect from the next PM. But it turns out there’s more focus on what to call the country’s latest boyband. Yes, really.

Brexit, racism and sheep farming

There were some key ‘moments’ in the debate. Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Boris Johnson and Rory Stewart shouted over each other so much that host Emily Maitlis told them to “shh”:


Stewart and Johnson both discussed the all-important UK issue of sheep farming.

All five attacked Jeremy Corbyn. Frequently. Gove claimed Corbyn isn’t “interested in helping working people” and that he “indulges antisemitic hate speech”. Maitlis didn’t challenge this and smiled. Gove finished up shouting:

Jeremy Corbyn, you discredited Marxist, get back into the dustbin of history where you belong.

To deflect any charges of Islamophobia or racism, Johnson mentioned his “Muslim great-grandfather”. Hunt insisted he can’t possibly be racist because his wife’s Chinese and his children look “different”.

There was a little bit of politics. Former health secretary Hunt, for example, admitted that under his watch social care cuts “did go too far”:

Not surprisingly, there was lots of Brexit bickering and no one presented a clear plan. No change there then.

But the following morning, what they’d said, or failed to say, became far less important.

According to the Telegraph‘s Christopher Hope, the five wannabes joked off camera with Maitlis “that they were a boy band”:

No Direction

Perhaps it was the stools. Because suggestions came in thick and fast to name the band long before anyone even knew that the Eton Mess also thought they were a boyband:

And they kept on coming:

But, on Twitter at least, the favourite name seems to be No Direction:

However, there are already rumours of a split:

The following day, a report highlighted that eight million working people in the UK now live in “relative poverty” – a 40% rise since 1994. The British Medical Journal explained that a “workforce crisis” is the “biggest threat to the NHS’s existence”. And the number of people sleeping rough in London went up 18% – a record high. Against this news, finding out the Tory leadership candidates think they’re a boyband says it all really.

One of these five men will become the next prime minister. And that’s truly terrifying.

Featured image via Twitter – Julie Owen Moylan

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us