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    Here's The Latest In The Absolute Clown Show That Is The Tory Leadership Contest

    A story about how anyone can run for prime minister and come relatively close if they put their mind to it.

    Greetings to the rest of the world from the UK: Here is the latest in the slow, almost inevitable process by which our ruling party decides this man should lead our country, even though half of them don't agree with him on his strategy, and the rest have no faith in his ability to implement it.

    First, the fallen. It is our solemn duty to announce that we have lost Esther McVey in the leadership race.

    It is also our duty to commit to history the tribulations she faced during her brief but captivating campaign.

    By which we mean: the Great Lorraine Kelly Fiasco.

    It all started three days ago with this incredibly awkward exchange in which breakfast-TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, alongside whom it is a matter of public record that McVey once worked, apparently pretended to have little idea of who she was.

    this longer version of that Lorraine Kelly/Esther McVey clip might be the most brutal thing I've ever witnessed

    The nation was gripped. What on earth could be the backstory? Within hours, McVey returned fire.

    🔥 Esther McVey tells me she and Lorraine Kelly used to share a dressing room and Lorraine used to be on TV with Eamon Holmes... until Esther was promoted! 🔥

    We thought that would be the end of it. It was not. In fact, things really ramped up: Kelly pointed out she'd had her own show since 1992, and went on to take a pop at McVey over LGBT rights.

    In a rare but real moment of anger, Lorraine reveals she is ‘sick to the back teeth of the whole toxic political atmosphere’ and ‘strongly disagrees’ with McVey’s stance on LGBT rights

    Day three of the only political crisis that really mattered this week, and former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips waded in. Suddenly McVey wasn't just at war with Kelly, and she returned fire: Sources close to McVey claimed she was at war with a left-wing "cabal" within GMTV, all apparently working to undermine her. This actually happened.

    the GMTV esther mcvey pile on is truly a thing of beauty

    Could this have been what brought her down? Perhaps not. We also need to talk about foreign aid. McVey claimed foreign aid had been misspent, citing an airport on "one of the continents". Now, there was a lot wrong with this. So much, in fact, it's hard to know where to start.

    Esther McVey told LBC that foreign aid has been mis-spent, including on an airport where the runway was built in the wrong direction facing the wind. Iain Dale: "Where has that happened?" McVey: "It's in... one of the continents... abroad." @iaindale | #ForeignAid

    The airport in question was St Helena Airport. Do you know where it is? Quick quiz below. Clue: Despite her giving the vaguest possible definition of its location besides "on Earth", it's not actually *on* a continent as such.

    And then there was her claim it was built the wrong way round. Well, as the debunking website Full Fact has pointed out — this isn't entirely clear.

    @LBC @IainDale .@EstherMcVey1 means Saint Helena, which is a British Overseas Territory (so not a recipient of foreign aid), where the runway wasn’t built in the wrong direction, but where wind shear can be an issue. So there’s literally not one word of what she says in this clip that’s true.

    Reader, it's a British Overseas Territory: While McVey was technically correct in calling it foreign aid, the UK has a legal obligation to provide the cash. What is also clear is that flights have been runningthere just fine since 2017. In summary, McVey's claim was so incredibly, wildly inaccurate that even the Tory minister responsible was forced to take to Twitter to describe it as "total rubbish".

    Total rubbish. The runway in question is in St Helena. I was the DFID Minister who built it - completed early, under budget, and despite difficult wind conditions it operates well. It fulfils our legal obligations to a UK overseas territory and so is not "foreign aid".

    So that all went well.

    And on top of everything, it also came out that she spent nearly £9,000 on a personal photographer, which was a pretty wild revelation, given that her campaign focused on championing "working people".

    So in the end, McVey got the lowest number of votes, a victim of an insidious hard-left plot fomented within the dark corridors of breakfast television. Possibly.

    Esther McVey got the lowest number of votes in the Tory leadership ballot.

    We should take a moment to bid farewell to the other knocked-out candidates. Andrea Leadsom didn't so much "campaign" as "admit smoking weed and open up another front in her interminable fight with John Bercow", which oddly enough didn't win her much support.

    Andrea Leadsom's message at the #PressGalleryLunch

    A man called Mark Harper also ran. Apparently you could ask him anything. Presumably you still can.

    Who are you? #AskMeAnything

    Where does this leave us? Well, it leaves Boris Johnson a country mile in the lead; Jeremy Hunt, the man who forgets things like his wife's nationality and the fact that he broke money-laundering laws, a distant second; Michael Gove, of marching-powder fame, in third; Dominic "the Dictator" Raab in fourth; Sajid "Did I tell you my dad was a bus driver?" Javid in fifth place; and, behind him, Matt "the Shadow" Hancock.

    When you don't have enough XP to unlock Hancock

    Reincarnated Lake Poet Rory Stewart is in last place. At the time of writing, he is threatening what appears to be civil war. What did Britain do in a past life?

    Rory Stewart says if Boris prorogues that he (Rory) will sit across the road in Methodist Hall and hold an alternative parliament