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Tory civil war erupts over Braverman rant

BLUE-on-blue political warfare erupted today as Tory leadership hopefuls engaged in “righter-than-thou” posturing.

The right-wing former immigration minister Robert Jenrick was derided as being on “the left of the party” by the even more extreme Suella Braverman, the former home secretary sacked after clashing with the police over the banning of pro-Palestine marches.

And the hapless Rishi Sunak was urged to expel Ms Braverman from the Tory Party after she attacked the flying of the Progress variant on the Pride flag as “monstrous.”

The race to succeed Mr Sunak, widely expected to be spending more time with his money as soon as possible, has not been formally launched, but already candidates are jostling and more.

Ms Braverman declared that the Progress flag represented the mutilation of children and should not fly over government buildings.

This brought a strong response from more moderate Tories.

Iain Dale, radio presenter and Conservative candidate, said: “What a disgusting speech. And she seriously thinks she has a chance of leading the Conservative Party.

“Not while I have a breath left in my body. Moderate Conservatives need to stand up and be counted.”

Another Conservative candidate, Casey Byrne, wrote to Sunak asking him to expel Braverman.

“This cannot be allowed to go without consequences,” he declared — though it probably will.

The feuding hopefuls have two, somewhat contradictory audiences, in mind. Firstly, they must appeal to the rump of 121 Conservative MPs who whittle the list of candidates down to two.

The MPs are judged to lean towards the political centre, which speaks in favour of former security minister Tom Tugendhat. With the electoral defeat of Penny Mordaunt, famous mainly for carrying a sword at the King’s coronation without mishap, he may lead among “one-nation” Tories.

Then the contest will shift to the Tory Party membership, a smallish group of unrepresentative reactionaries who visited first Boris Johnson and then Liz Truss upon the country. 

The defeated Jacob Rees-Mogg broke four days of relative silence to denounce suggestions that the members be disenfranchised.

That is where Ms Braverman’s support lies, but she will have to fight other rightwingers like Mr Jenrick, former business secretary Kemi Badenoch and Priti Patel, another ex-home secretary, to be their champion.

Today Ms Braverman slammed Mr Jenrick as a “centrist Rishi supporter” who had voted to remain in the European Union and was “on the left of the party.”

She demanded that the party eschew “liberal Conservatism” and reach out to supporters of the Farageist Reform UK.

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