Why are some top Tories backing Trump?

Londoner’s Diary

When will the Conservative party’s love affair with ex-President Donald Trump come to end? At a rally over the weekend, Trump told his supporters that he would encourage Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to Nato allies who don’t pay their dues. But this has not stopped yet another Tory MP from coming out all guns blazing for the former president.

Writing in The House magazine, John Hayes says that Trump “restored faith in democratic legitimacy”. He describes his fanbase as “ebullient” and his rallies as “rock-concert style”.

Hayes joins a list of prominent Conservatives who have lavished praise on Trump in recent months as his selection as the Republican party candidate seems all but assured. Boris Johnson wrote in a recent column that a “Trump presidency could be just what the world needs,” while Andrea Jenkyns thinks “we’d be a safer place if Trump came back actually, looking at the situation with Ukraine and Russia.” Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would prefer to have Trump in office because he is “better disposed towards the United Kingdom” than President Biden.

“Bring him back!” was former chair Sir Jake Berry’s rallying cry on ITV. And Liz Truss says she wants a Republican in the White House.

Other Tories, like foreign affairs committee chair Alicia Kearns, hate Trump. Which side will win out?

Right? Right? Right? Right?

The Prime Minister’s GB News question-and-answer session up in County Durham last night gave us a taste of things to come in this year’s expected general election campaign. Answering a range of questions from the public on the economy, education and even Covid vaccines, Rishi Sunak swung from stern warnings about his “not-principled” opponent Keir Starmer to his usual dorky awkwardness, at one point repeatedly praising a questioner’s velvet smoking jacket.

He also revealed a verbal tic that might become familiar to all of us in the election. When conversing with the average Joe, the PM likes to say “right” at the end of pretty much every sentence. Is this some California boardroom voodoo, intended to persuade the audience with repetitive affirmation? Or is he just a bit nervous when talking to the general public?

Sh*tshow in Rochdale

Shock, panic, anger, misery. The past few days have been a rollercoaster ride for Labourites after their party’s Rochdale by-election candidate, Azhar Ali, was found to have spouted conspiracy theories about the October 7 attacks in Israel. Labour’s campaign has now collapsed a fortnight before polling day, with Sir Keir Starmer withdrawing support for Ali after the deadline has passed for finding a new candidate. But there was a final indignity. According to veteran political reporter Michael Crick, who is up in the constituency, a waste pipe burst in Labour’s campaign office over the weekend, flooding the place with sewage. What a sh*tshow.