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THREAD: Tory leadership contest

The key dividing line in the Tory leadership contest won't be Leave vs. Remain but deal vs. no-deal.

So we can safely rule out anyone who supported Remain including those that have swung behind no-deal. Say goodbye to Hunt, Javid, Stewart.

There's been lots of speculation that Rudd will back Boris.

But she won't.

The surprise formulation will be a joint Hancock-Rudd ticket, arguing for a generational shift.

They won't succeed. But they will swing behind a pro-deal candidate.

The most credible pro-deal candidate is Gove. No one can question his Brexit credentials as he led the Leave campaign.

It's pointless for him to take a no-deal position as it is crowded territory...& most Tory MPs aren't there.

So Gove stands as the reasonable Brexiter.

So it seems there is a good chance that Hancock and Rudd get behind Gove. Hancock as Chancellor, Rudd as Deputy PM.

It becomes a 'unity' pitch that the 'One Nation' group will likely swing behind. They may not love Gove, but he's better than any no-dealer.

Meanwhile, the no-dealers slug it out between Leadsom, Mordaunt, Truss, Rabb, McVey and, of course, Johnson.

It's unclear who emerges, but it's probably between Mordaunt and Johnson.

The latter has both more support and far more opposition.

So the final contest is Johnson or Mordaunt versus Gove (backed by Hancock & Rudd).

If it's Johnson, he probably wins the membership poll. But if its any other no-dealer, they could well lose to Gove.

Gove will also promise that if necessary he would leave without a deal

Obviously, this highly speculative...but *before* the referendum in 2016, I said that Johnson and Gove would be finished and that the smart money was on Theresa May to be the next PM....

And tonight, my tip is @michaelgove

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