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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Ethan Croft

MP who called her child 'Brexit' and accidentally joined the Moonies challenges Rishi Sunak

Londoner's Diary

Dame Andrea Jenkyns MP has tried to fire the starting gun on a Tory leadership challenge. Following the Prime Minister’s reshuffle, she submitted a letter of no confidence in Rishi Sunak. It was a grammatically uneven missive, but the message was clear enough: Right-wingers like her are unhappy.

Dame Andrea has an interesting record. In her brief stint as education minister under Boris Johnson, she flicked two fingers at protesters outside Downing Street. On another occasion she revealed a cute nickname for her son: “Brexit Clifford”. And — here’s our favourite bit of Jenkyns trivia — she once accidentally joined the Moonies, the Korean church accused of being a “cult”. Dame Andrea agreed to sing for the group, unaware of their identity, and received a certificate inducting her as a member.

Another 52 MPs would need to submit similar letters to trigger a vote on Rishi Sunak’s future as PM. Is Dame Andrea’s letter the first drop in a coming deluge? Maybe not.

Transfer deadline?

New government ministers or Premier League signings? Scrolling the Conservative party’s X feed yesterday, you would have wondered. “Vicky Atkins to health, here we go,” is how the Tories’ social media officer announced the new Health Secretary. Esther McVey “signed for Cabinet” in her new role. Of new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott, the party tweeted “AGREEMENT REACHED”, while the return of Lord Cameron was greeted with the phrase “he’s back” and a fire emoji. Elsewhere, James Cleverly’s sideways shuffle from the Foreign Office to the Home Office was branded a “huge move.” It seems the hyperactive Gen-Z style social media strategy of Rishi Sunak’s team has metastisised into Conservative Campaign Headquarters.

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