FOR someone few had heard of until he began putting himself forward as Mrs May’s mouthpiece in the run-up to her reluctant resignation, as he prepared for his entry into the Tory leadership race, Rory Stewart has managed to attract an inordinate amount of attention.
He certainly can’t be criticised for lack of chutzpah, but the planning of this (so far) successful personal promotion and defence of the discredited Withdrawal Agreement may yet prove to be his finest hour.
We have already given him a fair drubbing on these pages. A few months back Ruth Lea told him in plain terms that he was wrong regarding his intransigent negativity about the consequences of No Deal.
She wrote that while ‘Mr Stewart may believe that the “majority of economic opinion” has dismissed the notion that we could be more prosperous in a No Deal Brexit’, their analyses should be treated with utmost caution because, on the other side of the coin, there are convincing reasons to be optimistic. She went on to detail ‘well-researched analyses which have quantified these benefits of which Mr Stewart has been unfairly dismissive’, for example, a comprehensive and succinct article on the benefits of No Deal by Briefings for Brexit’s Graham Gudgin. Dr Gudgin estimated the benefits at around £80billion a year based on research by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. It had concluded that reducing trade and investment barriers with the rest of the world by 5 per cent could raise UK welfare by £25-30billion a year, even with increased restrictions on trade and investment with the EU.
Over the last week he has failed to impress either Bruce Newsome, who labelled him ‘the fakest of fake conservatives’, or Gary Oliver, who designated him ‘Rory, the Tory Greta Thunberg’, to which you might think there was nothing left to add.
But as long as Rory keeps pressing his attentions on us he’ll find that people will keep checking his past against his present protestations. An interview he gave to the New Yorker in 2010, when he became an MP, makes interesting reading and provides some fascinating insights into the ‘mind’ or perhaps hubris of the self-conscious, self-aware and self-opinionated Mr Stewart. You can read it here.