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Some of the runners and riders in the Tory Donkey Derby managed some interesting quotes following yesterday’s elimination of the three lowest-placed candidates. 

Rory Stewart, who scraped into seventh place with 19 votes, was pleased with that number, because prior to the voting he only had six declared supporters.  Hold on a moment there – to get onto the ballot at all, he needed a proposer, a seconder and six supporters; if we assume that he voted for himself (although in a rational world there would surely have been at least one of the candidates who pondered the wisdom of doing that), he should have expected a minimum of nine.  Mathematics therefore suggests that he was expecting at least three of those who signed his nomination papers to then vote against him.  It’s a strange world.  And with supporters like David Gauke claiming that Stewart’s seventh place with 19 makes him the main challenger to Boris Johnson on 114, it may yet get stranger.

Matt Hancock (who may or may not still be a candidateby now) said that it was “terrific to have more votes from colleagues than I could have hoped for” after receiving a total of 20.  Bearing in mind that he needed a minimum of 17 under the rules to survive the first round, how many did he actually hope to get?  Perhaps deep down, he was really hoping to get less than 17 and thus be eliminated.  That would, of course, make him the most rational of all the candidates – and therefore the most deserving of removal from the list.  Rationality is the last thing that his party is looking for at present.