Bungling chancellor George Osborne once looked like a shoe-in to succeed David Cameron. Now he has backed down from threatening another austerity budget because of the Leave vote.
Along the way he has all but scuppered his chances of becoming Tory leader.
Meanwhile, friends of Cameron accused Boris Johnson and Michael Gove of leading a “mendacious” campaign and “corroding” trust in politics.
Gove has endorsed Johnson’s bid to be prime minister, setting up a “nightmare team” bid to replace Cameron.
Theresa May is likely to get the backing of some Cameron loyalists.
A member of Cameron’s circle said, “There is a special place in hell reserved for Boris.
“He and Gove have basically engineered a right wing coup. We need to get behind Theresa. She’s the grown-up.”
Other Tories have emerged, including Jeremy Hunt, Nicky Morgan, Stephen Crabb and even the arms makers’ friend Liam Fox.
After MPs nominate colleagues for the top job a ballot is held. It is run by the chairman of the 1922 Committee—and only they can vote in the early stages.
MPs whittle down candidates to a final two in a series of votes before the parliamentary recess on 21 July. The final decision is made by party members before 2 September.
The party’s conference in Birmingham in October will be the first major event for the new leader. It will be a great opportunity to demonstrate on Sunday 2 October.
Gove’s pals have got serious beef
The way Michael Gove prepared for the vote is an insight into ruling class cliques and their world view.
Gove spent Thursday evening hosting a dinner with his wife, the newspaper columnist Sarah Vine.
Guests included one of his special advisers, Henry Newman, Cameron’s former aide Steve Hilton, and Kirstie Allsopp, the television presenter.
Apparently they dined on “an amazing piece of beef” that was smoked and thinly sliced by another guest, the chef Henry Dimbleby.
His father David was hosting the BBC’s referendum coverage.
They enjoyed a “jeroboam of good red wine”. Gove then slept through the results.
Outrage at Farage and Duncan Smith's lies on NHS
Nigel Farage triggered outrage after admitting Leave’s promise to spend £350 million a week extra on the NHS was a “mistake”. He stood by the racist posters used in the campaign though.
Right wing Leave campaigners such as Iain Duncan Smith also joined in to deny that they had promised the cash for the NHS.
“We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead” had been prominent on buses and posters.