Drama documentary telling the story of the Conservative Party's 2016 leadership campaign - how Boris Johnson, in pole position to be the next PM, handed victory to Theresa May.
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This programme contains strong language.
What's your message to Michael Gove?
Did you betray Boris, Mr Gove?
MUSIC: The Man Comes Around by Jonny Cash
# There's a man going round taking names
# And he decides who to free and who to blame... #
Well, from what I can remember, anyway.
Let's just remember who the contenders actually were.
INTERVIEWER: So we've got Theresa May...
# When the man comes around
# The hairs on your arm will stand up... #
Yeah, yeah - I'm starting to feel his...
# At the terror in each sip and in each sup
# Will you partake of that last offered cup?
# Or disappear into the potter's ground? #
How... How do you know this actually happened as it did?
Have you got some of Boris's team speaking to you?
..completely protected. I just worry that...
I don't think Andrew was at that party, no.
-You'd have to check that.
-You're a disgrace, Johnson!
And the strange thing is, the dafter it sounds,
-the more true to Boris it actually is.
# Voices callin', voices cryin'
# Some are born and some are dyin'
# It's alpha and omega's kingdom come. #
The total number of votes cast in favour of Leave was...
The result will come as a hammer blow to Mr Cameron.
Can he stay in office with his authority drained by a defeat?
And with Britain voting to leave the EU,
all eyes this morning are on Number 10 Downing Street.
What's the news from behind you?
Well, the street is absolutely packed.
I think I can show you the pictures of not just of course
the British press, but of course many, many members
of the international press filling up Downing Street,
the Prime Minister's official residence,
this morning. Huge anticipation here.
The big question mark is whether or not he will address
the matter of his own departure.
Now, senior Tories I've been talking to do not think this is the moment
for David Cameron suddenly to say he's up and off,
but that doesn't mean there aren't conversations going on about this.
That doesn't mean he's about to come out of the door
and resign, not at all.
Am I doing the right thing?
Good morning, everyone.
The British people have made a very clear decision to take
a different path, and as such I think the country
requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.
I will do everything I can as Prime Minister
to steady the ship over the coming...
This, I think, had a dimension to it which is unparalleled,
and that is that we have just campaigned,
we have divided the family, the family has been
at each other's throats, really, through the campaign.
The Remainers and Leavers
in the Conservative family, we've split apart,
and it's such a big issue that,
you know, the tensions and the animosities
were very great indeed through it.
Hello. We are live outside Boris Johnson's house...
I remember while he was upstairs,
I was having a shave in the downstairs loo
opposite the front door,
and Ben Gascoigne, one of his aides, had looked through the keyhole
and he looked back at me and he said, "Oh, my God,
"it's Kay Burley of Sky News,
"and she appears to be broadcasting live."
Could he be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom?
Certainly, could he mount a leadership challenge?
Now, I've got my earpiece in...
And I remember at that moment, I kind of...
How big this was sort of dawned on us.
-Go on, Boris!
I think it did come as a shock
that the Prime Minister was standing down,
and I think from that point on, everything changed.
The speech, I think we realised,
became potentially the speech of the next potential Prime Minister.
I believe we now have a glorious opportunity.
We can pass our laws, and set...
So, who are you going to vote for?
Haven't thought about it.
You know Boris is going to win.
Gavin, you're a bit fucked now.
-Who are you going to vote for?
-I've heard it has to be Theresa.
I wouldn't go for Theresa.
Word is her campaign's going to be completely shambolic.
-Well, she hasn't exactly
been drumming up support in the tearooms.
She's going to have a hell of a time mobilising a campaign.
Thanks for the advice, Jackie.
It's Gavin. Look, if there's anything I can do to help,
just let me know.
And for fuck's sake, get her to stand.
Nobody has been as plugged in at the centre or knows the party
quite as well as Gavin because for the last couple of years,
he has been intimately involved in dealing with
every single person in the House of Commons.
So for us, as a brand-new, nascent campaign
with absolutely no flag run up the pole at all,
we've been approached by possibly
the most influential person who could help us out.
So, we decided it would be left to a certain individual,
who will remain nameless,
to put together a meeting place for us that would be jolly secret
and miles from anywhere and completely safe.
Is this your idea of a top-secret meeting place?
Not very discreet, is it?
-We were wondering...
..erm, if it's a good time to, you know...
..isn't it make up your mind time, Theresa?
Is it really?
I thought there was three years still to go.
It's just, others have already started their campaigns.
You mean Boris?
And George. He's been inviting people to Number 11.
Mm, I'd heard he was using Number 11.
What are you having?
Look, we need to test the waters.
Every single time we started trying to talk and Theresa tried to
say something, somebody - our waitress - would lean in.
-Look, I appreciate...
..your support, and I understand the risks you're running, but...
I have to say, that was perhaps not our finest hour.
There are a lot of people we know who want a grown-up
as leader of the party, not a comedian or a gambler.
And that is you, Theresa.
-I am aware...
-Oh, she knows. She knows.
Oh, good, well, just give us the signal, boss.
But as I've always said...
..not until there's a vacancy.
Not until there's a vacancy.
She was quite clear that she was not going to prepare
for a leadership contest.
We were not going out trying to persuade people
to vote for Theresa May, the forthcoming candidate for election,
because there wasn't an election,
and that would've been completely dissonant - it's not who she is,
and she told us that's not what she wanted to do.
OK, so let's NOT prepare for government.
We started to have conversations about how the "selectorate" -
ie the Members of Parliament - could get to know Boris,
cos of course he hadn't been in Parliament for a very long time.
So we had a series of curry nights to garner support for Boris.
Everyone who went I think enjoyed the opportunity to see kind of...
It was like Boris unplugged. So you went to his home,
where he lives with his family,
and it really gave colleagues the opportunity to understand
what he was about, what sort of Prime Minister he would make.
So, how many coming tonight for the old Boris treatment?
Half a dozen at least.
Poor Marina. No-one turns down a social with Boris.
Is that the latest report?
-Has Boris seen it?
-Yeah, he commissioned it.
-It's early days, but if Boris stands in 2020,
Our future PM.
And you're looking at your new Chief Whip.
Just hope I stay the course.
Let's hope George doesn't snatch it from us at the last minute.
Good job we all like curries.
Oh, here we go.
Do your thing.
Come in, come in!
Hello! Nice to see you.
The members of the House are here!
Did you find it easily enough?
A bit off the beaten track.
I've always wondered where he lived.
-Thanks for the invite.
-Not at all.
Boris has always wanted to catch up with you.
It's important you 2015ers stick together.
Hello! You have to come and try this.
-Do you like curry?
Oh, right, OK...
-They love him.
Prepare for government.
In this process,
which is a very democratic process
of a Conservative leadership election,
all of my colleagues - whether they be the party leader,
whether they be candidate ministers
or the newest backbench colleagues -
each of us has one vote.
Nobody else in the world matters
than the 331 Conservative MPs that there were,
because it's their votes over the next few days
that are going to count.
The 111 is a slightly arcane and strange figure that just
looks like it's plucked out of nowhere, but it's not.
It's the number you would need to guarantee you were going to
get into the second round of the contest.
And all of a sudden, whatever the thoughts of 331 Conservative MPs
in the Westminster bubble,
they are just 331 out of several hundred thousand
members of the Conservative Party
who have that final say and have a vote in the leadership.
RADIO: The question of course now is who will step into
what is really a leadership vacuum in the immediate aftermath
of the referendum. Well, I can tell you that
the Home Secretary, Theresa May,
is canvassing opinion among Conservative MPs,
and in the coming days
she is likely to announce that she will run...
So, we need to decide what we're going to do with Gavin.
Well, he's a Cameroon, for a start.
I say that's exactly why we need him.
Hm. But do we need to be associated with the losing side?
We've worked bloody hard keeping our powder dry -
why risk wetting it now?
I say he's tapped in, right at the very heart of it.
Yes, but between us we have the same resources and we've got half
the bloody whips working for us.
-It's your call, boss.
I think you've convinced me that we need him.
Well, we don't want someone like him working against us.
PHONE LINE RINGS
The reason it was so useful to have Gavin on board is not just that
connection with the centre of the party. I guess it was twofold.
First of all, you don't want that on the other side of the argument.
I mean, you don't want that being done for somebody else.
It's fantastic to have him there doing that.
Even though there was a lot of capability in the room,
you certainly don't want that happening elsewhere.
Just calling to find out if you were serious.
I was. Still am.
Jesus, I'd love to!
I was actually really surprised that
he would go so quickly from being
David Cameron's PPS to backing a leadership candidate.
I'll promise you one thing - I'll get you on the bloody ballot.
I'll need to make office, though.
All right, then I have a condition.
When we win this thing, and we bloody well will,
I need someone gone.
Oh, I see.
I won't work with him.
He'll be here in an hour.
Well, as we were saying, it'll be great to have Gavin on board.
The signal to the rest of the parliamentary party that Gavin,
who would be very highly respected
by a lot of people... Respected might not be the word
some people would use, either - fear perhaps, slightly, or...
Everyone knew who Gavin Williamson was and everyone knows who he is,
and he's a powerful character.
To have him say, "Yes,
"Theresa May is the person I think ought to be the new Prime Minister,"
would...that's extremely valuable.
I think it was a shock to all of us and we thought, right, you know,
we're going to have a real fight on here.
WOMAN: Boris Johnson met allies at his home today.
It's thought he'll say he'll stand within days.
Well, Boris asked his team to meet him at his home in Oxfordshire.
Prior to that, he called me to say
that he'd been speaking with Michael Gove and asked me what I thought
if Michael was to come on board.
And clearly, as someone who was a potential runner at that time,
I was supportive. I said, "Yeah, let's meet him."
So we were told that Michael would be joining us on the day.
He said, interestingly enough,
that Michael Gove's price for this was that Boris promised that if
he became Prime Minister, he would make Michael Gove
the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
-A couple of photographers and a TV van at the end of the road.
I'm going to go out and see if I can reason with them.
'I was pretty shocked when I arrived
'that there was a camera crew outside.
'Everything we had done up until that point'
had never, ever leaked.
There's no respite from these people.
I thought we'd be safe here today.
I... Can't we just tell them to get lost?
No, it's a public road,
and even if it wasn't, it wouldn't make any difference.
Right, if you go for a little walk with the photographers and answer
a couple of questions, they'll fuck off for the rest of the day.
It's a good idea.
And be quick - before Gove turns up.
Christ, if they get a picture of Gove arriving,
they'll announce your leadership
and we'll look like a bunch of bungling amateurs.
And, for God's sake, before you go out, put a shirt on.
So it was agreed with the media crew that they would take one shot of
Boris walking - actually, he was walking with me -
and then they would leave, but no interview would be given.
Mr Johnson, any message of reassurance for the country?
Morning. Good morning.
There are millions of very scared voters at the moment
who are just looking for a message from their leader.
Then, after that agreement was reached, the press crew left.
RADIO: We know that Boris Johnson is also almost inevitably going to
put his hat in the ring this week too, with Michael Gove,
who had been pressured by some of his colleagues to stand,
co-chairing his campaign to become the leader
rather than standing himself.
His campaign will be co-chaired by Northern Ireland Minister
Ben Wallace, who was part of the Remain camp...
So, Michael Gove arrives.
He had three other people with him.
Erm, wanted to talk to you about how all this should work.
I think someone should chair the meeting.
-I thought perhaps...
-might chair the meeting.
Yes, of course.
Hello, everyone. Thanks a bundle for coming up.
We've got work to do but, you know, if you fancy a swim,
a game of tennis,
wiff waff, be my guest.
-Right, so, shall we get started?
-Of course, of course.
But, you know, if you brought your cossie, you know, you might...
No, good, right.
Well, here we all are!
The kingdom at our feet, there for the taking.
Young hoplites, let us into battle
and see what the enemy is made of!
Right, who wants a drink? Beer, wine?
Just tap water, thanks.
Almost as soon as they arrived, really, the dynamic changed.
I think it became fairly apparent
that perhaps this was a team trying to muscle in rather quickly,
having just introduced themselves as joining the team, if you like.
So...we were thinking that the best thing to do would be to set up
an information-gathering system,
which could be organised by one party who then filters it through
to a second party who can then delegate these tasks.
So Henry's been working on a master spreadsheet with all of
Michael's intelligence, categorised into likely conversation.
So we should probably get your data
and start inputting onto our spreadsheet.
What the fuck are you talking about?
It means they want to know
everything we've been doing for the past 18 months.
I guess there was a little bit of suspicion,
and they were very keen to know our data and our numbers,
how many MPs we had on side.
Well, why don't you show us your spreadsheets
so we know what sort of information you want from us?
Ah, we just thought that with Michael chairing the campaign...
Ben's chairing the campaign.
Michael, are you or Ben chairing this campaign?
We are going to co-chair the campaign.
Look, Ben's been with me a long time.
You've obviously got a top team too,
so let's all work together.
OK, so, comms - who's doing comms?
-Will, of course.
-Oh, what about Paul and Dominic?
We'd need to see what they have to say.
Why don't we wait and see what Lynton has to say tomorrow?
Lynton? Michael, do you know about this?
Well, that's why we're here.
Look, it's been a long haul for all of us
and we've all done brilliantly.
But maybe it's time for some fresh legs, yeah?
We're lucky Lynton's available.
Of course we are, but don't you think... PHONE BUZZES
..it would've been better to have run it past everybody first
before you just went in there?
Not really - Lynton's not a man you muck around, I'm afraid.
Thanks for letting us know. I owe you a drink.
You guys have got to go. Someone's tipped off the press.
They're on their way.
I only just got rid of them all this morning.
Apparently, Michael's wife got fed up with them in her bins,
so...she sent them here.
So we may have had our own style.
It may have been a bit more relaxed.
We may have not been quite as uptight as they were.
I mean, I think that the teams are very different around Boris
and Michael, and I think just generally in Westminster
that the teams, the special advisers,
the relationships that they strike up,
you know, it is very important.
The exhausting factor is that sometimes you spend as much time
kind of marshalling or sorting out,
you know, disputes, or who said what to whom,
or who's briefed the media on this,
than you do actually planning the campaign.
-Lynton Crosby is grabbing many of the headlines.
He is one of the most powerful people in British politics who
you might not have heard of because he's very much a backroom boy,
brought in by the Conservatives at a General Election because of his
knack of being able to win elections.
You've not met Cronus, then?
Oh, come on. This is all a load of bollocks, isn't it?
Well, no. Apparently, if you piss Gavin off, he puts him down on
the desk and lets all eight legs crawl towards you.
Pets aren't allowed in the Commons, for fuck's sake.
You know, I'm just saying...
This is Gavin, as I'm sure you all know.
He'll be leading our campaign.
Well, I'll leave him in your capable hands.
Let's go. I need to put across the numbers in the rise in hate crime.
Shall we get started?
Theresa is present at the beginning of that meeting on Sunday,
and she's basically there
to introduce Gavin as the campaign manager for the group,
and then after she's done that, basically she's on her way.
Who do you want to speak to first?
Well, we might as well tick off everyone in the room.
That's six easy ones right there.
Would you do the honours? Let's deal with the cliques.
Who runs them? Can we get them on board?
Gavin is orchestrating us, going through the entire list.
We're sticking our hands up, saying,
"Yeah, I'll talk to her," or, "I'll talk to him,"
"I did this on this select committee,"
"I've talked to them about that,"
"They're in my flock," whatever it is.
Well, I'm on a committee with that one -
should be able to get him on board.
Oh, I know him - I'll ring him.
-I know which buttons to press.
-So do I.
If you say so.
No, we'll just...see how it goes.
Hi, yeah, it's me.
Yes, I know. Yeah, great.
I'll see you soon. OK, bye.
All right, he's in!
-And he's on the phone to four others.
When's he prepared to tell the press?
Ah, we didn't get onto that.
So that's a question mark for him.
Date and time. And a double question mark for the other four.
I can't do much with a question mark.
Question marks don't tell you anything.
I knew a question mark, turns out he'd voted for every candidate.
Trust me - he's not a question mark.
I've known him for 25 years.
I'll know if I need to push him.
We've only got 323 Tory MPs to go!
And we did hear at a quite early stage,
and I think it might even have been on the night, on the Sunday night
when we were sitting there, someone said,
"I've just seen a tweet that Boris announced he'd got his 110, 111."
Are you going to stand for leader, Boris?
Are you going to stand for leader?
And, you know, that's a moment when you feel not knocked over,
but you feel like there's a serious job to be done,
because if somebody's automatically in the second round already,
you know, you've got to be somebody up at that same level,
and that's a serious challenge.
MUSIC: Memphis Soul Stew by King Curtis
# Give me about half a teacup
# Of bass... #
NEWS READER: The race to Downing Street is certainly on.
Well, it's, you know, it's bubble gum and strings.
Just a whole bunch of people with telephones.
A lot of phone-calling, a lot of face-to-face meetings.
Running around the Houses of Parliament
and sort of having conversations in corners and talking to people
and finding the people on their list
and running round to PCH, Portcullis House.
There's nothing more Machiavellian,
lots of conversations in corners,
than when there's a leadership contest
involving the Conservative Party happening in Parliament.
The most dishonest electorate in history, basically,
because they've no reason to be honest.
You know, you might bump into someone and you might say, you know,
"How do you think this race is looking?"
and they might say one or two things,
and if you feel that you want to sort of steer them
towards your preferred candidate you might say,
"Well, I'm sure Boris," or whoever it might be,
"would want to have a chat."
So, on the Monday night,
Boris came to my office in the House of Commons.
Boris actually said, "I'd really like you to back my campaign."
Yes, I know. Well, I think
she is exactly what the party needs at the moment.
Gavin phoned me on the Monday and he said, "Look, you know,
"Theresa would very much like to see you and to sit down with you."
And he just left it open.
Well, tell me, Nicky - you know I've always got time for you.
Gavin, you know, knows everybody incredibly well.
He knows every single Member of Parliament's
inside leg measurement.
I mean, this is a bloke who...
who really has taken the time and trouble to know everybody -
the ins and the outs, the good, the bad, the rumours...
-Yeah, and your mother, and your sister.
Yeah, and your donkey.
I want to see the two clear frontrunners
now that the Prime Minister has resigned,
who are Boris Johnson and Theresa May,
I'd like to see them come together to give some unity and stability
for our party without the need for a leadership contest
if we can possibly avoid it...
So, Justine Greening and Anne Milton had organised
a face-to-face meeting for Boris to go
and have a chat with Theresa May.
-I took him down there.
I know that he was hoping that from that meeting Theresa May would agree
to team up with him and support him as Prime Minister.
What's in the diary today?
Erm, pretty key meetings with MPs.
Sorry. New faces from the recent intakes?
Yes, but you should recognise this one.
BORIS: I can imagine what she wants to discuss.
Obvious to me.
You're way out in front -
she's looking to make a deal.
Deputy PM. She's not going to have Foreign Secretary.
I'm not giving that to her.
Just keep her at the Home Office.
That way she gets to follow through with immigration
and keep tabs on her beloved constituency.
Yeah. Yeah, definitely pay to keep her on side, yes, absolutely.
Thank you. Erm, she's very excited to meet you.
I hope ten minutes will be enough.
It's just we have quite a schedule today.
Erm, Theresa, I've got someone outside.
-Been waiting a while.
Do you mind? I'll think about what you said.
I'm so sorry, Boris.
The Home Secretary's not coming.
I don't understand.
My understanding is that although
Ben and Boris were prepared to go and prepared to talk,
that in fact the Team May decided that they didn't want to meet up.
-It's a set-up.
Make you look like you came begging to May.
Bring the car out the back.
Do not park up.
Be ready to go pronto, OK?
There's probably half the press waiting for you out the front.
I don't believe it. Are you serious?
There must have been a miscommunication
over timings, perhaps,
but that's perhaps something you need to ask the, er...
..team that was supporting Theresa at the time.
I haven't got much to say,
other than I think there was a misunderstanding
between the two sides. It might have been at principal level,
it might have been at aide level,
but there was plainly a misunderstanding
about whether there was a deal to be done and/or a meeting to be had,
and I don't think I've anything more to say about it than that.
Wednesday was an incredibly important day.
Boris likes to write his own speeches.
And he needed to get that nailed for the Thursday launch.
There had been, clearly, an attempt
by Michael's team to ensure that his diary was busy, meeting colleagues.
Now, you could look at that one way and say that that's probably more
important, but in reality,
the important thing was that he got his speech right.
OK, so these are the priority members here.
Just give him a couple of hours to write the bloody speech.
We'd love to, but he's got to see all of these.
And he's running out of time. Just get someone else to write the speech.
That's not Boris!
He'll have an hour later.
An hour? It's the effing launch tomorrow
and with no face time, he'll never be ready.
You're just overwhelming him.
You don't understand,
Boris has had hours of face time over the last couple of years.
Curry nights, drinks parties, most of them are in the bag.
I think you'll find they're not.
Look, we've done this before.
We know how to win.
Why are you not on the same page?
Boris is a rock star.
We've won two mayoral elections and he was the winning face of Brexit.
This is what I keep telling you.
We are not dealing with the public, or even the membership here,
but 331 Tory MPs,
insincere, duplicitous bastards.
In Boris's terms, Janus-faced.
And when he sees them, he needs to focus on what matters to them,
and get them on-side and ready to go public with their support.
Now, whoever wants to see him this afternoon, get them booked in.
He doesn't need to see anyone.
I just didn't really trust any of them.
You know, we had all been working together for 18 months, let's say.
They tried to undermine,
and take roles and power away from Boris's core team.
They suggested that they take all of the information that had been built
up away from Boris and his team, and they, effectively, ran it.
-We had Amber Rudd.
Do you know how long it took us to warm that woman up?
He lost her in 15 minutes.
Amber is still on-side.
I do not give a shit what your spreadsheets say.
I think the special advisers, you know,
it's a very close relationship.
You know, they give their all to serving their bosses.
And they really, really care.
So, yes, if they feel that something is going wrong,
and it's going to have a negative affect on, you know, their team,
absolutely, they will fight tooth and nail
to make sure that doesn't happen.
The Conservative Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom.
The truth is, there are five presidents of the EU.
Now, can anyone name them?
And did anyone vote for them?
No, you didn't vote for them, because you're not allowed to vote for them.
And you can't kick them out either.
Well, Andrea was a very important figure in this.
She had some support, certainly from the Brexiteers.
She'd had a great referendum campaign, and performed well.
And there was a potential
that Andrea could be an outside runner for the leadership.
So, I was very keen that Andrea came on board with team Boris.
Great. Better make a pot.
Now, Andrea, didn't we just show them at Wembley?
-Yes, we did.
-I loved that line of yours, what was it again?
Can you name the six EU presidents?
Yes, of course. Let me try.
Now, Andrea. You must know how much we'd love to have you on board.
I do, because you told me a few months ago.
You mentioned the Treasury.
I hope you'll honour on that.
Ah. Erm, Michael's agreed to Chancellor.
Then Deputy PM.
Charged with Brexit negotiations.
Andrea had been trying to get assurances all week
that she was part of the deal.
That she was going to be at the top table.
She was going to be one of the key players in a new government,
under Boris Johnson.
And she was given, erm,
a lot of, "Yeah, no problem, just, you know, we'll come back to you."
And I think by the Wednesday, the, sort of, "Don't call us,
"we'll call you," routine had pissed her off, frankly.
All week, you've been promising me something at the top table.
Simple question - what?
She had a much bigger group of supporters behind her
than Michael Gove ever did.
And it was much more important, in my opinion,
to secure the support of Andrea Leadsom
than any other of the Cabinet ministers
who were mooted as potentially supporting him.
Let us assure you.
You will be a key player in any Boris government.
Definitely one of the top three.
Well, I have history with Michael Gove.
And having worked very closely with Michael Gove over many years,
I am rather more aware of his flaws.
So, I always cautioned Andrea...
about what she might be told by Michael,
what she might be offered by Michael and just to...think twice.
And I want the offer in writing.
A letter...and a tweet.
-A public commitment.
-By 8pm tonight.
Actually, no, I don't think I will. I've got another meeting.
Lovely to have you on board.
Right. That was all right.
They shouldn't have offered a Cabinet position, though.
-Well, yeah. I absolutely had to offer her one of the top three.
It's very difficult for Boris to be able to promise a specific
role, but I was pleased that Andrea was going to come on board.
This would have really helped the campaign,
and maybe tipped us over the number that we needed.
That magic 111 MPs.
There are lots of things I could tell you about Theresa,
most of which, I'm sure you'd already know.
Basically, I and lots of my colleagues who were involved
in the early days of these campaigns are salesmen. That's what we are.
There are lots of things I could tell you about Theresa.
And the only thing a salesman needs...is a product.
She has a mantle for a safe pair of hands,
and for competence.
She reaches a conclusion, it doesn't matter what it is.
She makes a decision and that's it.
But the one thing I can promise you,
is that Theresa will not be holding an early election, when she wins.
-I need a word.
-In private, if you wouldn't mind.
-Can you give me that fracking report?
Now, to what do I owe the pleasure?
Some of the others and I have some...concerns.
Things aren't going right.
Time and time again, things are left half done, or not done at all.
And there's just so much tension between everyone.
Michael and Boris,
it's not a team. It's not a team that I can see winning.
Well, if this thing between you,
Michael and Boris doesn't come off...
I'll support you.
We had arranged a reception,
which was kindly being hosted at the offices of M&C Saatchi.
This was an opportunity for one or two of the candidates to come
and chat to potential supporters.
He was always going to be late.
That's it, I know. Let's just hope he turns up soon.
Don't look now, I think our guest is here.
-I'm not going to turn around.
-Of course, he's talking to her.
Erm... Yeah. I'll go and let him know that you're here.
Let's hope he's got the letter.
Well, in the meantime, shall I just go and test the water for you?
-Good idea, but keep it low key.
-I am always low-key.
Lots of Andrea's supporters were becoming very concerned
that a joint ticket between Boris and Andrea wouldn't take place.
He tapped this pocket and said, "It's all secure.
"I have a letter here, with me, which confirms it."
So, I said, "Well, fine, can I tell people that the deal has been done?"
And he said, "You can, you can even tweet about it if you want."
Sorry, excuse me. Sorry.
Sorry, can I...?
The balloon's gone up. The balloon's gone up.
What are you on about? Have you found Boris?
No, that's the point. Boris has gone.
Never, he can't have, he hasn't even said hello to me yet.
He must be here somewhere.
He's not. I've just heard he's at the Hurlingham party.
He left here over an hour ago.
And he didn't give me the letter?
The plan was always to give Andrea the letter.
We didn't give her it at the Saatchi party,
I'm not sure we actually saw Andrea face-to-face at that party.
Who do they think they are?
Hi, Tim, can you get over to mine, now?
Had a call from Andrea.
She told me at that stage that because various undertakings
had just not happened, she'd put her own nomination in,
been proposed and seconded, so I said,
"Right, I'd probably better come around."
I went around to her flat in Westminster.
We all had a rather large glasses of red wine, at the ready,
and sank down and just talked through the huge ramifications
of what had actually happened.
Just the fact that we've been in the pub for about four hours.
I'm absolutely convinced that had Boris known there was a problem,
that he would've been able
to do something about it, if he was in a position to.
But he wasn't made aware that there was a problem.
She'd had a lot of people trying to get hold of her on her phone,
not surprisingly. Particularly Michael Gove.
So, eventually, she returned a call from Michael Gove.
And I was listening in on that call,
it was a very different tone from Michael Gove.
You will ruin your career, Andrea.
You can't do this alone. Listen to me.
And, clearly, he had not expected her to put her nomination in.
Clearly, he had been trying to string things out.
And what became clear, in the duration of that conversation,
was things had gone awry between him and Boris.
Andrea's going to stand herself.
Let's just go over the arguments.
-He is entirely unsuited, you know this.
We've all known this for a long time.
Everyone in the party knows it.
She was a Remainer, Michael.
It won't wash.
You're the only one who believes in the manifesto of Brexit.
Because you wrote it.
What are you thinking, Michael?
At that stage, he felt that, you know, he couldn't back Boris,
he felt that actually, if I want this done properly, in a way,
I'm going to have to do it myself.
He'd known Boris for 30 years,
and they knew each other in Oxford in the '80s.
And it was only in the final two days that he realised he wasn't
suited to be Prime Minister. I mean, I find that difficult to believe.
It has to be us.
Do you understand?
-Right. Let them know.
I'm going to call the rest of the team now.
I suggest we start firstly with just some basics we need.
We need social media onside. We need a team set up.
Hi, sorry. Yeah, we're with him now.
We're going to go ahead.
I know. I know.
He says it won't play well. GOVE SCOFFS
Well, we're willing to do it.
'Boris, have you actually been trying to sort something out...?'
Always working hard. Take care, night, night. See you.
'I think David Cameron's doing a brilliant job.
'I think there are lots of other folk, including in the Cabinet,
'who could easily be Prime Minister. I'm not one of them.
'I could not be Prime Minister.
'I'm not equipped to be Prime Minister.
'I don't want to be Prime Minister.'
'So you'd rather be Prime Minister yourself?'
'No, the one thing I absolutely don't want to do
'is to be Prime Minister.'
Well, I woke up, I think, quite early on that Thursday morning.
Actually, quite relieved that I'd made a decision, finally,
about who I was going to back for the leadership,
you know, expecting to... I had an engagement in the morning.
A ministerial engagement to go back to Westminster
and speak at Boris Johnson's launch, and I understood that Amber Rudd was
also going to be speaking alongside me.
We were both going to be introducing Boris.
'By midday, we'll know who thinks they should be Prime Minister.
'And today, the big beasts come out of their caves.
'Boris Johnson, front man for the Vote Leave campaign,
'will declare his intentions to stand.'
I took a tube across to Islington, and I remember...
I think, the train went overground briefly.
And I got a text from Ben Gascoigne, one of Boris's senior aides.
And I won't repeat it, but it was just one...
Two words, it had Gove and it had another and it was an expletive.
Under my leadership, the Conservative Party
will be able to come back together and govern...
I got a call from Nick Boles, to say,
"Look, there's been a change of plan."
At which point there's a pause, and a, kind of, "What do you mean?"
I get a phone call from Jake Berry.
And said, "Get over to the campaign offices."
I said, "What's wrong?" He said, "You're not going to believe it."
Boris negotiating Europe. I seem to remember last time he did a deal
with the Germans, he came back with three nearly new water cannons.
Right at the very end of the speech, suddenly I could see journalists
looking at their phones, one or two beginning to run out.
There was plainly something...
Something was going on.
So, I remember walking into work, Ben Wallace phoning me, and saying,
"Michael Gove has done the dirty."
Thinking this was some sort of joke.
He told me, I thought he was joking.
I said, "No way. Michael is not running himself.
"It's a ludicrous assertion."
And he said, "No, I'm being deadly serious. Get over here."
Wow. I mean, I'm still picking my jaw up off the ground.
Everyone here is utterly stunned.
And, you know, this is Michael Gove plunging the dagger into the back,
front, side, head of Boris Johnson.
Outside Boris Johnson's north London home, the calm before the storm.
I got off the tube and headed by cab to Boris's house.
You know, it's fair to say, he was...
stunned. Just shell-shocked.
A man of 25 years standing as a friend,
had just knifed him very publicly.
Expectations of a Johnson-May battle,
except his own campaign chief had just betrayed him.
"Et tu, brute?" as a classic scholar might say.
You're a disgrace, Johnson!
It takes a very special sort of person
to knife one of your best friends for 25 years in the back.
In fact, I can't think of anybody
who would have done something like that.
When I got there, Lynton was there, and his team,
and a lot of shocked people.
And we decided pretty quickly that the first thing we needed to do,
given the fact that Michael had declared that he was going to run
himself, is we needed to shore up our own support,
and ring the MPs that had come out and pledged for Boris.
So, it was a morning of frenetic activity, which involved, really,
speaking to as many people on our list of supporters as possible,
and asking, in the light of the news,
which by that point had broken all over television, the radio,
and on the internet, in light of that news,
whether they would still support Boris
in his bid to become leader of the Conservative Party.
Doing his thing. Trying to keep morale up for the troops.
There's a debrief in two minutes, how's it looking?
It's near, to a count.
Not good. Lynton's going fucking mental.
Keep me away from all that, then.
There are a lot of people who I would have liked to have thought
would have continued to support Boris.
I'm not going to name names.
They know who they are.
That, you know, that's politics.
I sort of thought, "Well, what am I going to do?" Really.
I'd been supporting Boris, and so I thought about it.
I had one of my special advisers in the car was talking to them.
I thought, "Actually, I'm going to back Michael."
I followed him into the Education Department.
You know, he is somebody who is a great social reformer.
And, although we are on different sides of the referendum campaign...
So, I texted Michael and said, you know, "Count me in."
Nicky's defection didn't come as a great surprise.
She came with Michael, if you like, so that wasn't a huge surprise.
Be strong, sayeth my heart.
I am a soldier, I have seen worse sights than this.
I need that number for someone else.
He was clearly quite shocked, probably even shaken by the news.
I would think he probably didn't really understand
why anyone would behave in this way.
It's not good.
He's really fucked us.
We've got about 50, 55 left, as it stands.
It's enough to probably get you through the first round.
And we'll win with the membership, you know that.
That could be a lot worse, then.
Actually, it's down to just under 40.
I rather think I should have a moment with Marina.
Views were proffered as to what he should do,
but I should stress that it was his decision and Marina's decision.
They were left to discuss it for quite a while.
And we came back in, and he told us what the decision was.
And we respected that.
Sam Lyon from Lynton's team, and a few other people, and I,
helped him rewrite the end of his speech,
as much as you ever rewrite the end of anything with Boris.
He does it all himself.
Has Michael Gove betrayed you?
Has Michael Gove, your friend, let you down?
-He says he doesn't trust you.
-Come on, let's have it.
There are a lot of excited people.
There was a lot of chitter chatter, obviously,
because Michael had done the dirty on him.
Still quite a lot of anger in the room, but the room was full.
Good morning, everybody. Good morning.
And then when Boris appeared, he seemed rather, sort of,
struck by a sense of confusion.
He wasn't, perhaps, as, sort of,
boisterous or energetic as he often is.
And it was clear that something was amiss.
Somebody from my office came in and said, "Boris is now on television."
We put the television on. We watched what appeared to be the speech
that was going to launch his leadership campaign.
Last week, the people of this country voted to take a new path,
and a new direction for Britain.
And others may have been listening with bated breath to what he was
saying. I was just acutely conscious of not having a nomination,
and so we tried to contact Boris to make sure that his office was aware
that this hadn't happened.
I wasn't sure how it was going to go.
I know that Graham Brady had been phoning my office,
telling my intern that...Boris hadn't put his nomination papers in.
So, I was beginning to fear the worst.
This is our chance to build a Britain not just with a dynamic...
I realised, about halfway through his speech,
what was going to happen.
Because I saw a text message from the chairman of the 1922,
to Ben Wallace, who was Boris's campaign manager.
Saying, "Where are Boris's nomination papers?
"You're about to run out of time."
..and make this our moment to stand tall in the world.
It was the most incredible speech to give,
given what had just happened to him an hour or so,
a couple of hours beforehand.
It took some incredible character to get that speech out
without the emotion that could have come to the front.
Well, I must tell you, my friends,
you who have waited faithfully for the punch line of this speech...
..that having consulted colleagues and,
and in view of the circumstances in Parliament,
I have concluded that person cannot be me.
My role will be to give every possible support to the next
When he delivered that line, "And that person will not be me,"
you could almost feel the whole air in the room being sucked out.
..everybody around the country
who supports our vision of a better Britain.
Thank you all very much.
Everybody who saw Boris's speech will tell you how shocked many
people were in that room.
It was incredible drama.
You know, looking back, it was probably one of the political
moments of the last decade.
'For Mr Johnson's supporters, tears and disbelief.'
'You look absolutely devastated.'
Yeah, well, erm...
I've worked with him for ten years in London.
I know he's quality. I stand by everything I said about him.
Obviously, the circumstances over the last couple of days have been
very, very turbulent, caught a lot of us by surprise.
I am shocked. It looks like a, sort of, student political game,
when the country needs direction, needs clarity,
needs a sense of maturity.
I am shocked and surprised that people should behave in this way.
'What do you want to say to Michael Gove?'
We ushered him through the kitchens,
and into a side room at the hotel, and then into the car.
But the press had seen where we were.
And so we were mobbed.
We stopped at a red light outside Scotland Yard,
where the red light seemed stuck interminably on red.
And we whisked away. I got dropped off
and he headed off with Marina to his house in Oxfordshire.
It was a fairly surreal feeling,
walking back to campaign headquarters, thinking, "That's it."
I think I was as gobsmacked as anybody.
When he actually finally went, finally,
he suddenly turned around and said, "Well, actually,
"I'm not going to run."
That's been the very focus of all of us since March.
And suddenly, there it was, blood all over the floor,
and he'd gone. So, yes. I was pretty surprised.
We literally went back to Greycoat Place,
packed up computers and boxes, and headed back to the Commons.
That was it. As you probably wouldn't imagine,
as we were walking out, team May was walking into the building.
You couldn't really make that up either but, you know,
that's politics. These things are brutal and you move on.
'Today's completely tumultuous events helped Theresa May,
'the Home Secretary, very significantly.
'Her goal today, long thought about, was to appear calm, sober,
'to convey authority.
'Frankly, she did that even before she'd opened her mouth.'
MUSIC: Come And Get Your Love By Redbone
# Hey, hey What's the matter with your head?
# Hey, hey
# What's the matter with your mind and your sign? #
Boris had a long-standing commitment to support a number of colleagues in
the West Country. And again, it shows you the measure of the man,
that on the day that he'd been knifed, he carried on,
business as usual.
Good morning. Good afternoon, rather.
We had a drink, and tried to mull it over,
and tried to make some sense of it.
And we agreed that, you know, in light of the fact that he'd been,
sort of, the leading figure in the Leave campaign,
it would look pretty odd for him not to support Andrea.
I guess, at that point, that, you know,
he probably would have supported anyone other than Michael Gove.
'Boris Johnson who's, of course, out of the race,
'has made public his support for Andrea Leadsom.'
She's positive, she's dynamic,
she's got the right way forward for the country.
I hope she does very well. Thanks, everybody. See you.
The 1922 Committee, the organising committee for the backbenchers,
lays on a hustings.
What we did was make sure the hustings
were run again in as fair a way as we thought possible,
A maximum of five minutes to speak,
followed by five minutes of questions.
A group of MPs fired hostile questions at her
to prepare her for the onslaught.
Andrea, You're the least experienced in terms of Cabinet,
and in parliamentary terms,
don't you think you're going to be a little out of your depth here?
Here's the question, how are you going to answer?
Then someone'll say, "Don't answer it like that cos it looks like
"you don't know what you're talking about. Answer like this."
I mean, somebody who says, "OK, I've been told to leave,
"so I'll leave with no enthusiasm," is very different from someone
who absolutely sees the sunlit uplands of leaving the EU.
Sunlit uplands, eh?
So, she went into that final hustings and she pulled it off.
She delivered a pretty good speech,
took some good questions and people thought it was great.
Hey, I know your game.
-You didn't vote for us last time.
-Yes, I did.
You bloody didn't. Do you know how I know?
The numbers didn't add up, that's why.
It's very difficult to grind the lists for the numbers.
And to know for certain when somebody says they're with you,
-are they really with you.
-Maybe I was being harsh on myself.
I counted them again, and again.
Like I used to in my pop factory.
And I kept coming up one short. Didn't I?
You will have my vote next time, OK?
Yes. I bloody well.
And just so I know, you'll take a fucking photo of your ballot paper,
and send it to me.
If you don't, I'll fire you, then I'll fucking castrate you.
Meantime, we're going to go in,
and laugh at Theresa's joke like it's funny, OK?
'Could you talk through your memories
'of the hustings in general?'
Not really, because I couldn't stand going.
I, and several of us, sat out on the terrace.
We could hear all the banging of desks and the harrumphing,
and the shouts, and the hurrahs, and the whatevers,
and the deathly silences as well.
The real story of the last husting, was the story of Michael Gove.
It was the complete collapse, really, of his performance.
Which of you would like to hear a real controversial text message?
Michael Gove has just said
that people should not be voting tactically.
But I have here a text message from his campaign manager
which would suggest otherwise.
It was basically an e-mail that started off, "You are my friend..."
It was asking Theresa's voters to vote for him,
just to stop Andrea Leadsom getting into the final.
And people don't like that kind of stuff.
It really rankled with people.
It was one of the Yorkshire MPs who delivered the fatal blow,
basically saying, "Michael, I've always respected you,
"but what has happened in the last few days, with the knifing of Boris,
"and the e-mail which came out as well,
"you are not fit to be the leader of the Conservative Party."
It was a fatal and cutting blow.
There was a real sharp intake of breath in the hall
when the question was asked.
It was as close to a car crash at a hustings as I've seen at any time.
Michael Gove, 46 votes.
Andrea Leadsom, 84 votes.
Theresa May, 199 votes.
Therefore, Michael Gove, having the lowest number of votes,
has been eliminated from the ballot.
'Here's Michael Gove.'
'Why have you lost, Mr Gove? Was it the text?'
'Whoever the next Prime Minister of this country will be,
'it will be a female Prime Minister.
'And I know, whichever one of the two wins,
'they will lead this country well.'
And our candidate, now, was in that final round.
Tim, what's the news?
I spoke to Andrea, went through the result.
Oh, fantastic, wow.
Andrea, it so happened,
had to go back to her constituency that night,
because Boris Johnson was coming up to Northamptonshire
to do a fundraising rally.
Congratulations to both the candidates
who got through to the final.
Particularly, by Andrea Leadsom, thank you very much.
Good of you to come and support me.
Think nothing of it. I know it's close to your heart.
It should have been you going to the membership, not me.
Ha! We know who put paid to that.
Andrea, this is great news.
We are about to elect a female Prime Minister
for the second time in history.
Frankly, you've got all the right, positive,
confident leadership qualities this country needs.
At least, that's what I just told the press mob outside.
Come on, Andrea. Let's go and wow them.
We're going to need the votes.
Ladies and gentlemen...
It was a huge success, and wherever Boris goes,
it's like taking a rock star into an event.
It went down fantastically well. He spoke great on behalf of Andrea.
-Can I have a minute?
Gentlemen, do you mind?
And there's more.
And it's a little worrying,
because we know that Leave was incredibly well motivated.
They've just scored an extraordinary political victory.
They've got their tails up, there is this, I think, total myth,
but a belief amongst certain parties that it has to be a Leaver,
to run the party.
One of the stories that came back to us is that they had been two
researchers working around the clock on trawling through every word she'd
ever said, written, going back years on social media and other things.
I have no idea if that was going on or not.
But all I can tell you is it's a normal part of politics to make sure
that you know everything about your opposition.
That's just... That's politics.
Did you want to have children?
Has it affected your outlook as a politician?
I don't think so.
Has it affected your outlook as a person?
Of course we were both affected by it.
When you see friends with, now, grown-up children.
But you accept the hand that life deals you.
Well, it's actually a bit of a business as usual day
in the constituency. I've got a surgery this afternoon,
which is quite packed. And I've got a few meetings this morning.
So, I'd been discussing, for several weeks,
doing an interview with Andrea Leadsom,
and this seemed the natural week
to actually go ahead and do the interview.
Having told her to go home and just get her head down
and not do any interviews,
somebody on the campaign had arranged
for her to do two newspaper interviews.
How very nice to meet you.
-Thank you for coming all this way.
It was done in a cafe somewhere.
You know, there was nobody with her.
There was no press officer there.
These are all no-nos, it should never happen.
I asked her what the main differences
were between her and Theresa May.
It was a soft opening question, really.
It wasn't, in any way, a kind of trap.
Oh, gosh. Well, I don't really know Theresa very well.
I'm sure she's really, really sad that she doesn't have children.
But, genuinely, I feel being a mum
means you have a very real stake in the future of our country.
A tangible stake, you know.
She possibly has nieces, nephews, you know, lots of people,
but I have children.
I am so sorry, Rachel, but I've got a car waiting outside.
But it was just this sense of somebody who wasn't quite prepared
for the spotlight she was going to find herself in.
-Thank you. Thanks, I think it went very well.
Hello, a very good evening to you.
Andrea Leadsom, one of the two candidates in the fight to become
the next Conservative leader, has suggested to the Times newspaper
that she would be a better Prime Minister than Theresa May
because she's a mother.
I think this thing had been set up,
because you had Theresa giving a lifestyle interview,
which is something Theresa hasn't really done.
That's not Theresa's style.
Where she had actually instigated this whole comment about her regrets
that she'd not had children.
And that was latched onto by a journalist.
That was a story she wanted to get.
And Andrea, out of naivete, walked straight into it.
I can absolutely promise you, there was no set up.
This wasn't a story I was going out to get.
To try and catch her out. I simply asked her what were the main
differences between her and Theresa May and she raised family.
And then the reaction to it was not right either.
I don't want to drag up all these things, but sometimes,
when you're in a hole, the answer is always stop digging.
I am disgusted at the way this has been presented.
Various colleagues, people she counted as friends,
were quoted openly, saying, "This is disgraceful.
"She's not fit to be the leader."
And some really personal, inappropriate, vicious attacks
on her by people who were strong supporters of Theresa May.
'It's clear Andrea Leadsom wasn't trying to be cruel to Theresa May,
'but it has shown her inexperience, and some say, her lack of judgment.
'So crucial if you want to be Prime Minister.'
I think she saw it for the political difficulty it was for Andrea Leadsom,
rather than anything else.
And, you know, plainly, it wasn't a good time for Andrea.
And I think she had a very tough two or three days.
There were a number of conversations with a number of colleagues.
I thought that bubbles evening we did the other day went really well.
I mean, I think the membership would just love to see two committed
Absolutely. The only thing is, it can't be for a few weeks.
Marina's given me the three-line whip.
It's been a long time since we had a break.
No, no, that's fine. I quite understand.
You won't even notice I'm not there.
I'm with you in spirit, yes?
All right. Bye, then. Bye.
And there's just a huge buzz, you know.
There's all sorts of stuff going on, left, right and centre.
Loads of work. Lots of planning going on.
And the TV's on in the background.
Fine, liaise with Fi.
Have we sorted out the bloody battle bus yet?
-We're just waiting for a price...
-Shh! Turn it up.
'There is no greater privilege than to lead the Conservative Party
'in government. And I would have been deeply honoured to do it.'
I have, however, concluded that the interests of our country
are best served by the immediate appointment of a strong
and well supported Prime Minister.
I am therefore withdrawing from the leadership election,
and I wish Theresa May the very greatest success.
'Despite making it to the final short list of two last week...'
Yes, I was smiling. Of course I was smiling.
I'd had a pretty hard three or four weeks, and it was...
Yeah, it was a pretty special moment.
'Following the decision of Mrs Andrea Leadsom to withdraw from the
'Conservative leadership contest,
'the Right Honourable Mrs Theresa May is the only remaining candidate.'
Brexit means Brexit.
And we're going to make a success of it.
'Listen to this quote.
'The Prime Minister is running scared of a general election.
'Now, that was Theresa May said about Gordon Brown when he failed
'to call a general election after taking over from Tony Blair.
'Fast forward several years,
'and Theresa May herself has said
she will not be calling a general election.'
# An awful collection of enemies and friends
# Congratulations to you... #
Straight through, please, Boris.
# I'm tired of the old shit Let the new shit begin. #
KNOCKING AT DOOR Come in.
-Thank you, Prime Minister.
You know it could have been you sitting behind this desk,
-and me in that chair.
Yes, well, it isn't.
-I'd like to make you Foreign Secretary.
You seem surprised.
-But you'll accept?
I'm creating a new post,
Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.
Excellent choice, Prime Minister.
And Liam Fox will be the new Secretary for International Trade.
I see, Prime Minister.
Well, thank you for coming in, Boris.
MUSIC: Come And Get Your Love by Redbone
# Hell, hell
# What's the matter with you?
# Cos you're fun and you're mine and you look so divine
# Come and get your love. #
-OK, that's amazing.
-No, it's all right.
-That was funny.
-I'm done, OK?
-Thank you so much.
-Thanks for coming in.
-Thank you very much.
# Hell, hell
# What's the matter with you feel right? #
This drama documentary tells the story of the Conservative Party's 2016 leadership campaign - how Boris Johnson, having won the referendum and in pole position to be the next PM, handed victory to Theresa May.
Based on extensive research and first-person testimonies, this dramatized narrative goes beyond the headlines to lay bare the politicking and positioning, betrayals and blunders of this extraordinary political time. The programme also features key interviews with people who were intimately involved in the campaigns of the main contenders.